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By Leiselle Maraj Monday, April 25 2011
Published in Newsday

Carib Queen Valentina Medina passed away at her home on Saturday after battling cancer for the past three years. She was 77 years old.

She has been the Carib Queen of the community in Santa Rosa for the past ten years. May 6 this year would have been her 78th birthday and marked her 11th year as Queen.

Medina’s daughter, Lauretta Grant told Newsday yesterday the Queen passed away at her home at Mt Pleasant, Arima, at about 3.20pm on Saturday surrounded by her children and close family who lived nearby.

She said her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer three years ago and although she removed the cancerous growth, the disease spread to the rest of her body. A few days ago, Grant said, her mother visited the doctor who informed her that the cancer spread to her bones.

The queen was unable to attend several functions within the past year due to her illness. Grant said her mother was ashamed to be seen looking so frail after she lost so much weight due to illness.

Her last appearance was at a function for the feast of Santa Rosa last August.

“She was in a lot of pain then. My mother suffered a lot with her illness but she died peacefully and we were all with her,” she said.

The family is currently making funeral arrangements but Grant said there may not be a service before Thursday.

“She was very close with Senator Pennelope Beckles and my mother asked her to read her eulogy but she would not be in the country until Wednesday,” Grant explained.

The community now has to choose a new Queen. Grant said while she was not sure of the exact process, the community will have to hold a meeting and choose three women who meet the requirements to be Queen. The community then votes and the person with the most votes is declared the new Queen.

Medina leaves to mourn Grant and her three sons, grandchildren and great grandchildren. According to a media release from the office of Arima Mayor, Ghassan Youseph, she was the mother of five children, one daughter and four sons.

“On behalf of all Arimians, as well as the executive and staff of the Arima Borough Corporation, the Mayor and Council extend heartfelt sympathies to the Carib community on their loss,” the release stated.

Also sending condolences is the political party, the Congress of the People. In a separate media release, COP noted Medina’s passing is a great loss to the members of the Carib community and the wider citizenry.

“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,” the release stated.

COP called on Government to work with the new Carib leadership and honour her so she will be known by future generations.

President of the Santa Rosa community, Ricardo Bharath Hernandez could not be reached for comment.

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