By Imran Khan
Editor’s note: Shanika Small has been unaccounted her since a message was sent from her cellphone on Oct. 23, 2011, saying “Call 911”. Her mother has identified clothes on a decomposed body found on Oct. 30, 2011 as Small’s. A post-mortem conducted on Oct. 31, 2011 revealed that the individual received two fractures to the skull as a result of trauma to the head. Police investigators have sent a package overseas for DNA testing in order to have some more conclusive findings as they try to confirm the identity of the dead person. Police said in January that they were still awaiting the results of those tests.
Dear Editor: I met Shanika Small on one of my trips to St Vincent a few years ago. After tiring travel I encountered her gracious warmth at the front desk of Grenadine House where she was employed as a front desk attendant. Grenadine House is by no means the Ritz but of the many hotels I have stayed at, the experience there was memorable. This was in large measure as a result of the wonderful staff at the hotel. I recall Shanika to be courteous, conscientious and engaging.
She was charming too and spared no effort in ensuring that my stay was comfortable and indeed enjoyable. Every night before she left work she enquired of my colleagues and I whether we were comfortable and ensured that she provided us with all necessary information in the event we needed anything. The hospitality and patience of the staff, and especially Shanika, has remained with me since.
It should come as no surprise therefore that I was today deeply saddened to have learnt of Shanika’s disappearance last October. Several months have passed since her disappearance and what appears to be her passing but to me it is rather fresh.
I recall my colleagues and I chatting with Shanika and she spoke of her ambitions to further her studies overseas and pursuing a successful career. Shanika spoke of wanting to study overseas but was insistent that her plans were to return to St. Vincent to live and work.
She impressed me as a focussed and determined young lady. That her life has been cut short in what was reported to be most barbaric and brutal circumstances has been rightfully condemned widely. I too add my condemnation. I trust that her family will have closure as every effort would be made to ensure the DNA test results are made available.
I pray too that the coward(s) who murdered her is/are brought to justice.
Shanika did not deserve to die in such inhumane circumstances. Hers was a warm and affable soul. In her own small way she was a most gracious and excellent ambassador for her country. Her murderer(s) has/have robbed St Vincent of a shining star. May her soul rest in peace.