Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : July 28th 2015 Contents A10
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, July 28, 2015
From a distance he looks like any other
driver but on closer inspection, it becomes
clear how much Kerwin Thomas has had
to adapt to what hundreds of thousands
of Trinidadians take for granted, driving
The driver s seat has been replaced by
a wheelchair and some of the simple con-
trols by his own gadgetry.
It has been ten years since Thomas was
able to walk.
"I am originally from Port-of-Spain. I
went to school in Port-of-Spain, the city
boy life," Thomas said. "I started from
humble beginnings never one day expecting
that I would be paralysed."
The day that changed his life ten years
ago was one like any other. He was hanging
out at his friend s house in Laventille, when
armed robbers invaded.
"I was robbed and shot and it was from
there my life went spiralling out of control,"
He lay in hospital for about three weeks
not knowing his fate and not knowing,
yet, that he would never walk again.
"The doctors told me one day that I
would not be able to walk and the hospital
could not do much more for me," he
"Getting that kind of news, a lot of
things ran through my mind. I would not
be able to work, or even to go back to
school. Also I had two children to take
"The news impacted me and I did not
know what was my way forward, how was
I to regroup from this."
The incident, at 24, changed his life.
"It was not easy. I had so much planned
out for my life before the ordeal.
"It took a lot of strength out of me.
Things ran through my mind. I thought
it was over. I thought I could not have
moved on from here."
The transition to a new life once he left
the hospital was terrifying for Thomas but
his religious beliefs were his salvation.
"We serve a great and mighty God and
even at that time when my back was
against the bed facing the heavens, God
actually used this opportunity," Thomas
"Even the ability to speak was a blessing.
This inspired me to pursue a certificate in
broadcasting," he said.
"Since then I have been on many inter-
views at stations but being a broadcaster
is my passion now."
Thomas is now married and lives in
Valencia where he is playing an integral
role in his community as a youth and com-
"Being part of the youth s lives in my
area has even pushed me further to pursue
a certificate in guidance and counselling
from the University of the West Indies,"
"This skill enabled me to help many of
the youths in the area overcome chal-
"I have held many community events.
When people see who is behind the events
they are shocked. However, I have seen so
much success in impacting the lives of the
many youths in my area, especially with
the upsurge in crime and gang activity."
Employment has been a challenge for
Thomas. He has invested in a car which
he uses to transport children from the
community to school. He also has a min-
imart at his home that is making it possible
to provide for his family.
"After about just under an hour I learned
how to use the mechanism which controls
the pedals and that was it. I have not
stopped driving since."
Thomas has aspirations of expanding
to a fleet of vehicles and wants to provide
his transport services to many children in
"I hope one day to become the voice
for the voiceless. I want to become an
advocate for people with disabilities," he
"I get many calls from all across the
country and hearing the many problems
that disabled citizens are faced with and
nothing is put in place to assist.
"I want to be that change."
Kerwin's long walk back
Kerwin Thomas speaks
during an interview.
Dead or alive...
Three weeks after he went missing, relatives
of Dave Cooper are appealing to his abductors
to let them know whether he is alive or dead.
"Give us a body or give him to us alive," his
cousin Gerald Hodge said.
In an interview yesterday, Cooper s sister,
Denise, also appealed to anyone who may have
information: "If you don t want to come to us,
go to the police.
Denise said the Anti-Kidnapping Unit had
taken a statement from the family "but that
is it. No one is coming, no one is telling us
anything but we are just continuing to pray."
Hodge said after three weeks the uncertainty
of his welfare was too much for his family to
cope with. He said Cooper s elderly father had
stopped eating and talking and had to make
regular visits to the doctor.
Cooper, 47, was reportedly kidnapped from
his Morne Diablo home on July 4, one week
after his life was threatened by residents who
claimed he was a police informer.
Hodge said while they were facing the harsh
reality that Cooper may no longer be among
the living, without a body, they are still holding
on to a glimmer of hope that he may turn up
He added: "If by this time he has not sur-
faced, it is hardly likely that the person (s) who
abducted him may have kept him alive. I mean
we still have to hope against hope but if you
have to face reality, it is hardly likely that he
"But we want to know where he is, what
happened to him. Even if it is a body we have
to get, we want that, for closure.
"If we do not see a body part it would mean
that we would have to go on for years expecting
that one day he will just turn up. That is too
difficult for this family to cope with."
Cooper, a father of 12 and grandfather of
seven, operated a straightening and painting
shop at his home.
Denise, who lives nearby, said he left their
family s home on July 3 but the next morning
someone alerted them that the glass pane to
his front door was broken and his back door
was forced open.
Hodge said they have searched everywhere
but he has not been seen since.
Family of missing
man wants a body
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