Official Statement from the Honourable Shawn Richards, Minister of Education, Youth, Sports and Culture

ShawnRichards-8Basseterre, St. Kitts — On behalf of the government and citizens of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Ministry of Sports expresses deepest sympathies for the loss of Daundre Antonio Barnaby, a bright star from theAthletics Canada National Track and Field team, who died while swimming with his peers in St. Kitts on Friday, March 27 at about 11:45 a.m.

A native of Jamaica and national of Canada, Mr. Barnaby, had travelled to St. Kitts with 20 other athletes and eight officials for the team’s annual training. Upon his return from training last Friday, he went into the ocean and shortly thereafter encountered difficulty.

All efforts to assist Mr. Barnaby were unsuccessful. An extensive search and rescue effort was immediately launched by the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force, the St. Kitts-Nevis Coast Guard and local diver, Mr. Kenneth Samuel. After more than a three hour search Mr. Barnaby was recovered from the water. Tragically, the attempts to resuscitate him failed.

The Athletics Canada, sport’s governing body, has enjoyed a warm friendship with the government of St Kitts and Nevis through a sports technology and training transfer programme that exchanges our greatest assets; our friendly nationals, warm climate and modern track and field facilities, with track and field expertise, technical skills and experience of the Athletics Canada athletes and coaching staff.

It was in this context that young Barnaby visited our country that I am told he loved. Perhaps it reminded him of his days as a youth on the beaches of his mother country Jamaica, or perhaps it was just about being with his teammates whom he had grown to love. We may never know, but what we do know is that he chose to give of his skills and competence in sharing with his peers and with the youth of our Federation. This speaks volumes of a young star gone far too soon. It was Tuesday of last week that I meet with the staff and team members of Athletics Canada and realized firsthand the family-like spirit of interactions; I am truly touched by their loss; by our loss.

I personally shared expressions of sorrow with Daundre’s teammates, but now wish to extend my sentiments to his family, friends and loved ones, for whom a large component of their joy and their life has sadly departed. I trust that all who knew him could find solace and understanding in his passing and lend their support to those who are left behind to live Daundre’s legacy, motivated by the memory of such a capable and well-loved young man.

I share sympathies with his mother whom I’m told will travel to St Kitts-Nevis to see her son as no mother should. I, along with the Ministry of Sports, pledge support to the Athletics Canada coaching staff and athletes in this time of grief, questioning and melancholy. We are prepared to return the favour and lend a helping hand of love and continued commitment to the enrichment of lives of lovers of the sport of track and field and our Federation. We pray that you will indeed find peace and purpose in Daundre Barnaby’s sudden passing.

May the grace of God guide and direct you.

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