Trinidad and Tobago‘s 2009 road death toll has already started, with the loss of a young and high-profile female boxer, Giselle Salandy (also known as Jizelle Joseph). The accident happened in the early hours of Sunday morning, when Salandy, who was driving, apparently fell asleep at the wheel and hit a culvert. The car was sent reeling into one of the concrete pillars that supports the Beetham Highway Flyover, a notorious spot dubbed “the killer pillar” which has claimed far too many lives over the years, including that of local businessman Ram Kirpalani. The tragedy comes on the heels of a recent car crash involving another sporting hero – Olympic double silver medalist Richard Thompson – who walked away with minor injuries after his car collided with another vehicle. Just a few weeks shy of her twenty-second birthday, Salandy had a promising career ahead of her and bloggers Caribbean-wide are taking the time to pay her tribute…
From Grenada, Spicewriter's Blog posts a comprehensive account of Salandy's career highlights, but quite understandably, Trinidadian bloggers have had the most to say. Trinidad and Tobago News Blog calls her “T&T's most successful female boxer”, while Media Watch praises the quick response time of the mainstream media in updating their online news feeds to reflect the latest details of the accident.
Now is Wow Too republishes a letter she wrote to the editors of Trinidad and Tobago's three daily newspapers, in which she refers to this feature article on the young boxer, which states that “a degree in Child Psychology is on the agenda for Jizelle.” With that in mind, Now is Wow has a few suggestions about how best to honour the sportswoman's memory:
First of all condolences to the loved ones of Jizelle Salandy.
The day after her fatal car accident, a question in one of the daily newspapers asks: “How do you think champion boxer Jizelle Salandy should be remembered?”
I think she can be remembered through:
(a) the establishment of The Jizelle Salandy Home for Abandoned and Underprivileged Children
(b) the establishment of an ongoing Jizelle Salandy scholarship fund which enables young people to pursue degrees and training in Child Psychology.
Well trained, professional, accessible, open-minded and committed child psychologists and peer counselors are needed in today's society. Many young people are largely misguided, lack trust in elders and often have nowhere to turn. The ‘shining light’ that Jizelle Salandy wanted to be can, in part, be passed on as a torch to the hands of those who, through the scholarship, will strive to be great child psychologists and offer ongoing guidance to the youth. Investing money in initiatives like this will support and encourage a much needed culture of national healing.
Trinbagonian Heroes says that “With her death, not just the boxing sorority/fraternity, but Trinidad and Tobago and the entire world has lost a true champion” and goes on to address the issue of “the pillar”:
What is it about the Killa Pilla that makes it such a horror-inducing event every witless engagement or treating with it?
The Killa Pilla – like all similarly-disposed structures – has been and remains the undisputed Grim Victor in its every debacle with with all who run up against it mainly because that Ministry has never seen it fit to shroud the its base with shock-absorbent buffers, not even simple, but effective, ones, like used vehicle tyres. Negligence which, by any imaginary stretch, most amazing is and which borders on the criminal!
Caribbean Beat Blog, which has been following Jizelle's career for a long time, was saddened by the news:
Born Jizelle Joseph, Salandy was arguably the greatest female boxer the islands have ever produced, and seemed sure to continue shining as an international boxing star.
…while the words of Discover TnT Blog seem to reflect the sentiment of a nation:
There is no way we would have believed that early in this new year, the nation would be mourning the loss of this tremendously talented young woman.
The news has stunned and saddened both boxing fans and the Trinbagonian public at large, in a country beseiged by road fatalities and senseless crime, and in need of promising young people to carry the nation forward.
Giselle Salandy has done her nation proud, and we only wish she were still with us to achieve all she seemed so poised to. We will miss this shining example of what hard work, humility and determination can accomplish, and send our sincerest condolences to her family and loved ones. Rest in peace, Giselle.
Thumbnail illustration courtesy jaxpix, used under a Creative Commons license. Visit jaxpix's flickr photostream.