Leroy McWilliam Thompson, a fisherman for over half a century, lived by the sea and yesterday he died tragically at sea.
The 64-year-old father of two was struck by a speedboat, while spearfishing in an area known as Reed’s Bay, off Weston, St James, leaving family members quite distraught.
As tears filled her eyes, his sister Rose Greaves described him as “a people’s person and a good brother” whom she felt did not deserve to die the way he did.
Today, photographs of the deceased fisherman, whose age was initially given by police as 54, proved hard to come by.
However, his close friend Ruel Cumberbatch, who was among a group of fisher folk gathered under an almond tree near the Weston Fish Market when a team from Barbados TODAY arrived, described Thompson as a brave seaman who could be seen heading out at various times during the day to fish or dive, depending on the tide and his mood.
“He was one of us, he was a fisherman. It shocked me and I believe it shocked the rest too.
“You imagine one day you see a man and the next day he gone. But he gone doing what he like. He liked fishing and the sea,” said Cumberbatch, who was at home watching cricket when he received the news of his friend’s death.
He also described Thompson as “frank” and said he never held a grudge.
“He would tell you what is on his mind today, and he [would be] friends with you the next day.
“At the end of the day you and he is still friends and he still coming back and shout you the next day,” he stressed.
As they ate roasted breadfruit, which they soaked in salt water, the men reminisced about the good times they had with Thompson, who once owned a diving company.
Seagoer Calvin Wilson said it was Thompson’s son who had called him on his cellular phone and asked him “if he heard that a fisherman was hit by a boat.
“I tell he, ‘I ain’t hear nothing yet’. I come and checked and nobody heard [anything].
“Then 20 minutes later, I get the news that he dead. I see he the same morning. He come and shout me through my gap,” Wilson recalled, adding that Thompson would be surely missed.