Andrew Peter says he’s trying to keep “a cool head’’ as he and his family deal with a senseless tragedy.
His father, Colin, of Guernsey Cove died from injuries he sustained when he and his wife were attacked while walking on the beach in Saint Lucia in the Caribbean last week.
Colin, 75, and his wife, Gwen Peter, were out for a walk on Thursday when they were approached by a man who attacked the couple and stole items from Colin.
“My father got accosted Thursday afternoon on a beach and knocked down,’’ Andrew Peter told The Guardian Wednesday.
“The guy hit him with a stick over the head. Basically he was in the hospital over the weekend (in Saint Lucia) and he succumbed to (his injuries) Monday night.’’
Andrew Peter calls it a “crime of opportunity’’. He said the attacker stole his father’s wallet and the bag Colin was carrying which contained his camera.
Vernon Francois, the commissioner of police in Saint Lucia, told the CBC “we have a suspect which we are pursuing at this point and time but the last update I had he was not apprehended as yet’’.
Repeated attempts to reach the police commissioner were unsuccessful on Wednesday.
Lorne Theophilus, minister of tourism in Saint Lucia, said the person responsible will feel the full force of the law.
"There aren't words to express the outrage felt by the government over this incident,'' Theophilus told DBS TV.
Foreign Affairs Canada told The Guardian Wednesday that it wouldn’t be releasing details on the crime “out of respect for the family and to protect the privacy for the individuals concerned.”
The federal government advises people to exercise a high degree of caution in Saint Lucia due to, among other factors, “moderate crime rates.’’
Andrew Peter, who lives in Cape Bear Road, said his mother was still receiving treatment at the Victoria Hospital on Wednesday.
“She is being treated like royalty down there by everybody so she is OK, for now.’’
Colin Peter was well known in Montague. He ran Montague Office Supplies and The Source (formerly Radio Shack) in the Down East Mall.
Merrill Scott, who used to work at Touch of Gold in the mall, said he spent 20 years working beside Colin Peter.
“It must be more than 20 years. It seems like forever. A long, long while,’’ Scott said. “We always chatted and you’d help each other out. He was a good man, a super business fellow.’’
Andrew Peter said he and his siblings — his sister Jill Cobley, who lives with her husband in England, and his brother, Robbie, who lives near Guernsey Cove — are flying down to Saint Lucia on Saturday for the cremation and private funeral.
“The guy hit him with a stick over the head. Basically he was in the hospital over the weekend (in Saint Lucia) and he succumbed to (his injuries) Monday night,’’ - Andrew Peter
“Then we’re going to bring him home from there with my mother.’’
Andrew Peter said they will probably organize something for friends and family on P.E.I. when they return.
“We’re going to do something, (probably) a memorial where people can come and say ‘Hi and thank you’.’’
Colin and Gwen Peter went down to Saint Lucia two weeks ago on a genealogy mission where they were “doing some ancestry . . . trying to trace another limb of the tree’’.
Andrew Peter said he’s holding it together, for now.
“I’m used to processing things. I was in the navy for nine years. I was down in the Falkland (Islands). I have a solution to every problem, almost.
“I’ll probably grieve badly when I see my mother down there. I’m holding it back for now. I’m coordinating and moving things through and I have to keep a cool head.’’