Warrant Officer Andre Gabb, 45, of the Belize Defence Force, is still weak but on the road to recovery at the Queen Elizabeth hospital in Bridgetown, Barbados, after an angry microbus driver stabbed him in the heart in the Black Rock area two miles north of Bridgetown, the capital of Barbados last Friday night, May 17.
The knife penetrated Andre’s heart and he lost 13 pints of blood and he was put on life support after he underwent emergency surgery.
His wife, Mrs. Shelmadine Gabb, flew to Barbados to be by his side on Tuesday, May 21, courtesy of the Caribbean Defence Pact’s Regional Security System (RSS), where Gabb has been stationed for the past year.
Bertha Gabb, his mother, and Dorian Gabb, his younger brother, accompanied Shelmadine.
Andre’s brother, Dwight Gabb, told the Reporter that his mother said Andre was conscious and talking.
Dwight said Thursday that his brother has begun to show much improvements and should be allowed to travel in six week’s time. It is expected that Andre will be released from the hospital as early as next week Monday.
Bertha and Dorian are scheduled to return home in a fortnight, but Shelmadine will remain by Andre’s side until he is well enough to return home. Andre’s tour of duty in Barbados was almost up as he was scheduled to come home in early July.
The Gabbs have a daughter, 7, and a one year-old son who remain in the care of their maternal grandmother while their parents are away.
Barbados’ police have Gabb’s assailant, 25-year-old Jabarie Kemar King, of Haynesville, St. James, in custody and have charged him with serious bodily harm, the only charge for such an offence, since the Barbados’ criminal code does not have a charge of attempted murder.
According to Gabb’s cousin Rene Montero, who was with him at the time of the attack, the micro-bus driver took offence to the fact that Gabb and the other Belizeans in their company were speaking in Creole, which identified them as foreigners.
The micro-bus is the Barbadian equivalent of Belize’s dollar-taxi vans, which area called “zedars”.
Montero said they had taken the zedar to go to a nearby supermarket to buy food to prepare for dinner.
Montero reports that when the Belizeans got out of the micro-bus, the driver insulted them saying he would like to kill them, and demanding to know what they were doing in his country, because foreigners when they come to Barbados like to do as they please.
He punctuated his words by throwing two bottles at them, one of which landed at the feet of Andre who needed no further provocation. Andre got into a struggle with the driver, who then pulled out a knife and stabbed Andre in the chest.
To put the incident in context, Barbados is a small but crowded island.
It measures 166 square miles, much smaller than Belize’s 8,800 square miles.
Barbados is about six times bigger than Ambergris Caye, which is 25 miles long by one mile wide, but it has almost the same population as Belize, over 288,000 at last count.
Of these, 90 percent area of Afro-Caribbean descent, and with 288,000 people competing for jobs on this tiny island.
The natives have reportedly developed a certain resentment for a small but growing community of Guyanese immigrants, whose way of speaking English sounds rather like Belizean Creole.
The R.S.S. helps the regional security forces with training in drug interdiction, riot control, disaster response and relief.