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'The best sister anyone could ask for' - Community holds candlelight vigil for Jamaican family killed in Italy bridge collapse

Published:Thursday | August 23, 2018 | 12:00 AMJanet Silvera/ Senior Gleaner Writer
Karesha Lewis lights a candle in honour of her family killed in the Italy bridge collapse, during a candlelight ceremony at Gulumba in Sheffield, Westmoreland on Wednesday night.


In the midst of tragedy, there is love, and this was evidenced by the kilometres of candles that residents of Orange Street (Gulumba), Sheffield, in Westmoreland, lit along the roadway leading into their community on Wednesday night.

In a candlelight ceremony befitting royalty, the community paid tribute to Dawna Munroe, her daughter, Crystal, and husband Cristian Cecala, who were crushed to death when a bridge they were driving across collapsed in Genoa, Italy, last week Tuesday.

The family of three were cremated on Wednesday, days after they were identified via DNA tests. A thanksgiving service celebrating their lives was held in Italy. The family expects to transport their remains to Jamaica for another service in their honour.

On Wednesday night, immense sadness blanketed the community as the family and residents dealt with the grief.

"We are still in shock," remarked Akela Lewis, Munroe's youngest sibling, completing her sentence with what was obvious, "Dawna was the best sister anyone could ask for."

The two sisters spoke regularly via WhatsApp, at least every two days, and Munroe, the eldest of five girls for her mom, planned on spending this Christmas with her family in Jamaica.




While Akela's solemn tone became hushed, an aunt of Munroe's had to be consoled by another sibling. Her mother remained in hospital in the United States, still reeling from the effects of the deaths, while her grandfather was holed up in his room at their Westmoreland home still unable to grasp reality.

"It come een like somebody a read a story to me. I never expected this to happen to my family," exclaimed Karesha Lewis, another sister of the deceased.

Admitting that she has had to resort to a shot of Vodka each night in order to sleep since her sister's death, Karesha stared long and hard as the hurt in her voice took over.

Munroe and her daughter moved to the European country nine years ago, where they joined Cecala, who she met in Negril while working in the resort town as a waitress.

The three, who family members say were inseparable, were en route to Livorno to take a ferry to the island of Elba, where they planned on vacationing, when the Morandi motorway they were on collapsed.

The incident has seen many families blaming the Italian government for faulty infra-structure, resulting in the collapse of the motorway.