By Makeida Antonio
A close-knit community was plunged into mourning following the devasting news of a drowning yesterday.
According to Police Spokesperson Inspector Frankie Thomas, a multi-pronged search effort by the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force (ABDF) Coast Guard and the Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue was launched to locate a fisherman who reportedly fell in the waters near Shirley Heights while fishing.
Police received the report of the incident around 7:00 am.
Tragically, the man identified as 51-year-old Courtney Charles, was found dead a couple of hours later by the ABDF Coast Guard, approximately 9:30 am.
Thomas said that further investigations are ongoing.
Meanwhile, an outpouring of fond memories and sorrow filled the timelines of many social media users in the wake of losing Charles, also known as ‘Zyie’, a beloved member of Liberta village.
A woman who claimed to be Charles’ sister, recounted his recent 51st birthday celebration and shared her hope for the family to come to terms with the tragic event and live on with his memory in their hearts.
“I lost one of my brothers today, Courtney Winston Charles better known as Zyie. He just celebrated his 51st Birthday on the 6th June 2022, along with his son, my nephew Keyon Charles. God said…find comfort in his words, and today, Lord, grant us as a family the courage to accept what has happened and be comforted in the memories and fond moments we’ve shared.”
Charles’ son, Keyon Charles, also shared a message on his social media page on the passing of his father.
“Yeah Papa. You left me heart a hurt ya now. I’ll try to hold the faith and carry on. IMMA MISS YOU PAPA.”
Member of Parliament for St. Paul, E.P. Chet Greene, sent his condolences to Charles’ family members.
“I extend my condolences to Yvonne, Namba, Valerie, St. Elma and the rest of the family and friends on the tragic and untimely passing of Zyie earlier this morning.”
Other social media contributors referred to Charles as their friend and a “sweet soul,” and they expressed shock at his passing, right after celebrating his birthday.
One friend told of the last time that they spoke to each other.
“Me can’t believe this; just the other day you pass and say, ‘Love-sponge, me long for see you’ and we making jokes. Never think that would be the last ‘Love-sponge’ I would hear.”