Hartford community mourns old man's killing

March 17, 2016
Clement Blake Photo/Contributed

“It’s like a piece of the puzzle is gone and you can’t find the missing piece to fit or replace it.”
This is the only way 35-year-old Shania Smith could describe the emptiness she now feels after her grandfather, Clement Blake, was hit and killed by a motorcar which allegedly being driven by a police officer in Westmoreland on Monday.

Smith said her family, as well as the Hartford community, is shaken by the death of the 89-year-old retired cane farmer.

“We are taking it very hard. He wasn’t sick, he didn’t have any sugar [diabetes] or any other illness. Based on the circumstances surrounding his death we are all still in shock,” Smith said.

According to Smith, her grandfather was pushing his motorbike on his way to get petrol when a blue Honda Civic car hit him and propelled him some distance. He died on the spot.

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), the body charged to probe instances of abuse by security officers, has launched an investigation into the incident.

The bereaved family and the Hartford community hope justice will prevail for the man all of them could look to in times of need.

“He was a grandfather to everyone in the community. He was like the breadbasket to the community. He would always have some banana, pumpkin, yam, corn, peas or other ground provision to give anyone who visits,” Smith recalled.

Blake fathered 11 children, though he was only the biological father of five. Smith remembers her grandfather as a devoted family man and a spiritual individual.

“He was always jovial and he loves us. He would always be picking things from his garden to give us,” Smith recalled.

Blake’s last daughter, Desire Blake, told THE STAR that she was too grief stricken to say much about her father.

“Well, I’m crying a lot because I didn’t expect that [his death], but we’re hanging on,” she said.

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