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Marchers pay final tribute to the late Pascal Delalosa

page1aMARIGOT--Some 300-400 persons dressed in white took part in a sombre anti-violence march through Marigot on Saturday morning in memory of Pascal Delalosa, the First Déco salesman murdered in his apartment last Monday night, despite his repeated warnings to authorities that he feared for his own life.

According to First Déco management, there were no family members or partner of Delalosa present for the march. He lived alone in St. Martin, but has an elderly mother living in France. First Déco is making arrangements in cooperation with the mother to have the body repatriated.

The number of participants in the march, mostly friends and colleagues, was testament to Delalosa's popularity and underscored the fact this was an innocent, non-confrontational victim who simply believed in peace and friendship, but whose life was undeservedly cut short.

Elected officials seen joining the marchers included First Vice-President Daniel Gibbs, Opposition Leader Alain Richardson, Opposition Councillor Guillaume Arnell, and a few other councillors.

One marcher, a St. Martiner called Derrick, often seen frequenting the tourism office parking area, was credited by other marchers for helping Pascal get to his apartment safely at nights.

The march followed a circuit around Marigot via Rue de Lowtown and began from First Déco, where a giant poster of Pascal was posted above the entrance.

The march paused outside the Marina Royale apartments, where participants looked up to his second floor apartment in homage. It was too much to bear for one lady, said to be a colleague of Pascal, who fainted on the spot and had to be treated by a doctor.

As marchers continued walking along Rue Kennedy and towards the cemetery, many held photos of Pascal while the lead group carried posters of Pascal that read "My good friends—stay strong."

Motorists and members of the public deposited money into a collection box carried at the front of the march to help to pay expenses.

Marchers turned right at the cemetery onto Boulevard de France, but first stopped for moment opposite a bar that Pascal frequented regularly before continuing on towards Hotel de La Collectivité.

As the march halted at the rear of Hotel de la Collectivité, the crowd spontaneously cried out "Pascal, Pascal, Pascal!" to get the attention of President Frantz Gumbs, who was at the time assisting with a wedding.

Marchers became increasingly agitated waiting for President Gumbs to emerge, some commenting why a wedding should have more importance over the death of Pascal.

Finally, coming out to address the crowd, Gumbs attempted to console the marchers by offering sympathy, saying the Collectivité is making a big effort in terms of prevention, but reminded security is still a shared responsibility between Collectivité and State.

His words were then drowned out by angry reactions from the crowd. "This is the third white march in three years since 2008 and always the same speech. What do you have to say about that?" screamed one woman.

"What about the lighting in Marigot that was promised?" shouted another man.

Despite some members of the crowd venting their anger at what they perceived is inaction by authorities to control the crime situation, the march continued peacefully to a conclusion at First Déco.

One despondent woman carrying a placard reading, "Louvier—Where is the justice?" (referring to Prosecutor Louvier), said: "The Collectivité never does enough and is incapable of doing enough. The Collectivité just looks after itself. I don't know where government officials live, but obviously not in the real St. Martin."

Said another; "The authorities killed Pascal, because they did nothing to prevent this happening. They knew he was in danger."

Referring to statements by the Préfet that figures show a reduction in criminal activity, Opposition Leader Alain Richardson commented; "This is not about figures. This is about that sense or feeling of safety that people have. Now we are seeing a life being taken in one's own home, not on the street.

"The fact that the victim expressed to Gendarmes he was feeling threatened and nothing was done, and that we have to wait for a life to be taken to do anything about it is totally unacceptable. I'm appealing to the Préfet not to hide behind figures, but to address the reality of how afraid the people are."

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