Life of fear
“SINCE THE POLICE come for he, I don’t really sleep. If I sleep for three hours, I sleep a lot. I am now the night watchman for my house. It is like I living in a live nightmare.”
With those words, the father of convicted killer Renaldo Anderson Alleyne summarized his own life in the aftermath of the Campus Trendz tragedy.
Alleyne was given six concurrent life sentences on August 15 for killing Pearl Cornelius, Shanna Griffith, Kellisha Olliviere, Tiffany Harding, Nikita Belgrave and Kelly-Ann Welch when he firebombed the Campus Trendz boutique on Tudor Street, Bridgetown on September 3, 2010.
His father, who is married with five children, is so fearful of possible retaliation that he only consented to be interviewed if his identify and address were withheld.
“Right now we life in danger,” he told the SUNDAY SUN. “You never know when somebody going to retaliate. The girls got family; them girls got brothers and fathers. The people miss them family and if them ain’t satisfy with the verdict, then we can’t take no chances with we life.
“We don’t really go a lot of places now; we can’t take no chances. People point fingers at me.
“I had to get eyes behind my head. Somebody might pay to tek me out. Somebody might pay to tek out one of he brothers or one of he sisters,”the 50-year-old commented this past week.
He said he empathizes with the parents of the six young women who perished.
But along with bearing the burden of his son’s crime, he said he believed he had also lost his son forever.
“If the family that lost their family think that them going through hell, we going through hell, too. But we real sorry for what happened . . . . From the beginning we did sorry. We real sorry for all the family that lost them daughters. We sorry for what those mothers are going through. It is not easy losing a child. I send my condolences. Both me and my wife regret it happened,” he said.
The father and his family are still trying to come to grips with Alleyne’s actions.
He said when he had heard of the Campus Trendz killings, he too was angry and called for the full weight of the law on the perpetrators.
“I was there saying whoever do that there should get hang,” he recalled.
“I don’t know how I managed to cope with it. The day when the police come and collect [my son], I was here reasoning with the neighbour that how the police got to hold these boys who did that to them six girls; [that] them got to go on the block and bore the block. I did not know that body was my son.
“I was actually talking about the incident and then I see the police come down. The police stop in front my house. I say, ‘Wait, what really going on here?’ The police say,
‘We come for Renaldo.’ I say, ‘Man, what wanna really telling me?’ Then them bring he out and I ask him straight if he involved with this thing. I say, ‘You went and do that there?’ From there, it was uproar.”
The disbelief and anger the father felt were also shared by Alleyne’s mother. She declined to comment.
“It was a shocker to me and the mother,” the father went on. “Before them come for Renaldo the mother say that she want to know who the b****** is. Imagine, she didn’t know that one was her own son.”
For this family, trying to get things back to normal has been difficult.
“Right now I going through bare stress at work, since all of that there happen,” the father conceded. “I don’t really got no friends at work like before.
But I don’t really pay them no mind, I just living on. I does go and do my work and leave.”
With tears in his eyes, the government worker admitted that while he can escape his surroundings, he is yet to find a way to free his mind of the memories of his son that continually haunt him.
“Renaldo was real cool, ain’t use to make no noise or quarrelling with nobody in the neighbourhood,” he noted. “He was not a trouble-maker. We ain’t covering up nothing for he. There is nothing to cover up. We are human beings; we have feelings, a mind and conscience.”
It was his wish that Renaldo, along with his four siblings, would live a better life than he did.
“I raise up in a children’s home,” he said. “I live at all kinds of people before I had children. I tell myself I don’t want that for my children. I [took] grunts and insults and all kind of things for my children. It is better I did run and leave them; I feel them would have been better off. When men go ’long and leave the children, the children does come up better.”
The pain of the incident was so traumatic that the family did not follow the trial. Nor did they show up for the sentencing
“He get six life sentences,” the father pointed out. “It is better if he did dead. Don’t mind that we going to get to go and see him in there. We feel just as if you looking back in a picture at a relative you lost and you put them in loving memory. It is just that he got life.
“You do the crime, you got to do the time. And that is how I going down. He is my son, but he do the crime and now he got to do the time. That is the shoes he decided to buy and he got to wear them now today.”
He said a voice in his head kept delivering the wish: “If I could turn back the hands of time, I would bring back them girls for them family members.”
And while he cannot fulfil that wish, there is one thing he knows he can do – offer sound advice to young people.
“Don’t do the crime, if you can’t do the time,” he says. “There is nowhere in Barbados that you could do crime and get away. Wash cars, beg somebody for coconuts and sell them, put up somebody paling, go out there and work.
But don’t just see people and rob them and think it is all right.”
Fighting back the tears, he concluded: “I lost my son, just as much as them people lost them family. I got to live with that every day. I might even dead and go long and never see he touch this green grass in society again.”