BASSETERRE, St.Kitts (Friday 21st June 2019) – Cleveland ‘Gregory’ Collins, 64, did not burn to death in last week’s shop fire in St.Peter’s.
This comes in accordance with details shared by a relative following an autopsy performed earlier this week which revealed that he died from smoke inhalation.
Asked about the burn to the body, it was revealed that the deceased can be particularly recognised by the jaw area where he previously had surgery.
It is understood, that while family members and other loved ones are grieving, the fact that he did not perish in the flames is somewhat of a soothing thought during this time of grief.
On Monday 17th June, a candle light vigil was conducted with a procession from Collin’s home in Gillard’s Meadow to the site where the deadly fire happened at Douglas Estate.
One of Collin’s well-known brother called ‘Nature Man’ thanked those in attendance for their support.
He shared that ‘Gregory’ was a nickname given to him out of his admiration of the late well-known Jamaican Reggae icon Gregory Isaac- the artiste behind hits like ‘Night Nurse’ and ‘Rumors’.
“Gregory was not born and christened Gregory; Gregory was given to him by the people and he accepted it because his pattern was Gregory Isaac who we all know was the cool ruler and because Gregory loved him and patterned him so much, he ended up actually looking like him; he even walked like him.”
Gregory Isaac’s popular tune called ‘Sad To Know That You Are Leaving’ was sung by attendees during the candle light service.
Touching on the “very good guy” quality of his deceased, Nature Man told the gathering: “ We give all the thanks to everybody…so everybody who gives us the strength and the energy to move forward, we accept it greatly and we’re glad that you all could take the time out and be here.”
Community resident Dr. Terrance Drew pointed out that Gregory’s life example “is how we should live as a community.”
“My impression of Gregory is that he was always a very humble person. He was extremely kind, honest and respectful, and most of the time when you engage him in conversation, you know that Gregory was enjoying life and so I want to say that he enjoyed life up to the minutes that he could have enjoyed life.”
Dr. Drew stated that the circumstances of his loss is “very unfortunate” whilst noting “It is not how we leave but how we live and Gregory set an example of how we should live with honesty, respect and kindness. He was not a rich person, he did not have all the degrees on the wall but if you look here today, you’ll quickly recognise that those things are not the most important thing in life; it is how you deal with your fellow man by expressing love, kindness, respect and so forth that of course draw people to you, and so Gregory was an example of how we should live.”
In speaking directly to Collin’s relatives, he commented: “You had an excellent family member. He infected a lot of people with the good qualities and that is why the people are here tonight.”
ReverendCanonDwane Cassius of the St. George’s Anglican Church, during his remarks told: “We’re here because he meant something to all of us; to different people in different ways but the point is he meant something to everybody and so we come here to remember him and we want to give God thanks for blessing our lives with his life and we pray that in some way he would help to make us better people and we would have helped to make him a better person as well.”
A neighbor reflected on Gregory’s friendly welcome to her when she first moved into the community and how he kept a watchful eye in seeing to the safe entry to her home after working late night shifts.
That night of the candle light service featured a karaoke session as many attendees paid tribute to Gregory through songs by Gregory Isaac.
On Thursday 13th June, police received a report of a fire at All B’s Bar at Douglas Estate-owned by Germaine Brookes- at approximately 3:00 AM and responded. Additionally, the Fire and Rescue Services team was summoned to the scene to extinguish the flames whereby Collin’s body was discovered in the establishment lying motionless on the floor.
Collin’s funeral service is slated to take place on Monday 1st July at the St. George’s Anglican Church on Cayon Street.