By Mellica McPherson-Ganda
“Whoever it is, the Lord is going to expose them in the name of Jesus,” a co-worker of Nickera Smith’s mother said as she set the tone at Tuesday’svigil that was organized in memory of the young lady that went missing in January and only in April following her mortal remains were discovered.
The vigil saw many persons pleading for prayers, for not only the grieving family and friends of Nickera, but for prayers to be used to draw the perpetrator/s of the heinous crime out.
Social activist Natalio Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru, who taught Nickera at the H. Lavity Stoutt Community College told the gathering that the news that Nickera was missing, and the announcement of her untimely demise was quite shocking to him. “She was a kind spirit, in my class she worked hard and never fussed with anyone,” he recalled.
The activist further announced that this despicable matter calls for community unity: “This is a sign that we as a community have to pull together…We need to be our brother’s keeper…In honour of Nickera we should have a renewal of unity…Let us pull together for unity, for Nickera, and the other lives that were snatched from among us. We may have our little squabbles but events such as this shows that we can pull together,” he said.
Movene Fahie, Nickera’s aunt admonished the youth of the Territory to be careful of the company they keep, and to let their parents know where they are going. She focused her message more on the young women in the community:
“You young ladies be careful of the company you keep, make sure you let your parents know where you are going. The young people today don’t tell their parents nothing – like two mothers in a house. I am hurting—this is my niece. This is a message to young people — my niece dead, and she dead bad.”
Ms. Fahie said that she is praying that the guilty in this matter will be brought to justice: “Whoever that person/s is who did this to my niece, I put it in Jesus hand. Before the end of this year he gone confess and say he did it,” she announced.
The Althea Scatliffe class of 2005 and the Elmore Stoutt High School class of 2010 were represented at the event. A member of the class spoke comforting words to the family, and asked the community to come together and think “if it was you or yours.” A classmate also did a touching rendition of Boyz II Men’s ‘Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.”
Another young lady who said that she did not know Nickera well, but was moved to speak at the event, pleaded for anyone with information to go to the police: “Whoever it is, somebody must talk —anything, it can be hearsay.”
She also noted that the perpetrator may be moving freely in the community: “It is somebody living among us, none of us are safe right now,” she added.
The message of reporting information was amplified by Khoy Smith, Nickera’s cousin. He said: “Even if you know who picked her up, even if you heard something, that is the kind of information we are talking about.”
Gloria Fahie announced that she was disappointed that a larger crowd did not support the vigil, and opined that the decision by many to not attend was a demonstration of the nonchalant attitude observed in the community.
“I expected this park to be filled with people. We have to be our brother’s keeper and I am seeing we are no longer a caring people. You cannot wait till something affects you. We need to get involved and send this message loud and clear,” she said.
Lovena Henry, another aunt of Nickera also described the perpetrator as the worst of society and stressed that God was going to reveal things and bring justice: “Whoever it is, I am not going to search for them because God will deal with it…God will handle it, I am putting my hope…Whoever that coward is whether it is a group, they will be revealed. They have to live with it.”
Mrs. Henry echoed the sentiment of other speakers that the perpetrator is living in the community and that anyone can be affected: “I am not afraid to say it — that person is evil. That evil person is living among us. It can be anyone of us. We have to be careful,” she said.
Nickera’s father, Ranielle Smith known as ‘Jacko’ described his daughter as a person who did not speak much, and in an interview with reporters recalled the last time he saw his child: “The last time I saw her was 8 o’clock the night [she went missing]and since then I can only picture her and I don’t understand what went down…I was watching TV and after that she went sitting down outside talking on the phone. She prepared to go some place, but she didn’t tell me where she was going. She just left… that was the end,” he said.
On 28 April Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Alwin James issued a statement confirming that the remains that were found in Hawks Nest, Tortola, were those of Nickera who was reported missing by her family on 29 January 2016. The family disclosed that Nickera will be laid to rest on 21 May.