By Orville Williams
A family still grieves, friends and colleagues are still in disbelief and a country refuses to give up the fight for justice – one year on from the killing of Nigel Christian.
The 44-year-old Customs Inspector was abducted in the presence of his mother at their McKinnons home on July 10 last year, before his bullet-riddled body was found soon after in the New Winthorpes area.
That discovery caused widespread anger and sadness across the country, particularly within his work environment, as he was widely known to be a decent and professional man, highly respected for his skills and dedication to duty.
Christian’s uncle Tyrone Hill, the de facto spokesperson for his late nephew’s immediate family, confirmed to Observer that they will be having a rather subdued remembrance – considering the trauma that still surrounds the incident – including the “freshening up” of his gravesite and the laying of new wreaths.
Another reason for this, Hill explained, is that much of Christian’s immediate family is based overseas, including his mother, who left the island soon after the incident.
His murder has been dubbed a “senseless killing” by those in authority, but many in the public, including members of Christian’s family, have reasons to believe there is something more nefarious involved.
Firstly, Christian was – some time prior to his murder – part of the investigating team looking into an alleged multi-million-dollar fraud incident.
His colleague, Cornell Benjamin – also said to be part of that investigating team – was also the victim of a gun crime. According to reports, he was accosted by unidentified assailants at home and shot in both legs, days after details of the fraud were made public.
Stemming from those incidents, the authorities were beseeched by sections of the public – including the opposition and human rights groups – to seek the help of international law enforcement.
That help did come long after, in the form of the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation, the UK’s London Metropolitan Police, and Canada’s Royal Canadian Mounted Police, but the many delays in acquiring their assistance is viewed as another suspicious reason there is more to be answered.
Following months of investigation, the police finally arrested three suspects who are currently before the court, a development the local police have been commended for by the government.
However, there remains the suspicion that there is a fourth person who was involved in Christian’s killing. According to third-person reports, Christian’s mother maintains that there were four men at the home on that fateful day.
During a demonstration at the Police Headquarters on American Road yesterday, the Concerned Citizens group that has consistently been with Christian’s family at the forefront of the call for justice, joined the family again.
This time, Dr Jacqui Quinn – a vocal member of the group – asked the question, “what about the fourth suspect?”
Hill echoed those concerns, telling Observer, “Four persons abducted him from his home. Three [persons charged] from four [assailants, according to Christian’s mother]? I’m not a good counter, but the public can define that.”
The police maintain though, that a fourth suspect has not been confirmed.
“We never put a number [to the persons involved]. We’re of the view that there might be other persons involved and we are continuing that process,” Police Commissioner Atlee Rodney said yesterday.
Christian’s family and the Concerned Citizens both vow that they will continue to call for answers to these questions, believing that there are some people in authority who may be able to do just that.
Until then, they will lean on the fondest memories of a man that brought joy to, and commanded the respect of so many, on this, the one-year anniversary of the tragic loss.