AT least four people born in Trinidad and Tobago have died from complications relating to coronavirus disease COVID-19 in New York, a US state now considered the global epicentre of the pandemic.
Trinidad-born Trevor Pierre was a frontline worker who contracted COVID-19 at his jobsite in Brooklyn.
Pierre, 62, died from complications caused by the virus just after midnight on Thursday.
His wife, Mary Adams, and two children, Todd and Gitana, have tested negative and have been self-quarantined.
Pierre, a health and safety inspector, tested positive for COVID-19 almost a month ago.
He self-isolated in the basement of his home in Brooklyn, relatives said. He had no contact with his family. But his condition worsened and he was admitted to hospital two weeks ago, his sister, Joan Pierre, told the Express.
In a phone interview yesterday, Pierre said her family was “totally broken” and “devastated”.
She said her brother was well-loved and fun to be around.
He was a former Petrotrin employee and migrated with his family in 1993. He previously lived in San Fernando.
He was expected to travel to Trinidad later this month to attend his father’s 90th birthday celebration.
Pierre said her brother cared for his wife, who recently had a brain aneurysm and is recovering.
The family wants nothing more than to say goodbye, she said.
“We are now seeking advice on how we can get his body from the state so we can have a private cremation. I am looking on as bodies are being disposed in the United States. I am hoping this does not befall my brother,” she said.
Visit to wife ends in death
San Juan resident Winston O’Neil flew to New York to visit his wife two months ago.
O’Neil, of Bushe Street, was known as “the father of the community”.
He told residents when he returned home this month, he would host a celebration. But it was not meant to be.
Early Thursday morning, his closest friends received the news from O’Neil’s family in the US that he had lost his battle with COVID-19.
It is suspected that he contracted the virus while in America since he left Trinidad and Tobago about two weeks before Carnival, when this country had not as yet recorded its first COVID-19 case.
Yesterday, one of O’Neil’s closest friends, Dennis Marshall, told the Express Bushe Street residents were mourning.
“He was a real cool and down-to-earth person. Everybody saw him as the father of the community because he would always be one of the main persons to organise and fund sporting events and so on in the area,” he said.
Marshall said O’Neil was in his mid-70s and did not show any sign of illness before departing Trinidad and Tobago.
And even though his death was difficult to deal with, what was even more difficult was that some who were closest to him are unable to say final farewells.
“He has a daughter and a son over here, and even they won’t be able to say a proper goodbye.
As a matter of fact, there won’t even be a proper funeral since the hospital over there is cremating people in batches,” Marshall said.
Those in San Juan who knew O’Neil have taken the decision to hold prayer sessions in their homes, he said.
Last week, a Trinidad-born educator at a New York school died from complications caused by COVID-19.
Born in Palo Seco, Dez-Ann Romain emigrated to New York and later became principal of the Brooklyn Democracy Academy, a transfer school that serves pupils who have struggled at traditional high schools and are unlikely to graduate on time.
A fourth Trinidadian to die of complications due to COVID-19 in New York was identified by calypsonian Crazy (Edwin Ayoung).
Junior Toussaint, 72, grew up in Laventille and migrated to the US.
In a post on social media, Ayoung said: “Junior Toussaint—Trinidadian—We grew up together in Success Village, Laventille, in the late ’40s & ’50s died in New York City this morning and was taken down by the dreaded Corona. He was 72. I will surely miss him. He was such a wonderful soul. RIP JUNIOR.”
by Rickie Ramdass