Gripped by death
The grim – AND VICIOUS – reaper was on the prowl June 15, 2005. He had put his mark on seven people: five students and two adults. But when two of his targets cheated death that day, it set off a chain of nightmarish events that came to an awful end in March 2008 with the murder of Kemar Shakir Maloney, 18, the latter of the two survivors. Shane Downes, 17, of Callender’s Court, Christ Church, Dwayne Michaud, 17, of Mount Standfast, St James, Alex Jordan, 16, of Maxwell Hill, Christ Church, and Leslie Norbert, 16, of Chancery Lane, Christ Church, were all students of Deighton Griffith School, and the friendship evolved into the boy group G Force.
They were your typical teenagers, hanging out at the different homes and joking around. So that when Shane, Dwayne, Alex and Kemar piled into a car to take a breather after the stress of an exam, there was nothing surprising in that. Leslie’s decision not to go and Kemar’s last-minute change of heart, that saw him get out of the ill-fated car, foiled death’s evil plan – but only for that day. Shane, Dwayne and Alex died in a three-car smash-up on the highway moments after leaving the school compound. Leon Walcott, 78, of Sheraton Park, Christ Church, and his wife Audrey, 70, of the same address, also died in the collision.Got out of carThe close shave and the loss of three friends left Kemar, of Kendal Hill, Christ Church shaken. He and another friend Ayesha got out of the car to visit his father in hospital. He watched the three friends head up the highway, and just before the end Alex called Ayesha, asking her tell everyone he loved them and would be returning. Then the phone went dead. When Ayesha tried calling back there was no answer – and there never would be. And, as the first anniversary of the deaths approached, the grim reaper struck again. Leslie drowned on May 23, 2006, at Rockley Beach, Christ Church. “I could not believe it, so I called his cellphone. His mother answered and asked me what I had heard. I did not know how to tell her, but she told me it was true . . . . I was puzzled. I could not get the words out . . . . “It is unbelievable to realise that things are happening so quickly. It is very mysterious, but we can’t question God,” Kemar said at the time of the drowning.
However, Kemar never allowed the thought that he might suffer the same fate as his friends to affect his way of life once he got over his survivor’s guilt, his brother Kapil Adams told the Weekend Nation. “He felt really bad; he wasn’t eating or talking much. It is one thing to wake up one day and all your close friends are gone. Then as he was coming out of it another friend drowned. He took it hard,” said Kapil. “I think the one thing that kept him focused was working in the chef field. It was painful for me as a brother. I was there, but I couldn’t know the feeling of losing my friends.”
More than two years after the first tragedy, Kemar was 18 and a culinary arts student at the Barbados Community College’s PomMarine Institute, with his other interests including car mechanics and computer repairs. “He was very helpful and a curious young man. We had a common interest in cars, but he was gifted with his hands and loved to cook. That was perfect for me because I loved to eat. That was really my memory of him in the kitchen,” said Kapil.Relentless“I don’t think he thought he would be next. He really began to live life even though others were telling him he had to be careful. I don’t think he took it on and believed he only had a short time to live.” But death was relentless in its pursuit of the youthful group, and Kemar, like his friends, was not destined to enjoy a long and fruitful life. Instead, on March 1, 2008, he departed this earth under mysterious circumstances to join them. Police investigating a report of a man lying in a cart road at Kendal Hill, Christ Church, discovered it was Kemar. He had been stabbed several times in the upper body.
Strangely, Kemar was on a road which, ordinarily, he would not be using. But he had a problem with his car. Relatives believe that that night he was heading towards the nearby gas station to see about fixing his vehicle, which was leaking fluid. No one heard from him after that – not even his girlfriend Trishane, who was at home waiting for him to pick her up. Kapil and his mother Erla Adams-Maloney still grieve over the loss, which is further compounded by not knowing who killed their loved one. “We worked through it a lot. Initially it was rough, but the reason I held it together was because of my mother. She was strong in her prayer. It is still painful especially when you hear other murders being solved.
“But my mother lives by faith and with that you are contented to live in faith that some day it will be resolved, and that God will resolve it.” There are times when the memories come flooding back. When they do, said Kapil, he and his mum give thanks and continue to move forward.•[email protected]