The former captain of Presentation College, San Fernando football team now turned professional league player, Akeem Marshall, is now sharing space in an emergency relief shelter with several other families who were displaced by the devastating floods of last week.
Marshall, 21, who now plays in the position of a striker for the Police Football Club (PFC) lost all his football gears, and has not been able to attend training sessions since the disaster. Marshall, a Special Reserve Police (SRP) officer has been playing with PFC for the past two years. Marshall’s father, Marvin Faustin is a former national footballer.
Marshall, his mother Rhonda and brother Adisa, ten, have been staying at the Gasparillo Composite School since last Monday. The family lost everything in the flood which swept through their apartment in Bonne Aventure, Gasparillo one week ago. The Guaracara River runs behind their two-storey home. Water covered the entire building when the river burst its banks.
Marshall said, “I have lost everything — all my football gears, cherished trophies and medals, everything just disappeared in the water. My mother and brother also lost all, including his new school books and uniform. Adisa enters Standard Three at the Gasparillo Government Primary School when it re-opens in September.”
He said like several others, his family no longer has a place to call home, and is in desperate need of relocation.
“Staying at a shelter is not very comfortable — not a nice experience at all.”
Marshall told Newsday the extent of damage done to the apartment cannot be reversed at this time.
“You would not like to see inside the house. There is no way we can occupy the apartment at this time as the silt that was left behind is too much to clean. The truth is that we have nowhere to live right now.”
He said his club has given him time off to get his life together.
“My career has definitely been affected, but I’ve spoken to my coach and they are very understanding, and have given me time off.” He said he hoped he could be back on his feet in time to resume training in the professional league which starts October 5.
Concerned for her son’s career, his mother Rhonda begged for the intervention of FIFA vice president and Works Minister Jack Warner, to help relocate the family.
“I know he can help,” she said.
“So far his colleagues from the police and army have chipped in to help him with clothes.”
Rhonda said she never planned “to spend summer” this way.
“I don’t mope around when is vacation time — there is always somewhere to go with my two sons in the summer. We can’t go anywhere because we have nothing.”
Life in the shelter, Rhonda said, has many challenges and “it is like living in a convent — you have to sleep in long pants. You have to get up early in the morning — you don’t have proper meals; it is just too much.”
Rhonda said she visited the offices of the Housing Development Corporation (HDC) yesterday but did not receive a favourable answer.
She added, “I applied years ago for a home, so my name is there. I wish now they could come to the rescue of my family, because we were told that we will have to leave the shelter very soon.”
In a recent interview during a tour of flood affected Harmony Hall, Gasparillo, Managing Director of HDC, Jearlean John, promised victims that temporary accommodation had been identified for flood victims.
North East make a Police donation.
North East Stars Media.
DIRECTV North East Stars and one of their partners, Sports & Games offered their support to flood victim, Akeem Marshall before the final of the Lucozade Shield on Friday. 21 year old striker, Marshall has played for Police F.C.
His families apartment in Bonne Aventure, Gasparillo, was flooded when the Guaracara River burst its banks flooding the entire building. The family lost all of their possessions including Akeem's football equipment. Marshall, a Special Reserve Police Officer, said his family is now homeless at the moment and were forced to live in an emergency shelter.
North East Stars C.E.O. Brent Sancho presented a new pair of Lotto football boots, donated by Sports & Games, one of the teams sponsors. T&T Digicel Pro League C.E.O., Dexter Skeene accepted the boots on behalf of Akeem before the Lucozade Shield Final, which North East Stars won 1-0 against San Juan Jabloteh.
Sancho said " We saw the sad news about Akeem's situation and wanted to help in some small way. Football boots are are players tools of the trade, so we felt it appropriate to ensure he can continue his career." Sancho said he spoke to Omar Hadeed at Sports & Games, who had no hesitation in donating the boots. "
Sports & Games, like all of our business partners are keen to support North East in our community work. We are grateful to Omar for his generosity and hope this helps Akeem in some small way. The teams and players in the Pro League are a family, and we need to ensure that we support each other as much as possible."
Sancho was delighted with North Easts victory, bringing the team their first trophy since 2003. "We've come a long way since Kevin Jeffery and I reformed the team in February "said Sancho. "
This trophy belongs to all of our players, staff, supporters and sponsors, and, of course our president, Daryll Mahabir. I just hope that our players will get opportunities to represent their country. Sean Fraser should be considered for the Jamaican squad, and I know Russell was watching tonight, so I hope he takes a closer look at some of our boys."