General — 14 September 2012 — by Albert J. Ciego
J’ouvert participant drowns after jumping off Belcan Bridge

BELIZE CITY, Mon. Sept. 10, 2012

Just after the carnival j’ouvert (pronounced “joovay” in Belize) early Saturday morning, September 8, a young participant lost his life in the Haulover Creek by the Belcan Bridge.

Jermaine Madrill, 17, of Magazine Road, jumped off the bridge in celebration of the carnival “joovay”, like so many other participants, but never resurfaced. Speculation is that another person may have landed on top of him, either knocking him unconscious, or injuring him to the point where he could not help himself.

Many joovay participants, after muddying themselves for the celebration, afterwards jumped off the bridge into the river to clean themselves; it is considered part of the joovay, which started around 5:30 that Saturday morning.

After Madrill did not resurface, his friends conducted a frantic search for him, but to no avail. His father was then called. He came, but the body was not found until the following day, Sunday, around 7:00 a.m. near the Belcan Bridge, after extensive searches were carried out by his family and friends, along with the National Coast Guard, beginning around 5:30 Sunday morning. He is the second member of the family to die recently; five weeks ago, his uncle, Corporal Wayne Madrill of the Belize Defence Force, was shot to death.

His grandfather, Modesto Madrill, Justice of the Peace, told Amandala that he came to the Belcan Bridge area just in time to see the body of his grandson found. He helped pull him out of the water and put him on a stretcher, then in the back of a police mobile unit to be taken to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital, where he was declared dead on arrival. A post mortem was conducted that confirmed the cause of death as drowning.

Jermaine’s father, Keith Madrill, told Amandala that there were many difficulties encountered in connection with the search to find his son. There were delays when he called the police – his call was sent to the Crimes Investigation Branch (CIB), and afterwards he was told that CIB would call the Coast Guard.

A call was made from around 7:00 that Saturday morning to the Coast Guard but they did not come until around 9:20 a.m., he said. He then called Lieutenant Greg Soberanis, Operations Officer of the National Coast Guard, who came from Burrell Boom Village to help him.

Keith Madrill said, however, that he was not frustrated in spite of the delays.

He wants to extend heartfelt thanks and gratitude to everyone who assisted in the search efforts to locate Jermaine. He sends thanks to the Coast Guard, a special thanks to Lieutenant Greg Soberanis, who did not give up, and who did not get tired.

He also sends special thanks to the ladies who assisted by providing food to the searchers on both days, Saturday and Sunday, to the divers who took the time out to find Jermaine, and to the wider community who sent their condolences and who remember them in their prayers.

Jermaine was his eldest son and will be missed dearly, Keith said, adding that his son was an athlete who represented Belize many times abroad in sports competitions. He was a volleyball player and a star in track and field.

Jermaine Madrill was the nephew of Corporal Wayne Madrill of the Belize Defence Force, who was shot to death around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, July 29. The veteran member of the BDF band was found dead on Cemetery Road lying in a pool of blood with multiple gunshot wounds to his face and head.

Modesto Madrill, JP, said that 16 months ago he had also lost his wife, who died in May of last year, then his son, Wayne, now his grandson, Jermaine.

Jermaine Madrill was buried on Thursday, September 13, at the Lords Ridge Cemetery, after funeral services were conducted at St. John’s Cathedral.

Madrill is survived by his father Keith Madrill; mother, Sharon Soberanis; two sisters; a brother; his grandfather, Modesto Madrill, J.P.; granduncles; and a host of relatives and friends.

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