Balandra family say man was killed for changing his life

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Kyle Lewis –

THE family of a Balandra fisherman believe he was killed because he was trying to change his life after spending several years on the “wrong side.”

Kyle Lewis, 33, was shot dead around 5 am on July 4 while asleep at his home on Balandra Bay Road.

A police report said Lewis’s wife was sleeping next to him when she was awakened by a loud noise.

She did not realise the noise was a gunshot and got out of bed and went to the bathroom.

When she returned, she shook Lewis to wake him but got no response. She saw blood coming out of his ear and went to a neighbour’s house for help.

Police found one spent 9mm casing at the scene.

Speaking with the media at the Forensic Science Centre in St James, Lewis’s relatives, who did not want to be named, said they believe his death was linked to his past.

They said he used to be involved in the drug trade, but since his arrest during the covid pandemic, he had turned his life around.

“He’s a silent man and never used to say much, but to me, he was changing. He was on the wrong side, and during the pandemic, he changed. He had decided to walk a different way.

“And I think part of that probably get him killed. He was trying to leave that life, and people didn’t like that.”

They said he saw what his family went through after his arrest and that sparked his decision to change.

“During that trial, we had some ups and downs with him. When he got locked up, we had to spend the night under a tree waiting to see him, and after that we talked to him, and he was changing gradually.”

His family said they hoped his story did not discourage anyone else from trying to turn their life around.

“Don’t give up. Never stop. Never stop giving and never stop trying to reach where you want to reach. You will fall, but you need to get back up. When we fall, we need to get back up and strive again and reach to the sky.”

They emphasised the need for family and community to support people trying to escape a life of crime.

“Nobody want to come together for what is right. Everybody will take a back seat because they know what’s going on. They hide things, instead of helping and supporting that person to help them change.”

They said support is also needed from the state to ensure young men do not find themselves in this situation in the first place.

Pointing to their hometown of Balandra, Lewis’s family said the government must do more to steer young men away from a life of crime.

“It have youths we know coming up need guidance because it have nothing in the village that these youths and them could do. It have a little playground and a little savannah, but it have nobody to guide them.

“It is holiday time now and they should have things for them (to do) but it have nothing, no kind of track and field club or football club. Nothing to help the youth and guide them. That is what we need in our village.”

Meanwhile, the family says although they continue to hope for answers about Lewis’s death, they do not believe they will get any.

“Too many crimes have been left unsolved and there is no closure. That is what is going on in this country here today, this beautiful country that we call home. I don’t think we might get any resolution to what happened…

“It’s so heartbreaking, especially for (his) mum. Although she’s strong and she’s the one that’s holding up everybody right now, we don’t know what will happen later.

“But I don’t think we will ever get any kind of closure.”