Jamaican man killed by crocodile while trying to earn school money for kids

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(Jamaica Observer) People who knew Wilford Edmondson say that he was a good father — a man who would spare no effort to provide for his wife and children.

That he was killed on Sunday doing just that, made the pain of his loss more unbearable for his family and friends.

Edmondson, who was also known as Alfred, was fishing in Hellshire Pond, St Catherine with friends about 9:15 am when he was attacked and killed by a crocodile.

The reptile, the Jamaica Observer was told, took the 67-year-old into the mangrove and inflicted wounds to his head.

According to Edmondson’s wife, Carlene, he had gone fishing hoping for a good catch to sell in order to earn money to send his children to school when the new academic year opens next week.

“Him have him customers who him go sell fish,” Carlene explained, adding that she was doing her laundry when a fellow fisherman came to the house at Smith Lane in Newlands and told her of the tragedy.

“Him say ‘A you me come to, enuh’,” she related.

“Him say ‘Alfred…’ me say ‘Alfred not here’. Him say ‘Crocodile gone with him’. I was astonished. It took me a good while, so me say, ‘How you mean crocodile gone with him?’ Him say him see Alfred in the water and him a bawl out fi help and him go fi go help him and the crocodile hit him and scrape up him foot, so he had to let him (Alfred) go. Him say him hold on to him to pull him and the crocodile a pull the foot them, so he had to let him go,” she said.

According to Carlene, her husband had been fishing for more than 30 years. However, he would do just about any job in order to provide for his family.

“Is not a lazy man. Him burn coal, him build house, any little thing you call on him to do, he’s there,” she said. “The man nuh mek him family hungry. He’s a good father; him love him kids.”

Edmondson’s only daughter, 18-year-old Kemona, who fought hard to hold back tears, spoke of her father’s dedication to his family.

“If he’s to find it the hard way to ensure that his children go to school and have food, he’s going to find it. He’s not the type of person who would sit down and don’t care,” she told the Observer.

“When I was in 11 grade he could not provide the school fee one time, but him go one, one until he paid it off,” the Heart Trust/NTA student said.

Edmondson’s youngest son, Kemarley, who will be attending Bridgeport High School next week, broke down in tears as he explained that his father was a loving dad.

Pauline McCalla remembered Edmondson as a good neighbour.

“You can ask him any favour, he is so good. Him reason with you good and him ever a say him a go look food for his family. Him never sit down like them careless people, him always out doing his thing a look money for his family,” said McCalla, who explained that she was on her way home from church when she received news of the Edmondson’s death.

Another neighbour, 78-year-old Edna Wright, said she last spoke with Edmondson last week.

“I asked him what happen to the fish them and him say to me ‘the water get bad’, just like that,” the senior citizen said, her voice cracking.

Still another neighbour, Noreen Josephs, echoed similar sentiments.

“I know him for years; he’s a hard-working man. Him burn him coal, catch him fish, do him mason work. Hardly stay home, always up and out, always hard-working man,” Josephs said.

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