24 April 2011

Carib Queen Medina dies.

Carib Queen Medina dies.
By Renuka Singh
Trinidad Express Newspapers | Story Created: Apr 24, 2011 at 10:55 PM ECT

Carib Queen Valentina Medina passed away yesterday.

After years of battling breast cancer, Medina succumbed to complications of the disease at her Arima home.

At 78, Medina stood as Carib Queen for almost 11 years, her daughter, Loretta Grant, 56, said in a brief telephone interview yesterday.

"As it was Easter, we were either praying for a miracle or for her suffering to end," she said.

"She had suffered enough," she said.

Grant said her mother and grandmother were involved in the Carib Community most of their lives, so her mother's ascension to the royal title was no surprise.

"You had to either be a virgin or someone who was living a clean married life," Grant explained.

Grant said she was not a member of the community, so the line ended with her mother.

She said Medina's doctors warned them that she would take a turn for the worse and asked them to spend time with her.

"That is why when she passed away all her family and close friends were there in the house with her. During her last days, though, very few people from the Carib Community visited her. I know it hurt her and it hurt me too, but the Arima Mayor (Ghassan Youseph) visited the family to pay his respects," she said.

The family is hoping to have the funeral for Medina on Thursday, but Grant said they were still working out the logistics before they could formally fix a date.

Chief of the Santa Rosa Carib Community Ricardo Hernandez-Bharath, who saw Medina just before her passing, said she had served her community well.

"Once the funeral date is announced, we will be able to work out the details but there will definitely be an indigenous service on the day of the funeral," Hernandez-Bharath said in a telephone interview yesterday.

In one month the Carib Council will also meet to discuss the appointment of a new Queen, as Medina did not name her successor, as is the tradition.

The funeral ritual will include a smoke ceremony with special incense and which includes the use of particular herbs woven into fans.

A pink and white flag, one of the flags used during the Santa Rosa Festival and typically used when a female dies, will be draped on Medina's grave, symbolising the continuation of all that she held up in victory during her life.

Political leader of the Congress of the People Winston Dookeran described Medina's death as" a great loss to the members of the Carib Community, and the wider citizenry of our beloved country Trinidad and Tobago".

"Queen Medina, queen for the past 11 years, represented the purity and soul of our First People. She worked assiduously to promote the philosophy and history of the great Carib community. Even though she was soft spoken she always made her passionate views heard. She epitomised the concept of religious and cultural diversity in Trinidad and Tobago, a feature for which she was well known," a release from the party stated.

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