The Ministry of Sport and Community Development has confirmed that it is working with the family of late T&T Olympian, Deon Lendore to help bring his body home.
This follows a request made by Lendore’s mother Chrispina Edmund in an exclusive interview with Guardian Media on Thursday.
The Ministry said yesterday that it has been in close communication with the family of the late athlete.
“We are working hand in hand with the T&T Olympic Committee and the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs, and all relevant arms of the state have been fully mobilized to ensure that the family’s wishes are respected and implemented as soon as possible,” the Ministry said in a statement.
Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne also confirmed that they are working with the family with an aim of meeting their request.
“We have been guiding his sister (identified by the family as the coordinator) through the repatriation process, and providing all possible support. I have been speaking personally with her, as well as to TTOC (Trinidad and Tobago Olympic Committee) President Brian Lewis to ensure that the process goes smoothly and that the wishes of the family are fully implemented,” Browne told Guardian Media yesterday.
He added: “Our Mission in Miami has been mobilized to maintain communication with Deon’s coach and the Texas A&M officials who have all been extremely helpful and eager to support the repatriation and related processes. This matter is moving forward and the Minister of Sport (Shamfa) Cudjoe continues to be instrumental in ensuring that every possible avenue of assistance is put in place.”
Browne acknowledged that it is a very difficult time for the family but said the government and other key stakeholders are “fully committed to doing our part to support them at this time”.
He said, “I must pay special tribute to Deon’s sister Leah who has been a rock of maturity and calm even whilst dealing with the emotional challenges that must affect a family dealing with tragedy whilst under the public glare. I must also note that the people of Arima have been wonderful in their support and comfort to the family and to all those within the wider community who have been devastated by this sad and untimely loss.”
Meanwhile, a spokesman for the family told Guardian Media that things are progressing very slowly but surely, as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs takes the lead in ensuring that the body of Deon Lendore is returned to this country for a final farewell.
The spokesman said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been doing “an excellent job in coordinating the process and is getting the required cooperation from the coach and the university”.
“Hopefully they will get it done by next week and will have an idea when the body will come home,” he said.
Guardian Media was told that the university has been in touch with Lendore’s mother to get her permission to have a memorial service for the young athlete and she has given them permission to host the memorial. The spokesperson said many athletes who ran with Lendore from the Caribbean and around the world had been in touch and have been rallying around the family at this time.
Lendore’s mother, according to the spokesman, is “happy that things are on track to bring Deon’s body home.”
According to the spokesman, they are now looking at a venue for the funeral and at this time consideration is being given to the funeral being held at the Arima Velodrome.
The spokesman said the family is being supported by members of the council, Members of Parliament and the TTOC as well as the community which has rallied around them at this time.
Lendore died in a vehicular accident on Monday.
He was a three-time Olympian who anchored T&T to a bronze in the men’s 4x400 metres relay at the 2012 London Games in England. He also claimed two World Indoor 400m bronze medals in Birmingham, England in 2018 and 2016 in Portland, USA, also bagging a bronze in the 4x400m.