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Grief in MoBay

Tears as bodies of twin brothers recovered from sea

BY HORACE HINES Observer staff reporter hinesh@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, May 21, 2014    

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MONTEGO BAY, St James — Tears flowed freely yesterday as the bodies of twin brothers, Brandon and Brayden Jones, were fished from the harbour near the Dump Up Beach in this resort city by the Marine Police.

The battered and bruised bodies of the two siblings, who resided at St Georges Drive, Cornwall Courts in this parish, were Monday afternoon swept away by angry flood waters in the North Gully.

It was a sombre atmosphere at the waterfront yesterday morning as a large crowd gathered after news spread throughout the city that the bodies of the twin brothers were found.

Relatives of the deceased who were early on the scene broke down when they saw the bodies of their loved ones on the ground. Five female relatives had to be rushed to hospital after they fainted outside the police tape which encircled the corpses which were laid on the beach awaiting the arrival of funeral home workers.

Teary-eyed onlookers openly expressed their sympathies with the family and friends of the deceased.

The children's mother reportedly returned to the island yesterday after getting news of the tragedy Monday night. However, she could not be reached yesterday. The father, the Jamaica Observer understands, also resides abroad, but another of his children, Taje-Joan Jones, 19, said he was aware of the family tragedy as he was the one who called Jamaica and informed him.

"I was down town at a barber shop when I heard that two kids [were] washed away but I never felt anything about it until after I reached home and was around the computer when I my father called me from abroad and told me that he heard that the twins died. It flashed back in me mind the same time about what I heard earlier," Jones told the Observer in a telephone interview. He said he rushed to Cornwall Courts immediately, but by then it was dark and the large crowd had to call off the search.

According to Sergeant Peter Salkey, communications liaison officer for the St James Division Police Division, a search was launch for the boys immediately after the police received a report that the two children were washed away by flood waters in Cornwall Court about 5:30 Monday afternoon.

The Observer learnt that the boys were walking home from school when one jumped in the drain to play in the water and was swept away. His twin brother, in a bid to save him, jumped in the rushing water and was also washed away.

The tragedy yesterday caused a postponement of classes at the Green Pond Primary School, where the two attended classes.

"The children have been sent home because it is a sad day; we have done all that we could have done for the day. Several persons came and those who couldn't come sent their condolences to us [including] the minister of education," Winnifred Hall Clarke, principal of Green Pond Primary School told the Observer.

"The mood is one of gloom; everyone had a little teary eye. We are just feeling sad, depressed and some are questioning why it is happening to us at this time. And why it has happen to those boys," said the principal.

She noted that before the handful of students who turned up for classes yesterday were sent home, a general assembly was held at the school where teachers, parents and other persons in attendance prayed. A Ministry of Education trauma team also offered counselling.

Residents of Cornwall Court yesterday blamed the school for not taking the necessary measures to ensure the safety of students after schools were dismissed during the heavy rains.

Among those was put blame on the school was Oshane McIntosh, a cousin of the two boys.

"The gate should not have been opened. Rain is falling they should keep them there. If they did not open the gate they would not be able to leave," said McIntosh, who was among family members who turned up at Dump Up Beach where the bodies were found.

Hall Clarke, however, rejected the suggestion that the school should take blame. She said that after she realised that it was raining heavily she refused to "ring the bell".

"I did not ring that bell. At about 3:15 pm it was still raining and after it eased up the teachers sent home their children. I didn't ring the bell, the teachers sent home the children long after 3:30...," Hall Clarke said. "There were some children who would have left in the rain because once the teacher send them out they are going to try to leave. I don't know what time they (brothers) left school," she said.

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