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December 30, 2010
Third young male to drown at Salt Pond in four years

At press time Tuesday, the Garraway family of Prospect was still having difficulty coming to terms with the tragic death of one of its youngest members.{{more}}

Boxing Day (Sunday, December 26) was expected to be a funfilled day for Eldon John, his son Eldon Garraway and his ward Joeford Garraway, as they set out to the Brighton Beach, popularly called Salt Pond.

However, their hopes were dashed when Joeford encountered difficulty and disappeared shortly after 11a.m., while swimming in waters estimated to be 200 yards from the shore.

On Tuesday, December 28, when SEARCHLIGHT visited Joeford’s guardians, his body had not yet been recovered.

John said he had asked Joeford to come to the shore, because where the 11-year-old had been swimming, the water gets rough sometimes. He added that he had told his son and Joeford it was time to go home.

John recounted that while changing his clothes, he heard his son calling out to Joeford, asking him why he had returned to the water.

The grieving guardian said after he had finished changing his clothes, he saw Joeford a long distance away in the water.

“The distance away I see him out in the water, I say wey Joeford doing all out there,” said John.

“I swim off to hold him, but while I going to meet him, the tide was pulling him away from me still. I tried my best until I reach to him. I said “Boy what you doing all the way out here?”

“As I reach to him, he let go the ball and he tried to grip my natty. I push his hand off me natty and I get underneath him and I give him the first shove [towards the] shore, the second shove … to shore. When I give him the third one and I go down now to float back, when I float I did not see him,” said the grieving John, adding that he cared for Joeford from age seven months.

Breaking down in tears, John said: “I went down again, and when I come back up there was no Joeford at all. He just disappear from me. …Just so the youth get away from me.”

“It really touched my heart. Definitely, I feel that one,” said John.

As the current pulled on John, he said that he had to struggle to save his own life.

He said he felt weak as he approached the shore and had to be assisted by two persons, who held him by his hands and dragged him to safety.

“Two nights now I ain’t shut my eyes, trust me. Sunday night, I couldn’t even lie down. Last night when I try to shut my eyes, just like I seeing the youth man in front of me. …If I tell you from Sunday I drink one cup of juice, this morning I drink one cup of tea,” said John, as tears streamed down his face.

Yvonne Garraway, Joeford’s grandmother, also known as “Friend”, told SEARCHLIGHT that she has been crying since the disappearance of Joeford, and has also found herself unable to eat.

“When I heard that Joeford drowned I was not in this world, I been gone somewhere else,” Yvonne, who is also John’s common-law-wife, lamented.

Yvonne said since Sunday’s incident, she has been having chest pains. She said that she has cried a lot and is unable to cry anymore.

A search was carried out by coastguard officers along the Eastern Coastline for Joeford’s body, but to date, Joeford’s body had not been recovered.

Joeford is the third young male to have drowned at the Brighton Salt Pond in the last four years.

On July 11, 2006, David Glynn, a 23-year-old resident of Liberty Lodge drowned while on a church picnic. On January 19, 2008, 19-year-old Preston Browne, a resident of Brighton, drowned while swimming at Salt Pond with a friend.