A visit to the beach unknown to her parents has cost 13-year-old Christina Reid her life.
The death of the teenager, who has been described as a quiet individual, has left relatives, friends and schoolmates shocked and saddened.
Christina’s 19-year-old maternal sister Iana McIntosh, told Barbados TODAY that though hours had passed, she was finding it difficult to come to grips with the fact that the Springer Memorial School student had drowned.
Police reports indicate that Christina was in the company of two friends at Pierhead Beach, Bay Street, St Michael, around 1:45 p.m. on Wednesday when she got into difficulty. She was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) but was pronounced dead on arrival.
Iana recalled that continuous efforts to contact Christina via her cellular phone proved futile.
The University of the West Indies student said it was their mother, Sophia Reid, who asked her to get in touch with her younger sibling, after her efforts to contact her failed. Instead of going to the beach, Christina was expected to be with her father Christopher Burke.
“My mother messaged me and told me that she sent my sister to carry to school my little brother. He goes to school at St Giles and she goes to school at Springer, so it would be a usual thing. But she didn’t have school, because of the dust. So she just carried him to school and she was supposed to meet her father in town.
“So she went to town and apparently she called her father and said she going and meet another girl. And then she called back again and say she going and see if she see the little girl. And then from there my mother was just telling me to message my sister.
“I called so much times. I voice-note on WhatsApp. I left voice notes on her phone telling her that my mother send she one place, don’t go a next place. And all of that time I didn’t know she was already at the hospital dead. I heard that she started to get drag out with the current and one of the [friends] run for the lifeguard,” she said.
Iana said she was confused and shocked that the former Blackman and Gollop pupil, who could not swim, was at the beach unknown to her parents.
“She usually goes to town with her father. It used to always be on a Saturday, but since she ain’t at school, she would go to where she father does work which is down Cheapside Market. She used to go and help him work,” Iana explained, while sitting in the living room of her Windsor Road, Christ Church home.
When contacted, Christina’s mother was too distraught to speak about the child who lived with her at Gemswick, St Philip.
However, Iana said that their loving mother who often insisted that she knew the whereabouts of her children was not handling the tragedy well.
“My mother didn’t know. My mother said if she had known she would have carried to school my brother herself.”
Iana recalled spending quality time with her younger sibling whenever she would babysit her. She said though they did not live in the same household, they had gotten closer in the past few years.
Iana, who also attended Springer Memorial, recalled that last Saturday she told the young teenager that she needed to start thinking about what career path she wanted to take.
The older sister said she told Christina that when she was ready to pursue tertiary education, she would be working and able to assist with financing her.
“I wasn’t expecting this to happen. When my mother voice-note me yesterday and told me that she father call and say that she went to the beach and drowned, I was shocked. At first I didn’t believe it, I thought she was joking. Now I ain’t got no sister.
“Whenever I would go and visit, she would be happy and we would just laugh. Then I would say, ‘you know you is my favourite sister and she would be like, ‘I am your only sister’ and then we would laugh it off.
“This weekend when I went up there, I wasn’t expecting to stay too long. She helped me pick out some clothes to wear and we were laughing and bonding. We get real close in the span of two years than we have ever been before,” she said.
“I noticed her self-esteem was low, so I would usually go to her and gave her little lectures and tell her you are beautiful, don’t let nobody tell you otherwise. I am her sister and I would try to steer her in the right direction because I don’t want her go down a road I know is not good,” Iana said.
Iana’s fraternal grandmother, Corleta McIntosh, said she too became worried when she saw 3 o’clock on Wednesday and Iana did not get through to Christina.
“Christina ain’t a girl that would do these things. That ain’t Christina. Christina is a quiet little girl. But her mother and father did not know where she was going. Iana is 19, and she mother would be on her case if she does something that she ain’t like. What to say to she [Christina] that is only 13?” McIntosh said.