PEOPLE ADVANTAGE MY BOYS
By CAROL MATROO and Rachael Espinet Tuesday, June 3 2014
A single mother for the past nine years, Michelle Holder, did her best to keep her four children clothed, fed, and safe under one roof.
However, that roof did not keep her sons Jamal Brathwaite, 15, and Jadel Holder, nine, any safer than any gun-prone area.
It was first reported that the brothers, of Petunia Drive, Morvant, were shot in the head execution style. However, Holder said she had just finished cooking a Sunday lunch of lentils, rice and stewed chicken. Jamal was shot while eating his meal.
“I did not see them being shot. I was upstairs when I hear they let off the last bullets. When I thought they gone, I start calling my son and I was not hearing him. Same time my nephew’s big son come and I asked him to go downstairs. When he came back the expression on his face, I know something happen,” Holder wept. She had just returned from viewing her sons’ bodies at the Forensic Science Centre, St James.
Holder said while some described Jamal as a “pest”, she said he was led astray by bad influences.
“People advantage our children from young...that little boy got caught up in the system because of advantage. Boys will be boys, they will be miserable,” Holder admitted, but lamented Jadel had not yet started to live his life before it was so brutally ended.
The boys’ father, Jama, died years ago from cancer while Jadel was still a baby, so he never had a father figure, Holder said.
The distraught mother dismissed claims that Jadel did not attend school, displaying his school copy books and his monogrammed school shirts. He was a student of Morvant New Government Primary School.
“His last play was Friday, I used to work there at the school. He would leave with me in the morning,” she said of Jadel.
“Jamal was kinda slow and got caught up with bad influence,” Holder said.
But, she maintained her sons did nothing wrong to be murdered.
“My child didn’t do nothing. People around here too wicked minded, they know nothing about God. Some people stand out in a community and people just don’t like a family and take advantage of them,” Holder said.
Earlier at the Forensic Science Centre for the autopsies yesterday, the boys’ aunt who preferred to remain anonymous told Newsday she was unhappy about media reports that her nine-year-old nephew was a pest. “This child was not a school dropout, he was innocent,” she said. She said they called Jadel “king eater” and a baby because he ate everything in sight.
The aunt revealed he liked to talk about his looks and his clothes, and was always talking about how he would get a “big work” and take care of his mother.
“He was a very happy child,” she insisted.
As to Jamal, the aunt believes “he just got caught up in the system due to circumstances,” but she insisted Jamal was a good boy.” Although Jamal did drop out from school because he was a slow learner, he wanted to make something of his life.
She said he had plans to attend classes at the Civilian Conservation Corps when he came of age.
The aunt concluded the area where the boys lived contributed to what happened to them, adding that as far as she was told, the boys were downstairs of their home eating Sunday lunch.
“Those killers have no love and they do not know love,” she said. “It is so sad to say that he was a drop out, he is not tall enough, he is not big enough, who is he going to rob? If someone like baby (Jadel) came to rob you, you will hit him two slaps.”