When 48-year-old Edward Eddie Watson gave his girlfriend of three years Joanna Astley an engagement ring last month, the 28-year-old woman was certain they were on the way to a long and happy life together.
They had not yet set a date for the wedding, but, basking in the joy of her engagement, Astley was fervently discussing marriage plans with her husband-to-be.
Now, instead of preparing for what she was sure would have been the happiest day of her life, she has to make funeral preparations for her partner, as her wedding plans were shattered by the bullets from a killer’s gun.
Watson, a Dominican national who came to Barbados about ten years ago, was shot sometime between 1:30 and 1:45 Monday afternoon while working at a private residence at Golden Plover Road, Inch Marlow, Christ Church .
Neighbours said they had heard loud explosions, and his body was subsequently discovered slumped face down in a patio with gunshot wounds to the chest and leg.
When Barbados TODAY visited the home Astley shared with Watson at #3 Reece Road, Brittons Hill, St Michael, she was surrounded by close friends, reflecting on Watson’s life.
Astley, a Jamaican, described Watson as “a very wonderful man” to whom family was important.
“He doesn’t trouble anyone. He was very family-oriented. He would work 24/7 to provide for his family,” the grieving fiancée said.
“When his daughter was born, it was like he was a brand new man. He was really fussy with her,” she said in reference to their seven-month-old daughter, Keturah Watson.
Unaware of the sad reality of her dad’s death, Keturah was bubbly and chatty during the interview, her energy and innocence leading her mother to break down in tears frequently, while softly touching her daughter.
The grief having overtaken her, Astley could no longer continue the conversation with Barbados TODAY. She leaned on the shoulder of close friend Roseann Breen for support and wept again.
At this point, Breen stepped in to continue the conversation on her friend’s behalf, speaking highly of Watson and describing him as hardworking and down to earth.
“Eddie was what you would call a handyman. He could do most of anything –– carpentry, masonry, plumbing, painting, tiling. Whatever you wanted done he was willing to do it to help out. He helped any and everybody,” she said.
Breen said they last saw Watson Monday morning, adding they simply could not understand why anyone would harm him.
“I have no idea who would want to hurt him like that. I have been friends with Eddie from the time he came to Barbados over ten years ago. He made sure he made friends with everyone. That’s just the type of person he is. He tries to get along with everyone. He was a very nice person. It’s hard to understand what happened here,” Breen told Barbados TODAY.
Watson’s brother Winston Riviere said he too was in shock over his brother’s killing and was at a loss as to why anyone would want to harm him. Riviere, who described his brother as a kind person, said his family in Dominica was planning to travel to Barbados to make the funeral arrangements.
Watson was said to be working on the home of former England cricketer, Barbadian-born Roland Butcher, who declined to comment at this time.