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Feb 17, 2020

Is There Foul Play in the Apparent Drowning Death of Roy Grinage?

Roy Kendrick Grinage

A Saint Matthews resident is dead after he apparently drowned while attempting to cross the Belize River. Roy Grinage, an employee of Santander, was heading home on Saturday afternoon and tried to swim across the river but didn’t make it. His family says that while the investigation is still underway and they are yet to receive the official cause of death, they have reasons to believe that he may have died under suspicious circumstances. Here’s the story with Andrea Polanco.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

Roy Kendrick Grinage, a twenty-nine-year-old employee of Santander, reportedly drowned while swimming across the Belize River. According to reports, Grinage finished working on Saturday afternoon, sometime between eleven-thirty and twelve midday, and he was swimming across the river to cross to go home when he died. An employee reportedly ran to help him but it was too late. Grinage was pronounced dead on arrival at the Western Regional Hospital. Grinage’s family doesn’t believe that he simply drowned. They suspect that there may be more to his death.


On the Phone: Karina Grinage, Sister of the Deceased

“We don’t believe he just drowned. We believe that there is foul play in this. Knowing the person my brother was, he was a fit person. He was healthy and very active. For him to just drown, it is kinda far-fetched. We are not saying it is impossible but we are questioning the cause of his drowning.”


Andrea Polanco

“Was he able to swim, Ms. Grinage?”


On the Phone: Karina Grinage

“He was an excellent swimmer. He worked along with tourists off season from Santander, where he swam with tourists on the cave tours. He also had training while he was a volunteer B.D.F. to swim with his weapon and shoes, fully-clothed. He wasn’t just a good swimmer. He was an excellent swimmer.”


So, why was Grinage swimming across the river? Well, it’s how the employees get to and from work at Santander which is located behind More Tomorrow Village. Today, for instance, we are by the river where Grinage drowned over the weekend. It’s just before midday and those men on the other side are workers are waiting to take that skiff. One by one they pile into the boat and are ferried over to the other river bank in two minutes or so.  On this side of the river bank, a work bus and their personal means of transportation are parked. This is routine for the workers – one that Grinage knows well, having worked at Santander for the past three years. But on Saturday, when Grinage was ready to head, that boat was not there, that’s according to police.  His family, however, says that they were informed that the boat was there but refused to take Grinage across and that prompted his decision to swim across.


On the Phone: Karina Grinage

“At the riverside, there is a boat that there is to ferry workers to and from across the river. That day, it is told to us that the boat didn’t want to take him over because he was by himself. This is what is being told to us and we don’t know if that is true. Either way, that boat was there to carry workers across and apparently that boat didn’t take my brother over. So, the reason why he was in that water isn’t because he wanted to swim over and couldn’t swim over. He had no reason to be in that water while there was a boat provided there and the span of water isn’t that far. It took less than two or three minutes to reach from each side. So, it is not something to say that he will get tired of waiting and just decide to swim over.”


Andrea Polanco

“So that boat was right there when he was drowning?”


On the Phone: Karina Grinage

“Yes. Yes. To me, if this man that operates the boat sees someone drowning and it is an employee of that place, why didn’t he radio for help or try to reach out? For him to be like, ‘Oh he drowned’ just like that without any assistance, that in itself is screaming to you that something went wrong.”


Andrea Polanco

“Did Roy ever share with you if there’s any problem; an argument at work; anything that bothered him at all there?”


On the Phone: Karina Grinage

“In the past he had shared with us that he had unrest with another supervisor there and some of the other employees. They even went to the point to sabotage his transportation more than one time from there.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, I would imagine that as could make you guys think that there may be another explanation for what happened to him?”


On the Phone: Karina Grinage

“Definitely! Definitely.”


In our conversation with the family today, they noted that the post-mortem hasn’t been conducted so they haven’t received an official cause of death, although they were told it is suspected that Roy Grinage drowned on Saturday. Today, police shared the official details as gathered by Roaring Creek cops when they were called out to the scene around twelve-thirty Saturday afternoon.


Joseph Myvett

ACP Joseph Myvett, Head, National Crimes Investigation Branch

“What the police know so far is that shortly after midday, Mr. Grinage reported off duty from Santander where he is a tractor operator where he proceeded to the riverside. There is usually a boat there that crosses them across the river, however, upon his arrival alone, the vessel was not there and he decided to swim across, where upon some fifteen feet into his swimming, he apparently was suffering some problems and he submerged under water. One of his co-workers, David Esquivel, who was coming a few minutes behind him saw him struggling and in the process he jumped in the water and swam towards him in order to try and rescue him. Upon getting to Grinage, he was able to pull him back to the northern banks of the river where he was already motionless. He tried to perform CPR but that was not able to revive Mr. Grinage. Police have visited the area. Several statements have been recorded from those persons and an investigation is ongoing at this time.”


Roy Grinage worked with Santander for three years as a seasonal worker. He was a tractor operator and was notified of a work promotion just a few weeks ago. His family says that he participated in a three-day work training last week before he died on Saturday. Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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