On the eve of the fifth anniversary of the Campus Trendz tragedy in which six young women were killed when the Tudor Street boutique was firebombed during a robbery, the father of Renaldo Alleyne who is serving six concurrent life sentences for their deaths, is asking the families of the deceased for forgiveness on his son’s behalf.
“You feel it easy for he sitting down in that cell?” said the father who agreed to be interviewed by Barbados TODAY on condition that neither his name nor his address was mentioned.
“He asking for forgiveness all the time. It ain’t easy for he. All he telling himself is he should be home with he family.”
The sad dad said just as it has not been easy for the families of the deceased, it also has not been easy for him. He said he too was hurting and also living in fear because there are persons out there who are still angry over what his son had done. The father said he was also a target of blame.
On August 15, 2012, Alleyne, who had never been in trouble with the law prior to the Campus Trendz incident, was ordered to spend the rest of his life behind bars. He was given six concurrent life sentences for killing Pearl Cornelius, Shanna Griffith, Kellisha Olliviere, Tiffany Harding, Nikita Belgrave and Kelly-Ann Welch on September 3, 2010.
“He regret bad. He freedom take way you know. It is just as if he did dead too, although he still got life. All of he freedom tek way, don’t mind he might be eating and drinking. Deep down inside, I know he don’t feel good because he know that he commit a crime he shouldn’t commit, but he got to live with it,” the father told Barbados TODAY.
“He ain’t seeing outside again. He will live up in there until he dead . . .”
The 52-year-old father who visits his son at HMP Dodds whenever he is given the opportunity, said Alleyne has been on his best behaviour in prison and seemed to be abiding by the rules and regulations of the correctional facility. A talented artist, he spends lots of time expressing himself on paper.
“Every time I get the chance, I does go and look for [him]. That is all I can do. At first, it was really hard, but not now, because I got to live with it. It ain’t nothing more nobody could do. It done happen already and gone,” the father said.
The father said there were persons who occasionally have uttered harsh words to him and he expected this to continue for some time.
“Them does tell yuh, ‘you is to worry about the one you got in jail’. But I want them to know that jail ain’t make for he only, it make for everybody that commit an offence. Don’t condemn me nor don’t condemn my child because jail made for everyone of we out here,” he said.
The father, who said he advises Alleyne’s siblings every day not to make the same mistake as their brother, expressed concern about the recent rise in gun-related crime and the kind of guidance young people were receiving.
“It look to me like them doing it because them just don’t care until them get caught up, want mummy and daddy and then it too late,” he remarked.
“Them got the guns in them hand and feel them is a bad man and can’t even shoot, but them shooting the wrong people.
“Look at that teacher [Dwight Holder] fella. That life gone down the drain. Them feel like them more bad than the police but nobody ain’t more bad than the law. Them is bad boys and when the police come, them running,” he said in a passionate tone.
Standing in the same place he was five years ago when police came to take away his son, the father said that day would forever be etched on his mind. He recalled being among a group of men discussing the incident and angrily stating that he wanted badly for the perpetrators to be found, and justice for the families.
“I say I would really like to know who them is and whoever them is I would like police to try and hold them. I say police should put up a road block and go down on the blocks and check, not knowing it right home at my doorstep,” the father said.
The September 3 Foundation will be hosting a ceremony to mark the anniversary in Heroes Square, The City, at noon tomorrow when a minute of silence will be observed in memory of the six young women who perished in one of the island’s worst tragedies.