The Lights Are On But No One's At Home.

Man suspected of beating boy to death over homework.
By Jensen LaVende
Trinidad Express Newspapers | Jan 20, 2012 at 9:49 PM ECT

POLICE are probing the death of a six-year-old Laventille boy who was reportedly beaten to death by a male relative for not doing his homework.

Homicide detectives were up to late last night at Herman Scott Road, taking witness statements and searching for clues at the home where Josiah Governor lived with his 22-year-old mother and the male relative.

According to neighbours, the frail child would be constantly beaten by the 25-year-old relative and for not doing well academically with one neighbour saying that the suspect was a "bright boy" and the child was a slow learner.

"What that child could do to get licks like that?" one neighbour asked as members of the media spoke to neighbours who gathered near a parlour discussing the matter.

They said they were accustomed to hearing the child's screams, but no one ever intervened.

Lystra Salazar, a neighbour, said one time she threw a big stone on the roof of the home because she was tired of hearing the child screams.

"Them living here years now and he accustomed beating the child. One time I wanted to call the police but my mister tell me no. Last time I couldn't take it and throw a big stone on the roof," Salazar said.

Another neighbour who wished not be named said she would normally hear the child and the child's mother "bawling" but never thought to intervene because she "not getting in man and woman business".

Police said the child was taken to the Besson Street Police Station around 3 p.m. yesterday by the two adults who asked that the child be taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital. The officers who noticed the child was unconscious rushed the child to the hospital where he was reported dead on arrival.

Officers believed the child was beaten with a blunt object as there were several marks about his body. The child was brought to the station, police say, wrapped in a piece of cloth.

Police are awaiting autopsy results before determining whether the killing can be classified as a murder. The couple are assisting police with their investigations.
Sometimes, I am really sorry for us and what we have become. Aided ably over time by those who have had the power to contribute significantly to setting the tone and direction of our society, we are now all hapless children it seems. Every time there is another injustice, the babies begin to howl and wail in their cradles. No one responds out of genuine concern, and if they do, the concern has a time limit of three seconds. The babies continue to fuss, perhaps adding some coughs and frantic kicking for effect. If there is a response, we are told either to shut up and stop making noise or to direct our complaints to the previous caretakers. If a slap upside the head can be executed without leaving much of a mark, the hot spots are the targets of choice. An equally careless caretaker may throw us a pacifier coated with something sweet but injurious or sing us some vapid lullaby composed on the fly about what Santa will bring us if we don't pout. Most of us eventually cry ourselves to sleep with feverish brows, tear-stained cheeks and with rum or an unfinished prayer on our lips...six of one, half a dozen of the other, some may say.

Battered woman syndrome be damned! I am not waiting for the results of any autopsy. I charge you all with murder - woman, man and neighbours.

I am remembering the story about Sabrina Lalla-Mitchell and how she was stabbed to death to the rhythm of her co-workers' cowardice and her "husband's" rage. Same story, but this time the lifeless body is that of a tiny broken dove, another frail, defenseless child who did not have a fighting chance against the blows of an adult.

On three occasions in T&T, I was present when crimes were in progress and I did not stand by. I didn't even have the option of simply making an anonymous phone call to the police. People asked me after the first occasion if I was not afraid that my face would be "marked", meaning remembered by the criminal for later retaliation. That thought had not even crossed my mind when I had intervened and if the opportunity were to present itself again, I would not think twice to jump in. These neighbours however, sat on this situation for a period of months if not longer and enjoyed the sweet luxury of:

- witnessing that the child was frail and would be constantly beaten for homework and playing too much SOURCE
- becoming accustomed to hearing the screams of both the child and the mother
- growing tired of hearing the child screams
- observing the child “flying” through the window of the home before landing on the rocky ground almost 12 feet below SOURCE
- choosing deliberately not to intervene
- assessing that the suspect was a "bright boy" and the child was a slow learner
- musing about what that child could do to get licks like that
- recalling wistfully that "one time" they had ALMOST called the police
- pretending that a mister's "No" has ever stopped a woman from doing what she is determined to do.
- choosing to communicate jungle style, despite, I am sure, having possession of more than one cellphone, by lobbing a big warning stone onto the roof of the house of horrors
- mumbling about the travesty of interfering in "man and woman business."
- congregating AFTER the fact near a parlour to discuss the matter as a community.
- deciding only AFTER the death that the male relative would not be welcomed there anymore. Apparently the relative had crossed a line by killing the child. Before that his abuse could be tolerated by all. "You can’t kill little children and women. That not right." SOURCE

Who named this child? Who valued this soul enough when he came into this world to name him so beautifully? For Christians, this name, Josiah, is not a frivolous name. This name coming from the Hebrew literally means "healed by Yahweh" or "supported of Yahweh." Where was Yahweh, you may ask, when His child was being pummeled to death? He was persistently in the ears and voices and the hearts and the hands and the bodies of the community of persons who are now pretending that they did not know what God expected of them. They were fully aware of that child's distress and chose not to come to his assistance.

This is not God's handiwork. It is society's.

This is not Mr. Gibbs' doing, although by the time the murder statistics come out for the first quarter, most would have forgotten, or will choose to ignore the fact that this murder, as well as many others included, can be traced directly back to our own sins of omission and commission in the formation of our children. It is more convenient to put the blame on the Commissioner, even more laughable in this instance because Mr. Gibbs was imported from another society. Perhaps if we must blame him, we ought to accuse him of not hiring a team of ace psychics who can predict when and where every crime will occur in T&T so that the police officers can arrive on the scene an hour before instead of after. But we remain babies and babies, you see, cannot be expected to fathom such complexities. They just need their excreta to be removed and their bellies to be filled in a timely manner.

Josiah was another test and we FAILED! His mute, dead body lies as our conviction and punishment.

I still love you T&T but you have to take the lead, I mean, YOU, the people. You will be respected only as much as you respect yourselves.

Some time ago, Minister for Youth and Gender Affairs, Verna St Rose-Greaves announced her Gatekeepers Initiative. In the scheme, twenty persons "from each of Santa Cruz and Covigne Road, Diego Martin, would be trained as “Gatekeepers” on a new $3.2 million, three-year pilot project. They would become the “eyes and ears of their communities”." SOURCE

So much and too late for Josiah, but Minister St Rose-Greaves, while other communities wait for formal training, couldn't your office, together with the Police Service organise some informal community meetings using the social wardens throughout the country to remind people about how they can and must try to make a difference when they observe that their neighbours are at risk? It seems ridiculous that we should have to be taught how to find ways to love each other but for better or for worse, this is the world in which we are to be tested.

"Me Today, You Tomorrow." By Shadow | Uploaded by cool4rocknroll | Lyrics

"Patria est communis omnium parens" - Our native land is the common parent of us all. Keep it beautiful, make it even more so.

Blessed is all of creation
Blessed be my beautiful people
Blessed be the day of our awakening
Blessed is my country
Blessed are her patient hills.Mweh ka allay!Guanaguanare