Dominica, which is said to have the highest number of centenarians per capita in the world, in March of this year increased its tally of living centenarians to 27, but sadly within the past three months, four of the island’s gems have passed away, decreasing the count to 23.
The first to leave this year was Mona Lestrade better known as “Ma Mona ” of the community of Mon Rachette.
Born on July 25th 1920, she passed away on April 21, 2021, just three months before celebrating her 101st birthday.
On May 24, 2021, the nation learned of the passing of 105-year-old Andrea Valerie from the second town of Portsmouth who was born on December 15, 1915.
Less than a month later, the community of Fond St. Jean and the Dominica Council on Ageing (DCOA) was left to mourn the death of yet another centenarian.
Despite her preparations to celebrate her 101 birthday in the upcoming weeks, Ann Lavinier who was born on July 25, 1920, died on June 02, 2021.
Within that same month, the family of George Tavenier, originally from Scotts Head but resided in Goodwill(federation drive), also informed of his passing on June 28th, 2021.
The most recent centenarian to pass away was Born on November 4th 1918 and lived to the ripe age of 103.
Expressing her thoughts on the deaths of these individuals, reelected president of the DCOA Ophelia Marie, noted that the news of their passing comes with mixed emotions, mainly good ones, as she and other members of the council have developed a personal relationship with each centenarian.
“I get to know them through the various visits at Christmas time and their birthday and when they just go, it is really a sad moment. But still,we are grateful that they were here with us for 100 years and more and it makes us appreciate those who are still around,” she stated to Dominica News Online (DNO).
Marie further added, “We also learn to appreciate the work that they did because all of them were hard workers we have several musicians and seamstresses around so it’s a heritage and a legacy that we have to appreciate and embrace and that for me, even the time when they die is a time for us to stop and pay attention to their contribution to the development of our country.”
While expressing delight that none of the elderly has passed away from the COVID-19 pandemic, she called on the public to build a greater relationship with the seniors in their community.
According to her, a lot of the centenarians are very lucid and enjoy telling the stories of their lives and what contributed to their longevity and enjoy visits from members of the community.
“Even if we have to socially distance ourselves from the elderly we should visit them, bring them fruits and local food, pray with them, they enjoy singing, we can call them, stop by to say hello even if we don’t stay for too long, but we have to show them that we appreciate them,” she encouraged.
During the year 2020, a total of 9 centenarians passed away.
At present, Anastasie maggie Charles of Wesley and Elizabeth Augustine of Crayfish River share the position of being the oldest people on island at the age of 107.