For Quesnel it is a slow but steady process as he seeks to defy the odds and walk again after almost being killed when a pirogue struck him and his girlfriend, Spanish-national Ana Carolina Barry-Laso while they were bathing at the Pigeon Point Beach on June 12, 2007.
Yesterday, Justice Judith Jones ruled against the Tobago House of Assembly (THA), Pigeon Point Heritage Park Ltd — which manages and controls facilities at Pigeon Point for the THA — and the Attorney General, saying they were in breach of ensuring that visitors to the park were protected.
Although not immediately awarding damages in favour of Quesnel and Barry-Laso, Justice Jones has adjourned the case to November 17, to deal with issue.
Chad Quesnel, Yanick’s uncle who was present in court for the judgment, said it was a “good step forward.”
“There are still other hurdles to cross. We now have to deal with the assessment of damages,” he said.
“It is a victory not only for Yanick, but it lays out in no uncertain terms, the responsibility of all operators of facilities such as Pigeon Point, and this could extend to Trinidad as well.
“The ruling sets out the duty of operators to provide adequate care and protection for users of the facility, and if anyone finds themselves in a similar unfortunate position, now they know they can stand up against these operators. It was really a precedent setting ruling,” Quesnel told Newsday in an interview after the judgment was delivered.
Of Yanick’s progress, Quesnel said he is working on regaining strength to his lower back, and is adamant that he will soon walk again.
“He is a fighter and someone of amazing character. He is also an example for other people at the (NeuroXcel) facility as well. He touches everybody he comes into contact with in an amazing way,” Quesnel said.
The younger Quesnel and Barry-Laso, who were both 17 years old at the time of the incident, suffered severe head injuries and multiple broken bones.They had to be airlifted from Tobago to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital, after a pirogue ran over them while they were bathing at Pigeon Point.
The two were both students at the United World College in Costa Rica, and were on vacation in Tobago in 2007.
The boat collision left Quesnel paralysed, with multiple head injuries, including lacerations at the midline of his scalp and temporal areas, and a midline depressed skull fracture. He also suffered from haemorrhage of the brain and paralysis. Barry-Laso also sustained head injuries, including a cranial fracture and punctured brain membrane. She suffered paralysis of the left side of her body, laceration of the corner of the right eye to below the right ear, two compound fractures on her right arm and nerve damage to the upper right arm resulting in paralysis of the right thumb, ring and small fingers.