Family of Vincentian woman killed in Anguilla boat accident call for thorough investigation
Shanika Thomas
March 24, 2023

Family of Vincentian woman killed in Anguilla boat accident call for thorough investigation

Relatives of Shanika Thomas, a Vincentian who recently lost her life in a boating accident in Anguilla, are calling on authorities on that island to carry out a thorough investigation to determine the cause of the accident.

Shanika, 35, was one of two persons who perished in the accident that took place on March 11.

In an interview with SEARCHLIGHT, Marilyn Thomas, mother of Shanika, who is known to most as Tamika, admitted that her daughter’s death has left her feeling distraught, especially since Shanika had not been scheduled to attend work that day.

Marilyn said Shanika, who was employed at the Anguilla Great House Beach Resort and did tours on the boat owned by Calypso Charters, insisted that she would attend work, as she was the sole breadwinner of the family.

“She came to me the Friday night and she told me she wasn’t to go,

but the boss said he want she to work because they kinda short [of staff]. She told me that she wasn’t going to work. I told her do not go, if your mind tell you don’t go then don’t go, because you not supposed to work- don’t go.”

Marilyn added Shanika was concerned about having funds to assist with her mother’s medical issues and also wanted to raise money as her oldest daughter was celebrating her 18th birthday on the day of the accident.

“If I would’ve known that [would] happen to my child, I would’ve called her, [the day of the accident]” Marilyn told SEARCHLIGHT.

“Saturday I got a message saying one of the boat that she used to work on turn over in the sea. So I ask, how the boat just turn over like that? So I say that ain’t sound right.”

Other family members are also suspicious about the cause of the accident, and are inquiring if all safety protocols were followed on the day.

SEARCHLIGHT understands that the Anguilla Meteorological Office on March 11 issued a high surf warning, advising sea operators of northerly sea swells that could reach up to nine feet. The warning was issued on the morning before the vessel set sail and the family said Shanika had expressed concerns about sailing on the day.

Family members tell SEARCHLIGHT that the information relayed to them said the vessel was cruising across the sea when “a big wave come and some get knock out of the boat”. At the time the vessel was carrying six passengers and Shanika was reportedly one who was thrown overboard. Another passenger, a tourist to the island, also perished in the accident. The relative went on to say that the vessel was pushed into a rock where it eventually sank.

The relative expressed hope that the authorities leave no stone unturned in the investigation and that the mother of two would receive justice if her death is determined to have been caused by negligence or recklessness.

The family also said no formal investigation has been launched as yet as authorities are yet to gather statements from the management of the boat.

A candlelight vigil will be held for Shanika here in SVG, tomorrow, March 25. Her body will be returned to SVG for burial when investigations are complete.