Grief-stricken mum condems son's killing
The mother of 21-year-old Ashem Telemaque of Brittons Hill, St Michael who died on Wednesday morning at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) where he was being treated for a gunshot wound to the head wants justice for her son, and the guns off the streets.
Police are continuing their investigations into the circumstances surrounding the young man’s death. Telemaque was shot in the area of the Pump-it-up Bar, at Fordes Road, St Michael around 12:45 p.m. on August 4.
With a heavy heart, his grieving mother Maria Telemaque told Barbados TODAY while sitting at her home surrounded by loved ones this evening, that her son was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong friends.
“Anybody would want justice if something like this had happened to their child. Even if it wasn’t my child, justice should be served,” said the mother, who said she was struggling to come to grips with the ordeal.
She assured that the young adult did not have any criminal record, but indicated that she often warned him about the company he kept and places he went.
“Anytime a mother care for a child who would venture to a block, a mother would speak if she loves her child, whether it is a minor or older. If you care, you would say, ‘I don’t like you cross there’. He was not in anything as far as I know.
“He wasn’t known in the area as any bad boy but, but wrong place, wrong time, wrong friends. If I had a child that was known and wanted and was a radical to society, I didn’t going to polish up for he because it didn’t gine mek no sense to me,” she said.
Before a bullet interrupted his life, the former St Paul’s Primary School and St Leonard’s Secondary student was awaiting a call for a job. But he kept himself occupied in the meantime by working on a horse farm as he aspired to become a jockey.
The mother reported that members in the community, especially those who knew Ashem, were rocked by the tragedy and were questioning why such a “mannerly and polite young man” was snatched from them at such a young age and in such a violent manner.
Still traumatized by the episode, Telemaque said she had not eaten properly since the shooting. She told Barbados TODAY her knowledge of the incident came from another victim who was shot at the same time. She said the 48-year- old man, whose name was not released by the police, explained that several of them were at the shop watching television when masked men approached the location and started shooting. The group quickly dispersed but Ashem, who was asleep at the time, was hit in the head by a stray bullet.
The distressed mother recalled that she had fallen asleep while her son was preparing to go out. Hours later, she was awakened by a resident with the devastating news.
“As a parent I numb. Me, the father and the grandmother everyday we went to the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, then he was transferred to ward B7 and we went everyday. It was hard.
“It is hard to see your child in a ward hook up to all kind of machines breathing for him. It is hard to realize that the damages done to your child got he can’t speak, one side of he brain dead,” said the shaken woman.
“It can’t be a good feeling for a mother, who knows it feels it.”
She said it was also extremely difficult for one of Ashem’s younger siblings, who cried uncontrollably when he was told of his older brother would not be coming home.
“Because the last words Shem told him the Monday night before he left was that ‘I going and come back’, she said. Recently, Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite,
Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith and leaders of the church all expressed concerns about the level of gun violence in Barbados.
Telemaque agreed that something must be done to stop illegal firearms from coming into the island.
“Families being hurt. Right now, I loss my first born, my two other children loss a big brother, his grandmother loss a grandson, his cousins loss a cousin and it is hurting. I now have to look to bury my child,” cried out Telemaque who buried her brother four months ago.
The atmosphere in some parts of Brittons Hill has changed since that shooting, one of Ashem’s cousins said in the background.
“It happen and the whole Brittons Hill community is so shock. People ain’t even coming outside no more because people can’t deal with it. It tearing up everybody that knew Shem as a person. Shem and I were like brother and sister,” said the cousin who did not give her name.
The mother did not want to have a picture taken and denied a request by Barbados TODAY for a photograph of her son.