Yeni Carolina Gaviria Romero (front row, second left) and her friend Paola Sandoval (left) attending the memorial service for Alexandria Gaviria, the Colombian woman who fell victim to homicide on June 25.
ST. EUSTATIUS–On Friday evening around 6:00, a memorial service was held at the Roman Catholic Church for the late Colombian woman Alexandria Gaviria (24), who was found dead in a residence on Blijden Road in Concordia on June 25. Her partner was arrested on suspicion of murder/manslaughter. Gaviria’s sister Yeni Carolina Gaviria Romero was present for the service. She arrived on St. Eustatius on Friday morning with her friend Paola Sandoval. During the service, Jose Golindano spoke first on behalf of those who knew Alexandria Gaviria, and expressed his deepest condolences to her family.
He said Alexandria was a beautiful, kind, cheerful and friendly person, who always smiled. “She was only a short time on the island, but she was such a beautiful person we remember here today,” he said.
On behalf of the family, he expressed appreciation to everyone who demonstrated their support during their time of sorrow. He asked everyone present to remember Alexandra in their prayers and to never forget her.
“Let us keep her memories alive as we remember her life. May God grant her eternal, perpetual peace and rest,” he closed off by saying.
Brother Ricardo Fortin conducted the service, as Father De Jong is off island at the moment. Fortin was assisted by Sisters Ingrid Whitfield and Reina Lijfrock.
Island Councilman Clyde van Putten expressed condolences on behalf of the Island Government and the people of Statia.
He said he was deeply shocked and saddened when he was awakened by the news of the young woman’s violent death while he was out of the country.
“Even though she was here for a short time, she was a very cheerful person who wanted to know more about Statia and its people. This was a very unfortunate situation. This community in which we are living is not frozen in time, we are living in a changing world. We as Government condemn this act, and we find it deeply unfortunate that the young lady lost her life.”
Van Putten said he had called on the Prosecutor’s Office to ensure that justice be done for this young lady. “We want to convey our sincere condolences to your family. Weeping may endure for the night, but joy comes in the morning,” he concluded in saying.
Ilka Schmidt spoke on behalf of Butterfly Tours N Travel and Otalora Santiago who had combined their efforts to raise funds to help the family transport the body to Colombia for burial. She said this was a sad situation, but she was encouraged that the community came together to support the family.
She expressed thanks on behalf of Santiago to the workers of Tampa Tanks, NuStar workers, GEC N.V., Bethel Methodist Church, Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Roman Catholic Church, the Royal Marechaussee, and residents of Statia and Saba.
Schmidt said they collected US $6,319, which was spent to cover the cost of US $4,500 at the funeral home. Some of the remaining funds were used to purchase an airplane ticket to Statia for the deceased’s sister, and to pay for her stay at a hotel. The remaining funds will go to the family.
Just before her departure at F.D. Roosevelt Airport on Saturday afternoon, Yeni Carolina Gaviria Romero said she was “amazed” at how heart-warming the people of Statia have been. She said she was happy having been able to see the love the people of Statia have shown to her in the short time she has been on the island.
“Statia’s people are the best in the world. They have made us feel as if we were still at home. Thank you, and God Bless you all,” she said.