Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : August 1st 2016 Contents A7
Monday, August 1, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
Dangerous and powerful is how peo-
ple describe rising volleyball star, Kaylon
Cruickshank, 18, when they see her play.
"If you see her play, you bawl," her
mother, lifeguard, Roxanne Gomez said.
"She s dangerous with blocking and
spiking (smashing the ball very hard)."
Cruickshank, over six feet in height
and lanky, was voted best blocker at an
international tournament in the Domini-
can Republic recently.
Her team, the National Senior
Women s Volleyball Team, was the only
one in the Caribbean that made it to the
upcoming world finals.
After just four years in the sport, she
has an entire showcase of trophies,
medals and awards.
She s also very good in her schoolwork
and graduated with six subjects from
Bishop s East and has started a psychology
degree at the University of the West
Indies, St Augustine campus. Cruick-
shank, daughter of former national bas-
ketball player, Joel Cruickshank, is so
good at volleyball, she was selected by
Florida Atlantic university, which arranged
for her scholarship to be transferred to
Miami Dade Miami Dade College in Flori-
da, to do a four-year athletics programme,
majoring in physiotherapy.
But Cruickshank s journey to success
is also a journey of faith, one she embraces
Of Valencia, she is the eldest of five
daughters for her parents who are
Her mother maintains the family
mostly on her average lifeguard salary
and her father is part time construction
Cruickshank said she is grasping the
opportunity with only one goal in mind;
to be in a position to help out her four
"Hopefully, I will become a physio-
therapist when I am finished and I can
help out my sisters. There are so many
of us and things don t come so easily.
"One of my sisters, Aleya, 13, is fol-
lowing me close behind and is up for
selection for the National Under-16 net-
Gomez said, "I love my children and
I am trying my best to safeguard their
"But children in sports need things all
the time. Kaylon alone is a big weight.
If I have to borrow from money lenders
to help them, I do it."
Gomez said she borrowed from a
money lender to buy the ticket and uni-
form and pay for accommodation for her
daughter when she went to Mexico to
play volleyball with the national team.
Her mother s love for her daughters
has rubbed off on Cruickshank and she
has adopted a protective, motherly role
for her sisters. She was clear all she was
doing was for her sisters.
"I love my sisters and want the
best for them."
She said her mother works over-
time to take care of them and strug-
gled to build a modest two-bedroom
house for her family.
However, Cruickshank s dream
of helping her sisters may not come
true this year because her mother
has not been able to come up with
the money to send her off.
"She needs $7,800 for clothes
and other stuff. I want to send her
up with something too," Gomez said.
"But I have not been able to raise
the money in time."
Gomez said her daughter was
supposed to go on the scholarship
in 2017 but the college told her they
had an opening this year.
"They sent down their people to
Trinidad to meet Kaylon and arrange
everything and she has until August
25 to complete the admittance
Gomez said it has been difficult
to raise the money because she had
an injury in January this year and
was unable to work until June.
"I did not get paid for all those
months and the bills piled up."
She said when the college told
them there was an opening for her
daughter this year, she wrote letters
to the Sport Company, the Sangre
Grande Regional Corporation and
the area s councilor, Simone Gill.
She is still awaiting word from
them, she said.
"I went to various businesses
between Valencia and Sangre Grande
asking for help.
"Sometimes, as parents, you have
to ask for help for your children."
Gomez said two kind people gave
her $1,000 for which she is very
She said she decided to make a
public appeal and promised she will
not accept any more than the $7,800
her daughter needs.
Cruickshank, even though starting
her dream of becoming a physio-
therapist may not be realised right
now, remains confident, faithful and
"Everything I pray for, I get it.
Once it is something I need.
"I believe I will get through."
She is optimistic that if she does
not get to start her scholarship this
year she can do so next year.
• Anyone willing to help Kaylon
Cruickshank achieve her dream
can contact the family at 287-
7007 and 305-5017.
Money woes threaten to spoil US scholarship
Volleyball star stumped
Today, Austin Charles, a 60-
year-old public servant,
employed by the Ministry of
Works, faces homelessness for
the first time in his life.
Charles, who for the past six
years has resided in a Housing
Development Corporation (HDC)
apartment at Paradise Heights,
Morvant, was earlier this month
declared an illegal occupant and
given marching papers to vacate
He is expected to be booted out
this morning by the HDC unless
he gets a reprieve from the state
housing company or some good
Samaritan steps in.
"They sent a letter saying I
needed to leave the premises in
seven days and when I went to
query it. The person in charge was
too busy to see me and I was told
to leave the apartment or HDC
security would put me out,"
Charles told the Guardian in an
interview last week.
The apartment isn t in arrears
and was leased by his sister, Eliz-
abeth Isaac, for close to 40 years
before her death last year. How-
ever, the HDC says since Charles
name isn t on the lease for the
apartment, he cannot continue to
Charles made a decision to per-
manently move from his family s
home in Diego Martin to live with
his sister in 2011, shortly after she
was diagnosed with cancer. He
works as a carpenter at the min-
istry and is not married or have
In December 2015, Isaac died.
Later that month, Charles went
to the HDC with his sister s death
certificate and a letter requesting
that he continue living in the
rental unit, which he had been
paying for, for some time.
The clerk took the letter and
told him he would be notified
about the unit.
Charles continued paying rent
for the apartment, until March,
but when he went in to pay the
monthly fee the following month
he was told the account was
"So I asked what was going on.
They said they would again con-
HDC contacted Charles on July
16, through a letter he received in
the mail, addressed "Illegal Occu-
During a brief interview on Fri-
day, Housing Minister Randall
Mitchell advised Charles to go to
the HDC and make application
for the tenancy.
Mitchell noted that the legal
relationship between the HDC as
landlord and the tenant was gov-
erned by the lease agreement.
"According to the agreement,
tenants are not allowed to assign
or sublet their tenancies," Mitchell
He added that if the agreement
was terminated by the death of
the tenant or by either party, the
vacant property must be delivered
to the Corporation.
Hoping for a miracle
'Illegal' HDC tenant faces eviction
Volleyball champ Kaylon Cruickshank, left, and her sisters, Aleya,
Danielle, Jewil and Analeez outside their Valencia home.
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