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St Martin’s Form 2, Class of 2008, told in a few years, half of them would be in prison and the other half would be dead

St Martin’s Form 2, Class of 2008, told in a few years, half  of them would be in prison and the other half would be dead


A Hollywood blockbuster movie, Final Destination, shows death itself pursuing a specific group of persons and claiming their lives no matter how much they try to evade the grim reaper.

Now, for one group of local students, a similar phenomenon seems to be pursuing them, as an uncharacteristically high number of them {{more}}have met untimely deaths or have been caught up in violent activities.

A few years ago, a teacher at the St Martin’s Secondary School (SMSS) commented to a class of about 40 boys that their behaviour was so appalling that he was of the opinion that in a few years, half of them would be in prison and the other half would be dead.

Now, in 2016, while the number predicted is not quite at half, a disturbingly high number of the boys in that class are indeed dead, while two, have in the past spent time at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP), remanded for murder.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a local disc jockey who was a member of that class said that the words uttered by the teacher came back fresh in his mind when police officer 602 Giovanni Charles was stabbed and killed at a fair in Belmont on Monday, May 2. Coincidentally, PC Charles was a member of the fateful class.

“We were the class of 2008 and somewhere around Form Two a teacher told us that we would be dead or in prison in a few years; we were miserable and unruly,” said the young DJ, who revealed that over the years, a number of the members of that class have kept in touch through various means, including WhatsApp.

Listing his friends from that era of his schooling that have met so-called untimely ends and alleged to have been involved in serious violent incidents, the popular DJ pointed out that Devon Ambris was charged in the stabbing death of Fitzroy ‘Poison’ Browne and Marshall Hadaway was charged in connection with the shooting death of Cuthbert ‘Cutty’ May. Dead are Lisbon Lavia, Agassi Fraser, Carlos George and police officer Giovanni Charles.

So, how did these guys die and how did two of them end up charged for murder?

In 2009, Devon Ambris was sent to Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP), for eight years. Ambris, 18-years-old at the time, pleaded guilty on May 20, 2009, at the High Court in Kingstown, for causing the death of Fitzroy ‘Poison’ Browne on April 7, 2008. Ambris was initially charged with murder, but later pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

At about 6:55 p.m. on April 7, 2008, the deceased and his friends, Ryiecia Sprott and Wade Durrant, were at the bus stop just outside the Peace Memorial Hall. While there, an argument broke out between the deceased and several young men. The deceased was pushed over a wall and beaten by the young men. Browne, 31, received a total of 10 stab wounds about his body. It is said that the argument began over a young lady.

Ambris has since been released from HMP and has left the country.

Cuthbert “Cutty” May, succumbed to a single gunshot wound to the left side of his back, while playing dominoes on October 13, 2009 in Rose Place. It was reported that a masked gunman approached May and shot him from a distance of about 20 feet. May ran to the nearby Milton Cato Memorial Hospital (MCMH) where he later died.

Two men, Marshall Hadaway and Raffique Dopwell were later charged with May’s murder. Hadaway and Dopwell were later freed of the murder charge. Hadaway’s name surfaced during the 2016 General Elections in relation to an explicit voice note that involved a local politician and a young lady. Unconfirmed reports are that Hadaway was in a relationship with the young lady heard in the voice note engaging in phone sex. He has since left the country. Coincidentally, May was also a student of the SMSS.

On December 19, 2010, 20-year-old Lisbon Lavia of Sandy Bay, succumbed to multiple stab and chop wounds about his body. Lavia was fatally wounded at Heritage Square. The police later charged four persons, Nigel Thomas, 19, Mesopotamia, Shanroy Browne, 18, Cane End, Romeal Diamond, 16, student of Mesopotamia and Jevon Hamlet, 18, student of Cane End.

The charge against Thomas was dismissed at the Serious Offences Court in 2011, while the other three men were released at the High Court a few months later.

Lavia’s case was recently highlighted by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Collin Williams, who said that the police officers botched the video/digital evidence that would have put Lavia’s killers behind bars.

