Speaking on the justice system, murdered man’s sister says ‘I’m not expecting anything’
by Colin Hyde
When Shakera Young-Forrester, founder of the Tyler Savery Foundation, was asked what the odds were that the person(s) who murdered her brother would be brought to justice, nonstop, she replied, “I don’t. don’t expect anything.” Those three words should sting everyone in our country, especially our political leaders and those directly involved in crime deterrence, crime solving, and sanction enforcement. The lady spoke from her own experience of the terrible failure of our nation. What have we done since independence in 1981? Is this the country we imagined back then, a land where there is no justice?
We talk about wanting peace, but as the great singer and teacher Peter Tosh sang, “I don’t want peace, I need equal rights and JUSTICE.” How can we have peace in a country where we have no JUSTICE?
There have been many interventions over the years; no, it’s not like we just threw our hands up, but based on the results, it’s like we didn’t try at all. We failed, we continue to fail, and that’s because we didn’t try hard enough, because we weren’t tough enough, because we weren’t smart enough.
We know all about our poverty and the disparity of our wealth. We know all about corruption in government. We know of the exodus to the United States and the deportation of Belizeans hardened by the harshness of the city centers of this country. We know how much these things damage our social fabric, have changed our value system, and have helped sustain a gang culture in our country. We saw things were bad, and because we didn’t get enough stitches in time, life as we knew it fell apart.
More than two decades ago, Amandala columnist Janus warned that our authorities were creating a bed for gangs with their failure to provide good programs for our young people and their encouragement of a system that focused much more on respect for human rights, and much less on rendering justice to the wronged.
The draconian drug laws helped sink us. When a country makes laws, they must make sense. If the laws are sensible, people will be supportive. They will not hesitate to provide the information the police need to be effective. The drug laws are bad and they have caused the corruption of a number of police department officers. People who have things to hide cannot apply the law. We have made a bed for corruption; bad seeds have germinated and choked out good plants; the harvest is bitter.
Ms. Shakera Young-Forrester’s brother, Tyrone King, was shot on July 5, and on July 6, Shakera spoke to Krem News‘ Marisol Amaya about the tragedy. What she said to Ms. Amaya should reverberate in every corner of our country because it puts all of us on trial. Many encouragements to the new minister and to all the people who are mobilizing alongside him to ease our pain, but if we want to win this battle, the whole nation must be mobilized.
We first met Shakera Young-Forrester in 2016, on a tragic evening after her seven-year-old grandson, Tyler Savery, was shot and killed as he and an adult cousin walked to a snack bar where he had to enjoy himself. . Little boys aren’t supposed to die that way. On July 6, Shakera told Marisol (as best I could transcribe from the newscast): “That’s what’s happening now; you watch the news until you finally become the news. Talking about her brother, she said he didn’t make all the best decisions in life. Speaking about our justice system, she said: “If I can be very frank, I don’t expect anything from them, because they haven’t done anything for us, and they continue to do nothing for us; they continue to fail us as a people.
Shakera said she was able to see the entire crime scene even though she wasn’t there “because we have police officers releasing photos of murder victims on their home phones regardless of the group chat in where they are, so if you ask me what I’m waiting for, I’m not expecting anything, the same way they didn’t do anything for Tyler who died innocently.
She said: “My message is for every person… [we are] a nation that lacks love…if you look at it right now you would see people minding their own business. If someone is beaten in the street, if someone is shot, they would rather take out their phone; if i’m dying right now or collapsing they will focus more on taking pictures and being the first to post the video or photo rather than actually supporting or seeing if they could be helpful…[we are] a broken nation…[we have] greedy leaders…. All you see right now is hurting people hurting other people.
These are great words from a great woman, words everyone should heed.
Krem Safety Lessons
Many thanks to Krem for this TV infomercial aimed at keeping children safe when in the water. Our country is blessed with many rivers, creeks, lagoons and seas, and cursed with far too many drowning tragedies.
Judging by the snippets on the airwaves and in the newspapers, the number one cause of drowning in our country is failed leadership. Every life is sacred, so when one is lost, especially when the life is a child or youth, we must turn over every stone. If we had good leadership, we would thoroughly investigate every tragic incident, because that’s how we learn, how we improve our systems.
Following the recent Rio On tragedies, officials responsible for this popular bathing spot for 20 years are set to be summoned before a commission of inquiry. Did the authorities know that there were extremely dangerous places on the small river? Have the families who bathe there been sufficiently warned? Do we think that a few signs are enough? Good leadership will ask difficult questions.
I could say a lot more, but I’ll just say to Krem: please keep running this infomercial. Accidents can and will happen. It’s negligence, not an accident, when we don’t follow important safety rules.
The Mafia in Sicily
According to the story, “Origins of the Mafia,” on the History.com website, originally the term “mafia” simply meant someone who distrusted central authority. The story goes that the island of Sicily was “ruled until the middle of the 19th century by a long line of foreign invaders”, and that “the Sicilians banded together to protect themselves and do their own justice”. Later, some of these groups turned into private armies that extorted protection money from landowners.
History.com says the American Mafia that became a force in the United States in the 1920s is distinct from the Italian Mafia, but shares “traditions such as omerta, a code of conduct and loyalty” .
There was much disorder in Sicily when it became a province of Italy, in 1861, and the Romans employed some of the private groups to pursue independent criminals, while looking the other way as they continued to extort protection money to landowners. The Romans planned to use the groups until they gained full control of the territory, but before they could do so, the Mafia became more entrenched “in Sicilian politics and economics”.
The mafia in Sicily also had its teeth in the Catholic Church, which had used it to “police its massive real estate holdings in Sicily and keep the sharecroppers in line”. The story goes that Sicilian clans began to hold initiation ceremonies in which new members took secret oaths of loyalty, the main one being omerta, “a very important code of conduct reflecting the ancient Sicilian belief that a person should never go to government authorities to seek justice for a crime and never cooperate with authorities investigating wrongdoing”.