By Hazel Francis, Communications Officer@Ministry of Tourism/NTV8 Nevis
“The most painful goodbyes are the ones that are never said and never explained…!” (Anon)
“Ike, Ike” was Vern’s unique sound and style of greeting his colleagues and friends.
Monday January 19 was a gloomy, heart-rending day for me, and even more devastating for his immediate family, friends, his staff family at the Department of Information, and the entire Nevis Island Administration.
A terrible tragic accident shortened his young life on his way back to work at Bath Hotel. We were plunged into instant grief; our hearts ached with pain as we tried to unravel the circumstances that took him so soon.
A sudden power outage interrupted my preparation of scripts for our next episode of” on the Tourism Trail.” The afternoon was so still, so calm, a cock was crowing lowly outside our office window and within minutes I was informed of an accident below the Primary School.
I received the news that it was Vern. As I rushed to the scene, one of my co-workers gave me the sad news. I stayed at the scene until the hearse from Elliott’s Funeral home drove away with his remains, and the tears flowed.
it was an extremely difficult afternoon.
I will always remember him as a fun-loving human being, extraordinarily creative, meticulous, reliable, dedicated, and committed.
I remember him as a member of the Cadet Corp of which my son was also a member and they became friends.
He came to NTV8 in his final years of 6th form college while we operated at Pinneys.
enthusiastic and excited to learn and to challenge himself taking on new projects all by himself.
He learned quickly and within one week he was editing the news with little or no supervision.
He was a reliable, dedicated and efficient media colleague.
Over the years Vern has had a very stable presence, working with me for news items, special reports, events, ceremonies, pageant promos, interviews, vox pops and editing the news.
More recently on my return to the department and having transferred to the Ministry of Tourism, our relationship became even closer professionally.
In November, the Ministry of Tourism began a stimulating new television series called On The Tourism Trail”. We were excited to begin production and partnering with us were our co-workers from NTV8.
Vern was assigned videographer and video editor.
But more than that, he assumed all the roles to ensure that the production was of the highest standard to win the approval of our audiences.
Vern’s gentle and humble demeanour, genuine love for his work, island and always eager to try new things is evident in his approach to every activity that we were producing.
I remember asking him to show me the basics of his quick editing technique so that i can help him.
His response was “so when me show you now, me no have no wuk and you no need me for you show no more.” Such was his passion for his work.
We produced six episodes for broadcast and completed tapings for eight. The footage of the Oualie Beach Resort was our last filming together on Thursday Jan 15.
We were having lunch at the Oualie Beach Resort when he shared some of his plans for this year. He told me that he received a scholarship offer and would leave in the summer for college. I encouraged him to grab the opportunity because I was confident that he would Ace every course and bring back to Nevis even more exceptional skills.
Vern had many talents, he was technologically savvy and had a great love for music.
A Nevisian talent gone too soon.
Today as I do these reflections, I also bring condolences on behalf of the many individuals in the tourism sector whom we had the pleasure of visiting and filming over the last few months.
“Greif ia like the ocean: it comes in waves, ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim….” (Vicki Harrison) Missing you, Vern… on the tourism trail.
May his soul rest in eternal peace.