celebrating their lives: A Sea Lots resident prepares to frame a poster of Haydee Paul and her daughters Shakira and Akasha in memory of the trio who were killed while walking along the Beetham Highway, Port of Spain, one year ago yesterday. —Photo: MICHEAL BRUCE

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Memorial banner for trio goes up

One year after Sea Lots tragedy...

By Joel Julien joel,julien@trinidadexpress.com

A BANNER commemorating the lives of the trio killed in a car crash a year ago in Sea Lots was yesterday placed on the wall near the scene of the fatal accident.

On February 24 last year, the community of Sea Lots was thrown into mourning when a Toyota Corolla driven by PC Sherwin Legere ploughed into a group of residents from the area as they stood on the pavement off the Beetham Highway.

Killed were Haydee Paul and her two daughters, Akasha, eight, and Shakira, seven.

Three others—Amanda Lalla, Abigail Assing and Ryan “Dhal” Rampersad—were also injured in the accident.

Yesterday marked the first anniversary of that bloody day.

The Express visited the community yesterday.

On Sunday night a service involving eight churches was held on the Pioneer Drive basketball court.

Former three-time road march winner turned Christian singer Chris “Tambu” Herbert  performed at the event.

Hundreds of beer bottles which were used as flambeaux lined all the roadways in the community.

“A year has passed since the pain we went through as a community and it has brought us together,” Kenroy Dopwell, a spokesman for the community, said yesterday.

The community intends to remember those who lost their lives in the fatal accident and give thanks to God for those who survived, by having a service every year, Dopwell said.

“We will never forget. That memory is going to go on, every year we will have a service. We are going to remember this as long as we live,” he said.

“It is just tremendous (about the survivors), just the miracles of God at the end of it all,” Dopwell said.

Residents yesterday placed a banner bearing the faces of Paul, Akasha and Shakira under the words “In Loving Memory” on the wall near the scene where they were struck down.

“We have replaced some of the negativities we had standing here for the year and we have now replaced it with the pictures of the three that passed away,” Dopwell said.

While the banner was being fortified rain started to fall.

“Even the heavens are still crying for them,” Dopwell said.

Carol Gonzales, Paul’s mother and the grandmother of Akasha and Shakira, yesterday spent the day at the Tunapuna Public Cemetery.

A few weeks ago Gonzales was able to acquire the plot of land at the cemetery where the trio are buried.

She has built a structure to cover the area, Dopwell said yesterday.

When the Express visited the area Rampersad was at his family’s home.

Rampersad spent months in an almost vegetative state at Port of Spain General Hospital and was not expected to survive much less recover.

“With Ryan we witnessed a miracle against all the odds. Even some of the people in the health services wrote him off, he was as good as dead in some people’s eyes,” Dopwell said.

The Express yesterday visited the Pioneer Drive home of Amanda Lalla but was told she was unavailable.

Attempts to get in contact with Assing also proved futile yesterday.

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