The parents of 17-year-old Kyrique Boyce will never forget the sad look on his face moments before he took his last breath.
It was just minutes after he was pulled from a 100-foot well in his Pinelands neighourhood.
Cedric Boyce said not only was the loss of his first child causing him heartache, but also the look Kyrique give him while laying on a stretcher in the ambulance, is one that would forever be etched in his memory.
Boyce, who reflected on the final minutes of his son’s life, told Barbados TODAY that he felt helpless when he saw a weary Kyrique open and close his eyes.
“The last time I see my son was as he come out that well. His eyes barely glimpse at me when I went to hold he hand and he did gone. I was right there as they put he on the bed. I see he look at me and he hands drop off the bed the same time. I don’t know if he was trying to reach out to me, or what, but I got that last look from him.
“Them rush he off so quick that the only thing I could try to tell he was ‘Try to hold on son. Please try to hold on.’ But on he way down [to the hospital] he was gone. I could look and see that my son was going though.
“But when he was down in the well I was telling myself that my son still alive because I didn’t get that bad feeling then. It was only when my son come out the well and I saw the condition he was in, and then that last look, I say to myself ‘my son now gone,” Boyce recalled.
Kyrique’s mother Latoya Francis said she had been trying to forget that moment she last saw him alive.
Francis recalled that though there were scores at the scene who gathered hoping and praying Kyrique came out of the well alive, he spotted her in the crowd, “and me and he eyes meet four”.
“When they were bringing he to carry he to the ambulance me and he eyes meet four. I really ain’t want to remember that moment because it is hard,” Francis said.
Kyrique died just after midday last Thursday, when the cover of a well collapsed under him at #16 Martin Road, in the Pine, St Michael.
After being in the deep dark hole for about an hour, the teenager was eventually pulled unconscious from the well by officers of the Barbados Fire Service.
He was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH), but just minutes later, distraught residents in the close-knit community were screaming and bawling when they heard that he had passed.
The former student of the Daryl Jordan Secondary School was on his way to purchase a roti when the unthinkable happened.
Outraged residents blamed the National Housing Corporation (NHC) for Kyrique’s death, claiming that they had been contacted repeatedly about repairing that well, and others in the area.
Speaking to Barbados TODAY as family and friends comforted her during a candle light vigil for Kyrique on Thursday night; Francis said she agreed with the residents in the community.
“I have friends that say last month when the big officials come round them show them the well. So the same way that them could get a whole stage and put on the well after my child did done drop in it, them could have done that before and prevent it. It could have been anybody out here, any of the little children from out here. The little children does always be running on the well, always playing. I am so angry. I am so frustrated,” an aggrieved Francis said.
Francis said that while she was aware that some people were wondering whether she would be exploring the possibility of taking legal actions against the NHC, she wanted to leave people to wonder.
She said that the same way people have been commenting on the circumstances surrounding her son’s death, “they need to wonder what I gine do next and if I gine do something next”.
“I leave people to wonder. It really don’t bother me what people say because my son just like any other child. All people got to do is make sure that them child will always be how they want them to be.
“I ain’t have no perfect son, none of my children ain’t perfect. All of us make mistakes; all of us come up in a world where mistakes will be made. So people out there that talking rubbish and have perfect children, congratulations to you all,” Francis said.
Kyrique was like any ordinary child, the mother said.
She said he was sweet, loving and always smiling.
Francis said that the teenager also paid a lot of attention to his attire. This is why she was also disappointed that he never got to see the outfit she was planning to surprise him with to wear to an upcoming event.
“I love my child, Kyrique was sweet in his own way . . .I wanted to make Kyrique an entrepreneur,” she said.
Boyce said he was struggling to face reality that his son, whom he raised, lost his life so quickly and tragically.
He said his younger son keeps asking for his brother, and the only answer he had for him was that he was in heaven.
“I missing he every minute of every day. This got me so lost I don’t know what to do. I does call he mother and ask he mother what to do. She would tell me that she feel the same way.
“I would never forget that look on his face. But I thank them [Barbados Fire Service] for getting him out. I know everybody try them best and I thank everybody. One hundred feet is deep. It look like he fall into hell itself. They tell me I can’t go near the well because I wanted to go down in there for my son,” Boyce said.
“It got me offset too to see that that well was in that condition and nobody ain’t do nothing about it. My son had to die for something to get done about it. When I was first there I see a brek up well. When I come back and look at the well, the well pave up nice like it never happen. But we just trying to get we son buried first and then anything after,” the father added.
Forty-five-year-old Boyce said that he and Francis were preparing for a funeral for Kyrique later this month.