Randy Lawrence was a man destined for great things.
This sentiment was expressed by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, while paying tribute to the 39-year-old banker who was gunned down on Valentine’s Day, 2017, becoming this country’s first and only murder victim, so far, for the year.
The Prime Minister, who was one of the many persons who paid tribute to Lawrence, told the packed New Testament Church at Wilson Hill on Monday that Lawrence, who was among the flying, young, bright people at the Bank of SVG (BOSVG), was like a son to him.
“In fact, that is why when a nexus was established between us and … the Bank of St Lucia that Randy was among those who were sent over to help,” Gonsalves said.
“I was so shocked and surprised and I felt an immense sense of loss when Randy was killed. It is not for us to look for vengeance; the court of law will make its determination.”
Gonsalves, who like Lawrence was born and raised in the community of Colonarie, said that Lawrence knew about adversity, but was blessed in the head and had a fantastic disposition and discipline.
“He is part of me and I will miss him. I loved him very much,” a sad Gonsalves said.
He asked friends and family of Lawrence to never forget him.
“We must remember that he was an excellent young man, among the best to have come out of Colonarie and the rural areas and he will be an example for us,” he said.
Former Commissioner of Police Keith Miller said that he got to know Lawrence when he was stationed at the Colonarie Police Station in 1991, since the Lawrence family was their closest neighbours.
“Randy never refused a day to run to the shop for us to do a little errands so, policemen at the Colonarie station always returned a good favour by allowing them to use the facilities [to study],” Miller said, explaining that at the time, there was no electricity at the Lawrence family home.
Former director of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Community College and Colonarie native Dr Joel Warrican described Lawrence as a one of the shining lights of the village.
“Many of us who are significantly older than Randy noticed that he was different. We watched him growing up and recognized that he stood out,” he said. “He was bright, he was sharp; we saw the sparkle in his eyes; he was eloquent and all of the other boys looked up to him.”
He recalled a story of Lawrence bragging during one of his many river cooks with his friends about being able to roll 100 dumplings from only one pound of flour.
“He maintained his positive, can do outlook into his adult life,” Warrican stated.
He said that they celebrated when Lawrence achieved his Bachelor’s degree and he was pleased to learn that he had begun to read for his Master’s degree.
“But what was most outstanding about Randy was the fact that though he had risen in his community, he did not forget his roots,” Warrican said.
During Warrican’s tribute, Randy’s mother, Hyacinth Lawrence, who had been outside the church, made her way inside and was so overcome with grief that she broke down. Her cries could be heard by all, causing many persons in the congregation to shed tears along with her.
Warrican stated that it was Lawrence’s eloquence that landed him his wife Rachel.
He said that to honour Lawrence’s memory, people should be caring to those in the community and let his legacy of positivity and his can do attitude live on in their attitudes and behaviours.
Warrican encouraged persons to continue watching out for Lawrence’s daughter, Rachel, to help her realize the dreams that her father had for her.
Eulogist and friend Stuart Haynes stated that Lawrence’s passing has left a gaping hole in the hearts of those who knew him.
He said that knowing the man that Lawrence was, he would want for them to be strong and live their lives in a way that takes nothing for granted. Haynes described Lawrence as a man of character who loved deeply and exuded true humility and who inspired them to be better in all aspects of life.
He said that while academics were important to Lawrence, his life did not revolve around academics. “Randy built a solid social capital by his extensive involvement in sports, culture and other nation building activities.”
Lawrence was a patrol leader in the Anglican scout troop, a volunteer teacher at the Georgetown Technical and Vocational School, served on the Georgetown carnival committee and was a community DJ called DJ Laro.
He was also a central member of the BOSVG staff social activity club and president of the club from 2008-2010 and gave his time freely to the St Vincent and the Grenadines Tennis Association as treasurer.
Haynes said that Lawrence and his wife had a long-standing friendship which only death could sever.
“His affections were deep and strong and his gentle unwitting attention added far more to her happiness than material possessions. Randy would share with us that the only chore he couldn’t do for his daughter was comb her hair. He performed the domestic chores of ironing, cooking, cleaning, homeworking with great pride and dignity. He was in her life early and often, shaping her future,” Haynes said of his long-time friend.
He described the hardest moment since his friend’s death was being greeted by Lawrence’s daughter, who told him that he reminded her of her father.
He said in helping with Lawrence’s dream to see his daughter attend university, an account has been established to partially fund her university studies.
Haynes said that, like everyone, Lawrence had his troubles; however, he never allowed that to daunt his spirit. Haynes recalled their weekly domino games, which were used to catch up with each other, discuss issues at hand and for Lawrence to show off his culinary skills.
Haynes said that the night before Lawrence’s untimely death, they were scheduled to meet at his home; however, circumstances dictated that that did not happen.
Lawrence was shot six times at around 7 a.m. at Arnos Vale on February 14. He later died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.
According to the results of Lawrence’s post mortem examination, he died of severe loss of blood and multiple gunshot injuries.
Junior Jarvis, a 44-year-old journalist and public relations consultant has been charged with the banker’s murder.Lawrence was buried at the Kingstown Cemetery. (CM)