January 31, 2014
Nanton family still coping with losses

Fri Jan 31, 2014

By: Taranjah Yaw

One month after the unusual weather system that devastated parts of the country and caused the deaths of five of their family members, the Nantons of Rose Bank and the Bartholomews of Barrouallie are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives once again.{{more}}

With their parents, sister and nephews dead in the disaster that also destroyed their homes, brothers Bazil and Wendell Nanton are grateful to be alive and have family, friends and supporters around. Wendell narrowly escaped death from the landslide which killed his parents and the other family members; he is still healing and has scars on his face and body from injuries suffered; he spent more than a week in the hospital.

The family is trying to cope, according to Bazil who lives next door to the doomed family home and whose house also suffered damage.

“We are grateful for all the help and support we received. People have been great, people we never met came to us and offered things and support. On behalf of the family I am saying thank you to all the agencies and persons who responded to our plight,” Bazil said.

The surviving family was treated to lunch by Prime Minster Dr Ralph Gonsalves at the State residence two Sundays ago.

“The Bartholomew family at Barrouallie is a small family but we are missing a big chunk,” according to Cidney Bartholomew, step mother to Yowani Bartholomew who also perished in the Nanton’s family home last Christmas Eve.

Popularly known as Wanni, young Bartholomew lived with his father since he was about six years old.

“I first met him at the hospital when he was about five. He had a book and the teacher in me just came out and I began to work with him there. I was not involved with his father at the time, but he was around eight when we got married,” Cidney fondly remembers.

Yowani was a first year student at the St Vincent Community College, majoring in environmental science, history and communication studies with aspirations to be a pilot. Principal of the South Leeward Secondary School (SLSS) Dora James told SEARCHLIGHT that Yowani was a pleasure to observe. “He was so focused and disciplined and led by actions and not just talks. He was not a child that loved crowds and he always gets his work done and because of that he succeeded,” James said. James also said Yowani had caring parents who supported him and that he was a well adjusted student.

Yowani was supposed to spend the New Year’s holidays with his grandparents instead of Christmas but because his aunt Hazell, whom he usually spent time with in Barbados and was very fond of, was home he asked to be sent for Christmas so that he could spend some time with her, his step mom said.

“He was a great kid, he loved to read and help out around the house and was mannerly and respectful to others. Lately he was telling me to teach him to cook but he liked to fry especially plantains,” Cidney recalled.

Cidney said that they have received tremendous support over the past month and expressed their sincere thanks and appreciation to all the agencies and individuals who have shared with them in their time of tragedy. Yowani was buried at Barrouallie on January 9, while the others who perished were buried on the Saturday of the same week at the Dark View Cemetery just north of Rose Bank.