BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, May 6, 2021 (MMS-SKN) — Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, on Wednesday May 5 joined family and friends, teachers and students of the Charles E. Mills Secondary School, and members of the Defence Force Cadet Corps at the thanksgiving service for the life, and later interment, of former Defence Force Cadet, Keyon Richards, in Sandy Point.
The fourteen-year old Form Three student at the Charles E, Mills Secondary School in Sandy Point, who was also a member of Defence Force Cadet Corps, died on April 1 in a freak accident when a tree fell on him at the Sandy Point basketball hardcourts where he and his colleagues were playing a game of basketball. Two other players were injured but have since recovered.
“In the death of Keyon Richards, the country lost a young man who had positive attributes,” said Prime Minister Harris. “For him to have joined the Defence Force Cadet Corps shows that he had love for his country and was ready to serve it. The teenager was tragically taken away as he and his friends engaged themselves in what is a noble activity for people of their age – playing basketball.”
Dr Harris called for prayers by well-wishers to comfort mother of the deceased, Ms Denise Richards and the four siblings of the deceased, and for God to give them strength to bear the loss of Keyon Richards. He also paid tributes to the other basketball players who were deeply traumatised after seeing their colleague die.
The thanksgiving service, which was conducted by Father Dominic Pham, was held at the Sacred Heart Church in Sandy Point while interment was at the Catholic Cemetery in Cleverly Hill, Sandy Point.
Present at the funeral service in church included Deputy Prime Minister and Area Parliamentary Representative for St. Christopher Five, the Hon Shawn Richards; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education Mr William Vincent Hodge; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Infrastructure Mr Daryl Lloyd, Major Lynn Wilkin, ADC to the Governor General; and Captain Keithly Phillip, Officer Commanding Cadet Corps.
Charles E. Mills Secondary School was represented by the entire staff and student body, led by Principal Mrs Eisha Jackson, and Deputy Principal Mr Lester Richards. Also present was Teacher Mrs Asha Jones-Woodley, whose son Master V’Ontwon Woodley is one of the two basketball players who got injured when Master Keyon Richards lost his life.
Also present were members of the Defence Force Cadet Corps from the island of St. Kitts and the island of Nevis, and representatives of the Nevis Cadet Corps Parents’ Association.
After the thanksgiving service at the church, the funeral procession moved along the Island Main Road to the Catholic Cemetery in Cleverly Hill. Prime Minister Harris was also in the procession. Present at the funeral service at the graveyard included Minister of Tourism the Hon Lindsay Grant, and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism, Mrs Carlene Henry-Morton.
After the graveside service, also conducted by Father Dominic Pham, the casket was lowered into the grave. Covering of the grave took about three hours as it was being done manually with persons taking turns using shovels to put back the soil. Among those who assisted were Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Education, Mr William Vincent Hodge, and Chairman of Peoples Labour Party (PLP) Constituency Number Five Executive Branch, Mr Glenville Mills.
Prime Minister Harris, who stood with other mourners under a tent all that time, placed a wreath on the grave after the first wreaths would have been placed by Ms Denise Richard, mother of the deceased. She had earlier received a plaque bearing her son’s name from Captain Keithly Phillip, Officer Commanding Cadet Corps.
Following the laying of the wreaths, the Cadet Corps took part in a drill and a parade, after which Captain Phillip invited Prime Minister Harris to inspect the parade and address the cadets.
“I was very glad to see the Prime Minister being very supportive, coming to the send-off for Keyon Richards and was able to be there to show his support not only as a Prime Minister, but as a caring person,” said Mrs Asha Jones-Woodley, a teacher at the Charles E. Mills Secondary School.
Mrs Jones-Woodley, whose son Master V’Ontwon Woodley was injured by the falling tree that killed Master Keyon Richards, added: “I was very glad to see the Prime Minister’s presence and he stayed there for most of it which I must applaud him for. This is very much commendable because he has a busy schedule, yet he took time out and ensured that he showed his support, even to not only his country but the younger folk letting them know that he is there to support them.”