Gunmen killed my son too
By Rachael Espinet Friday, August 23 2013
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Distraught granny: Two women rush to hold up Yvonne Lewis, left, who was overcome with grief at the funeral of her murdered teenage grandson Sean Lewi...
Almost a year to the day when Reverend Dianne Edwards Belfour buried her own son, Joel Bodkin, 29, who was shot dead, she had to lay to rest another young boy lost to gun violence.
The funeral service that Belfour held was for 17-year-old Sean “Biscuit” Lewis Jr at Samuel David Simpson Memorial Funeral Chapel, Laventille yesterday.
Lewis was murdered last Wednesday when he was fixing a car on Trotman Street, Laventille. He was one of three teenagers killed in separate shootings in Port-of-Spain and environs that day. Two men approached him, and after a brief conversation with Lewis they pulled out guns and opened fire on the teenager. He died on the spot.
“September would have been one year since I lost my son. He died just like ‘Seanie’. I just pray that parents get their children together and they pray to Jesus, so that we can get things back in order,” she said.
This funeral was particularly difficult on Belfour as Lewis was murdered mere feet away from the funeral home, and she was one of the first people who saw his bullet-riddled body.
“He died right across the road from us. When I saw his body lying there, it was terrible. It is terrible. It is senseless. It is like their lives were of no consequence,” she said.
Belfour wiped her tears as she spoke to Newsday. While she has had to officiate at many funeral services in the past, she said this one touched her as she was very close to Lewis’ family. “He used to come home by me and say, ‘Aunty what’s for lunch?’ I was like his adopted aunt, and he should not have gone like that,” she said.
During her sermon, Belfour said the cycle of violence would be perpetuated because of “children having children”. Belfour called on communities to take action to help in raising responsible children so that they do not turn into criminals.
“When you have a child raising a child, then you will see vipers made. What can a child teach a child but childish things? There are no adults around to help. That is why we need communities,” she said. When asked what was her stance on the resumption of hanging, Belfour said she could not say but she felt, “Something must be done.”
“I cannot say whether or not hanging is the solution, but something must be done. It is really out of hand.”
The small funeral home was filled to its capacity with mourners. Many had to listen to the service from outside the building under a tent. Lewis’ relatives were clad in either white or blue shirts that said, “In Loving Memory of Sean Leighton Lewis Jr.”
Before his eulogy, Sean Lewis Snr had to compose himself and dry his eyes. While he wiped away tears, he was able to describe his son as a “miserable” but loving person.
“Anyone who met my son just fell in love with him. I used to ask him what he used to do to get so many to love him. He just said, ‘I don’t know daddy. People just love me,’” Lewis Snr said.
Lewis Snr described the pain he and his family felt for the loss of his son as someone clawing out their hearts with their bare hands. Lewis’ mother, Wendy Francois, sat hunched over in her seat and cried. The entire family maintained their composure until the casket was opened revealing Lewis’ body.