‘Make my son be the last one’

ALLIGATOR POND, Manchester – A grieving Manchester mother is urging beachgoers in the Alligator Pond area to adhere to the warnings of locals to stop ignoring the “no swimming” signs at a dangerous section of the sea where her son Asafa Lowe, 17, is suspected to have drowned last Sunday.

The distraught woman, Andrea Rennie, is calling on the authorities to close off the hazardous section of the beach. The area, known as River, has been the scene of numerous drownings over the years, including two in the past week. Locals have repeatedly warned visitors to swim in a river instead of the sea.

“[They] need to close off that place so that nobody else doesn’t drown in it… Nobody’s supposed to be going in that water, so tell the prime minister, Mr Andrew Holness, that he needs to do something about it,” Rennie said by telephone on Thursday.

“Coming down here and covering the story and putting it on the news ain’t going to solve the problem, so we need to get the authorities to close it off. Make my son be the last one [victim],” she added.

Lowe, a resident and mechanic of Endeavor district near Mile Gully in north-west Manchester is suspected to have drowned at the dangerous spot.

A police report said about 2:30 pm on Sunday, Lowe and his friends went swimming at a beach in Alligator Pond when he reportedly got into difficulties and was seen sinking underwater.

Efforts to recover his body, up to mid-afternoon Thursday, have so far been unsuccessful.

The incident follows last week Monday’s suspected drowning of Canadian Treveno Sutherland, 23, at Alligator Pond Beach.

A police report said around 5:30 pm Sutherland, a warehouse worker from Etobicoke in Ontario, and his family members visited the beach. While swimming, Sutherland encountered difficulties.

Police said he was rescued by a passer-by who attempted to resuscitate him, but all efforts failed. He was pronounced dead at the Mandeville Regional Hospital, about 18 miles from the beach.

In the meantime, the Jamaica Observer was told that Lowe relocated from his family home in Endeavor near Mile Gully and was working as an apprentice at a body shop in the Corporate Area.

Rennie is hoping that her son’s body will be recovered.

“Me as mother, in my position now, tell me what would you do? It’s been four days,” she said before breaking down in tears.

“Right now I have two other kids. I don’t know what to do right now,” she added.

Cassandra “Evette” Levy, who fostered Lowe, described the teen as respectful.

“I am his second mother. I am the one who raised him. Both of us [Levy and Rennie] are having it hard and the kids [Lowe’s siblings],” she said.

“Him have manners, if you come into the district, people will tell you he was quiet and humble,” she added.