by Curlan Campbell
- Carol Vazquez succumbed to a heart attack on 7 November
- Founder of Grenada Association of Retired Persons (GARP)
- Memorial service from 11 am on Monday, 23 November, at La Qua Brothers Funeral Home
A long-time advocate for the advancement of senior citizens in Grenada will be laid to rest on Monday, 23 November 2020.
Final arrangements are being made to honour Carol Vazquez, 70, founder of Grenada Association of Retired Persons (GARP), who succumbed to a heart attack on 7 November 2020.
Best known for her yeoman service towards the advancement in quality of life of retirees in Grenada through GARP, Carol Vazquez, a Trinidadian by birth, served in various fields. After starting her career in the field of nursing, specialising in geriatric care, in the United Kingdom, she relocated to Saudi Arabia where she worked for several years in administration before discovering her passion for human resource. She moved back to Grenada, where she was employed as Human Resource Manager for the Ramada chain of hotels and was promoted to Regional Director of Human Resource for the Renaissance group of hotels based in the Dominican Republic. But it was the experience of having to care for her ailing mother while employed as the Human Resources Director at the St George’s University (SGU), that inspired her vision to usher in positive social change for retirees and senior citizens throughout the length and breadth of Grenada through the formation of Grenada Association of Retired Persons (GARP) launched on 15 July 2011.
Tash Mitch, her only daughter, recounted the life of her mother by offering further insight into what inspired her to be an advocate for social change for senior citizens. Mitch stated that while Vazquez took care of her own mother, she witnessed a once strong, very opinionated and vibrant woman begin to deteriorate in her later years and it was then that she was moved to ensure that the type of meticulous care, pride, honouring and respect shown to her mother should be extended to all senior citizens.
Vazquez is said to have transitioned into the next life and now resides with the ancestors as it is a customary belief by people who prize and honour their West African roots.
“Because I am quite spiritual and my mother was quite spiritual, there is this connection that is always there, so it feels to me that she has taken a different form, but it also feels to me that the communication isn’t broken. So there is a sense of really mourning the absence of her or really feeling the absence of her and yet also feeling the presence of her,” said Mitch.
Under Vazquez’ stewardship, GARP instituted several initiatives to assist the elderly throughout various communities, including a food bank initiative to assist senior citizens, fundraisers and providing information, training and referral sessions on health, nutrition and financial security for members.
Known by many as a warm, friendly and deeply spiritual woman who held her Grenadian culture and African heritage in high regard, Vazquez’ funeral service will reflect her full life. Mitch said her mother’s lasting legacy would be her adoration for people and the importance she placed on forging stronger communities. Funeral attendees are encouraged to wear African colours in celebration of Vazquez’ life.
“I had to honour the woman that she is, the woman that she was and the woman she is yet to be and so I knew that it wasn’t going to be a mourning and wailing and wearing of black and grieving, but I knew it is going to be a celebration of a life that was very well lived and the honouring of a woman that touched me on every level. The funeral is for everyone to pay their respects. I would love if people wore colour, but I know this isn’t the norm, but my request is that people wear colour to celebrate the life and woman she was,” she said.
Long-standing committee member of GARP, Maudlin Williams, said the association would continue to ensure that the vision that founded the association is continued. On Saturday, 21 November, GARP members will stage an event called “An evening of Africa” in Vazquez’ honour at GARP headquarters. The event is expected to feature various aspects of the African experience: food, dance, cultural displays and presentations.
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