March 27, 2009
Family questions man’s death in Barbados waters

When Anthonio “Scupa” Williams’ family received news on February 27th, 2009, that he had perished on his way to Barbados, they were obviously grief-stricken. However, that grief has now transformed to anger because they believe that they are being misled about the real cause of Williams’ death.{{more}}

This tragedy was first reported in the SEARCHLIGHT of March 6th, 2009. However, information on the circumstances surrounding the deaths of Williams, 37, and Rajeke ‘Sizzla’ Layne, 25, had been sketchy. Barbadian authorities had reported that Williams’ autopsy revealed death by drowning, and had strongly denied hearsay that the two men had died as a result of a shoot-out with coastguard officers. A relative of Williams, who did not wish to be identified, visited SEARCHLIGHT because she wants the matter further investigated, and wants the public to know what is really going on.

It is said that Williams, a resident of Fairhall, and Layne, from Barrouallie, departed by boat from Questelles beach on February 26th, 2009, for Barbados. Williams was found off the coast of Christ Church, and Layne was found off the coast of St. Michael. Whether they were the only occupants of the boat is unclear, because others normally associated with the vessel have stated to the Police that they had not been present on that trip – including the boat’s captain, a man known only to the family as ‘Damo’. Williams’ relative believes this is untrue. “If they weren’t there, how in heaven’s name did the boat get back to St. Vincent? The Bajan authorities didn’t bring it back!”

The relative shared that the family has made several police reports but received most assistance from Corporal Morgan, of the Questelles Police Station, who could not be contacted up to press time. She related that Corporal Morgan contacted Barbadian authorities and was given several contact numbers through which the family could obtain more information. One number was for the mortuary, where Williams’ autopsy was performed.

Upon calling the mortuary, Williams’ relative made a contact, who later forwarded photos of Williams’ body before the autopsy was completed. These photos aroused her suspicion because they showed extensive bruising and other injuries which she believes are not consistent with a drowning. “He had a lot of bruise marks and blood stains on his face… there were black and blue marks on his stomach. On his hands there were rope marks or something… his knees were bruised!”

She accepts that water may have been found in his lungs but doesn’t believe it caused his untimely demise.

Since the incident, the family has been told several different accounts of what happened. One version claims that Layne fell into the water and Williams dove in to rescue him. Another version alleges that there was a third man on the boat, who made it back alive. Rumours circulating give two different accounts of what that man related about the incident. Firstly, that he was in the water with the others and heard Williams complaining of cramps before he disappeared, and, secondly, that he admitted that Williams had been killed.

Moreover, Williams’ relative spoke of another man who was supposed to tell the family how the men really died, but backed out because he was scared. She questioned: “If they both drowned, why would he be scared to speak to the family?”

More disturbingly, she claims that family members have been receiving threats of physical violence if they do not drop the matter. “There’s something going on here… we know for sure, since we are being threatened, that Scupa did not drown!”

As Williams’ body was embalmed in Barbados before being returned to St. Vincent, the family was unable to bring in their own pathologist to perform another autopsy for a second opinion.

Williams’ relative, still visibly upset, admitted that it is possible that the deceased men’s trip might have involved illegal activity, but they didn’t deserve such a fate. “We know nobody is going to own up to what they did. We’re praying to the Almighty that the truth comes out eventually… all we can ask is for God to give us strength… We’re not going to forget him.” (JSV)