“There was the Christmas time stabbing at Heritage Square in 2010, where a private individual captured the whole incident in a series of shots and again the investigator/police made a mess of it, not even taking a statement from the person who took the photographs,” DPP Williams said of the Lavia case.

In probably what was one of only two kidnapping and murder cases here, persons were enthralled with the case of 18-year-old St Vincent Community College student Agassi Fraser.

Fraser’s body was found lying in the Arnos Vale River on Saturday, October 10, 2010. The 18-year-old went missing on the morning of Thursday, October 8, 2010, after he left home to visit a young lady, who he said lived a short distance away.

His disappearance was reported to the police on Friday, October 9, 2010 and this was followed by a $60,000 ransom demand.

Several months later in August 2010, Odinga ‘Boomsa’ Foster, a 27-year-old, a former loans officer at the Kingstown Cooperative Credit Union (KCCU), was charged with the kidnapping and murder of Fraser. Fraser was Foster’s cousin.

On June 13, 2013, two weeks after Foster’s trial began, Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle ordered a retrial. The retrial was ordered in the interest of justice, based on the findings that one of the jurors on the panel had a close association with Fraser’s family.

Despite testimony from several witnesses, including star witness Brando Lockhart, Agassi’s mother Barbara Fraser, his girlfriend Shemeika Chance, Asha Audain and George Daniel, Foster who won a prison debate competition while on remand, was acquitted of Fraser’s murder.

In 2008, Carlos George, a 19-year-old man of Layou lost his life on Boxing Day. George was riding in a vehicle with his two friends, Donjuan Glasgow, 24, and Jasrick Matthias, 19, both of Campden Park.

At about 2 p.m., when they got to the Pembroke stretch, on their way from Campden Park, Glasgow, who was driving the car, lost control and the car collided with a retaining wall. George suffered multiple injuries, and later died at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital.

Reports are that the driver was wearing his seatbelt, but George appeared to not have been wearing his. An autopsy done on George’s body revealed that his skull was smashed, while the two other occupants of the vehicle escaped death.

The latest tragedy for the Class of 2008 came on Monday, May 2, when police officer 602 Giovanni Charles was stabbed and later died.

Reports are that while manning the entrance at the Belmont Primary School fair, Charles had tried to get a man who had entered the fair without paying the EC$2 entrance fee to leave, when the situation escalated, resulting in him being stabbed in the neck, an injury to which he later succumbed. On Friday, 18-year-old Maverick Joseph of Belmont appeared at the Serious Offences Court charged with the officer’s murder.

Commenting further on his friends who have passed, the DJ said that on the Wednesday before Fraser died, he spoke to him in Kingstown.

“….he tell me somebody, a girl, link him to go on a scene and he wanted me to go with him, but I said I can’t make it. He was showing me messages and saying they (a girl) wah meet him,” recalled the DJ, who added that Fraser’s mother later called him and asked him if he had seen Fraser.

“When I hear they say a body was found and I hear it was Agassai, I sit down a while when I hear da; he was my neighbour.”

In relation to Charles, the DJ said that his nickname was ‘G’ and described the slain officer as, “spritely and love jokes and talk and laugh and not troublesome”.

“In Form One he pick a fight with the tallest boy in the class and the teacher put them to kneel down and they were still trying to fight. He would never back down, he would fight,” said the DJ of Charles, whom he saw a few days before he died.

“I used to WhatsApp G and he never pass me straight. That Thursday before he died, I pass him… we fist one another and pass. The feeling ain’t really hit me yet he gone,” said the bewildered music man.

Of the incidents and bad luck that befell his friends, he commented, “It’s a weird thing because them not going out naturally. Look at Agassi, he get stab, Lisbon get stab, G get stab. It’s a weird kinda thing. I feel kinda weird still.

“These things just have me wondering how come it hitting so close. Me other brethren them thinking so too. It’s like a movie,” said the pondering DJ.

He stressed that while all the boys from the class of 2008 have lived and are living their own lives, the pattern of death and crime is weird and cause for conversation among the remainder of former SMSS Class of 2008 students.