The news came as quite a shock to all of us: Baldwin “Spliffy Leaks” Anthony had lost his eldest daughter, 30-year-old, Carissa Chandler, to a gunshot wound in the early hours of yesterday morning. Our hearts broke, as we struggled to come to grips with the tragic manner in which such a beautiful soul, such a lovely young lady, still in the prime of her life, could have met such an untimely end, allegedly at the hands of someone who professed to love her; someone whom she trusted and loved. Of course, “Spliff” is like family here at NEWSCO, and we immediately felt his pain and despair. It was a punch to the gut, with a hurt that would not go away. Indeed, we will perhaps never forget where we were when we heard the sad news, and how we quickly descended into emptiness and loss and unbearable grief. All of a sudden, nothing else mattered.
We are embracing our brother, Spliff, Cathy (her mother), and the entire family! And we join in crying out in bewilderment and sorrow. Actually, the words of one of the songs that the late Canon Bernard Hodge used to play on his early morning broadcast, back in the day, immediately came to mind when the awful news broke in the very same early hours: (Chorus) “Hear, oh Lord, the sound of my voice / Hear, oh Lord, and have mercy! / My soul is longing for the glory of you / So, hear oh Lord, and answer me! / (Verse 1) Every night before I sleep I pray my soul to take / Or else I pray that loneliness is gone when I awake. (Verse 2) Why do I no longer feel like I’ve a place to stay / Oh, take me where someone will care, so fear will go away / In you Lord I place my cares and all my troubles too / Oh, grant dear Lord, that some day soon, I’ll live in peace with you.” We bequeath those words to Spliff and his family, and we are suggesting that our Lord has heard his anguished cry. In our darkest hour, and this is Spliff’s darkest hour, the good Lord says, “Let not your heart be troubled. . .”
We too heard the cries from Spliff, as his other children and loved ones tried to shield and console him. It was heart-wrenching! No parent should ever have to bury a son or daughter. Especially a father such as Spliff, who often spoke so lovingly and tenderly of his unstinting efforts to do right by his children. He has been a devoted and doting dad who spared no expense, and did his best to lead by example. This hurts!
Eugene “Kaseba” Silcott, a leading calypsonian and a close friend of Spliff’s, spoke of lending a helping hand when the distraught father needed medical attention yesterday. The bereaved family also requested that they be given some space to privately seek the face of God. We will respect and honour their wishes. We will also give them the blessed assurance enshrined in Psalm 46: “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore, will not we fear, though the earth be removed and though the mountains be cast in the midst of the sea. . . . The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge!”
We extend our heartfelt and deepest condolences to Spliff and his family, and we are urging them to stand strong. The days and weeks and months ahead will be dreary and difficult, and we certainly trust, that in some way, you will find comfort and a smile whenever you recall those happy and idyllic moments – Carissa’s innocent, girlish giggles, her graduation, her first job, her eyes wide with wonder and amazement when you taught her something new, her softness, her sweetness. May your heart leap with pride whenever you remember the way in which she brought sunshine and joy into our lives by virtue of her inner and outer beauty. She is gone, but those precious memories will live on forever in our hearts! “ . . . And while life goes on, everyone’s got to stand strong, you can’t surrender! No, no, no!” [Dennis Brown, SITTING AND WATCHING] We love ya, Spliff!