Popular football referee dies in boating accident

The Cayman Islands sporting community has been plunged into mourning following the death of Emmanuel Brown, a former footballer and beloved referee, in a boating accident Sunday night (11 August).

Brown, better known as ‘Manny’, was one of two fatalities after a collision involving two boats in the North Sound, which the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service (RCIPS) said happened shortly before 10:00pm.

The RCIPS indicated the three people on one of the vessels made it to shore, having escaped serious injury. However, two occupants – a man and a woman – from the other vessel were found aboard the boat that they were travelling on, which sustained significant damage. The woman on board, later identified as Shamilia Wright, who is also a football referee, was taken to the Cayman Islands Hospital for treatment. The man was unresponsive and was subsequently pronounced dead.

Rescuers were unable to find Brown and called off their search shortly after 4:00am Monday due to poor visibility before resuming it during daylight hours.

Brown (left) receiving his certificate after a FIFA referee’s course.

Brown’s body was eventually discovered, as he was confirmed as the second person to die as a result of the crash. At the time of writing, the RCIPS had not confirmed the identity of the other person who died.

“Words cannot express the grief that the Cayman Islands Referees Association [CIRA] is feeling this evening with the horrendous loss of life of longtime referee Emmanuel Brown and the critical injury of referee Shamilia Wright in this tragedy,” CIRA President Derrick Williams stated in a note to Cayman Sports Buzz.

“We are all mourning today and for some time to come. But we must remember our brother Manny as he was: a great friend, a great father, a great referee and a great MAN (tears),” he concluded.

Cayman Islands Football Association President Alfredo Whittaker, a former referee, recalled Brown as a friend, who was always upbeat.

“The death of Emmanuel Brown is not only a shocker. It’s devastating news as a friend, as a referee colleague, as a football family member. It’s very difficult to swallow and believe,” he told Cayman Sports Buzz

“I really don’t have words to explain the sadness, the pain that I’m feeling. He’s been my friend for many, many years. My condolences to his family. May his soul rest in peace.”

Social media and messaging apps were flooded with shock as word spread about what happened, with many friends and former teammates expressing disbelief and extending condolences.

Brown receiving an official’s medal after a local cup final from CIFA Dep. General Secretary Wendy Fisher.

Brown had served as a police officer and a businessman, who operated the Jungle Float water attraction at Star Fish Point. He was 49 years-old.

Cayman Sports Buzz joins in extending condolences to Brown’s family, including his children.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.