Anguish and horror at Layne’s passing
The voice of one of Barbados’ most prominent small farmers, social commentator and talk show contributor Vincent Layne has been silenced forever.
The body of the 66-year-old St Philip man was found in his car, which was parked on a cart road at Bushy Park in the same parish around 10 a.m. today.
Police said they were treating the death as unnatural, but reported that no marks of violence had been found on the body. Layne, the owner of Neil-Kirt Farms, was last seen leaving his Farm Road home around 8:30 a.m. yesterday.
Sadness and shock enveloped the community as the wails of his distressed wife Sandra pierced the morning calm, and stunned family and friends tried to make sense of his death.
Members of his Rhema Wesleyan Holiness Worship Church, of which Layne was a longstanding member, also assembled in their numbers to offer support. They had been planning a search party when news broke that the body had been found.
The Layne family is no stranger to tragedy. On August 30, 1995 their sons Neil, 15, and Kirt, 9, drowned in the muddy waters of a large pond on the property where Layne’s Farm Road home is located. The senior Layne, who was well known on call-in programmes, was said to have struggled to come to grips with the loss of his boys.
Though he had been slowed down by illness in recent times, his latest agriculture project was a tiered chassis home garden system that uses drip-irrigation, combining his metalwork skills and farming ability.
Canon Seibert Small, Rector of St Martins Anglican Church, St Philip had been Layne’s friend for three decades. Like many in the community, he travelled to the spot where the body was found.
A reflective Small described his deceased friend as one of the most brilliant men in Barbados.
“He was the one who produced the top black belly sheep. He would take that black belly sheep from what we would call a very poor quality and turn it into a very superior quality by way of his management and his feeding.
“And he developed his own feed using his own formula, and he was prepared to share it with those who were dear to him,” Small said.
The canon, who is also involved in farming, said while his friend continuously demonstrated that he was intelligent and consistently innovative, he was not afraid to take advice.
“He was pleasant, he was outspoken and not afraid to tell you how he felt. He would have done anything to see that agriculture in this country go back to where it was. Had he been given the support, you would have an indigenous entrepreneur,” Small said.
Daniel Mason, a member of the board of the Rhema Wesleyan Holiness Worship Church said Layne
generously contributed copies of his CD, Little Christian Women, to the church’s fundraising efforts.
“We are shocked and we are hurting because one of our members is not here anymore,” Mason said.
Meantime, Member of Parliament for St Philip West and Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick said he too was
saddened by the death of a man he had known his entire life.
Dr Estwick recalled that Layne was an industrious individual who had a keen interest in business and politics and who was known to “always call it the way he saw it” but refused to hold a grudge.
“I will always remember his introduction on the call-in programmes. Irrespective of which party is in power, he would say what he thinks is working and what is not working and so on,” Dr Estwick said.
“I knew that he was ailing in that he had a private conversation with me in my capacity as a doctor first and then later on in my capacity as his Parliamentary Representative and a friend he has known all his life. But I never expected that the ending would be in the way that it occurred,” the Minister said.