Grieving Tobago mum: Tell me how my son died

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Jonathan Baptiste –

“Somebody, please tell me how my son died.”

So pleaded Beulah Baptiste on Friday after her only child, Jonathan, was sprayed with bullets on Thursday night, in Scarborough.

In an interview with Newsday at her home in Gerald Graham Road, Union Village, the grief-stricken woman said she would not rest until she gets justice for her son’s death.

She said Jonathan had worked at the National Gas Company for the past nine years.

“I am deeply saddened and disgusted by this act, and justice needs to be served. I don’t have any words to describe this. It is a shock. I don’t even know if this is real. It feels like a whole nightmare,” Baptiste said.

Baptiste, a single parent, said as far as she knew, her son was never involved in any criminal activity.

“He was raised not to be involved in criminal life or to engage in criminal activity. And even though he was an adult, he still knew what was expected of him.”

Police said around 10.30pm on Thursday, Jonathan, 28, entered his pick-up van at Lal’s carpark, Dutch Fort, Scarborough, when he was approached by a gunman.

The man fired several shots at Baptiste, hitting him while he was driving away.

Baptiste drove to Wilson Road, near T&TEC, got out of the car and fell to the ground.

He was taken to Scarborough General Hospital, where he died. He is Tobago’s sixth murder victim for 2022.

Baptiste said she learnt about the shooting from one of her son’s former Scarborough Secondary School classmates who was in the area when the shooting took place.

Baptiste said when she arrived in Scarborough she learnt that her son was taken to the hospital for an emergency surgery.

“I was surprised that he would have been shot at given the nature of how I know him to be. No one has ever come to me and complained about any misdeeds or any fraudulent activity. I had no knowledge of why there was a shooting that would involve him. So I am looking for answers.”

She added, “Given the normal course of his life I would not have had any event or situation which would have required any kind of police, shooting or illegal activity, drugs or guns. I am not aware of any of that at 28 years of age. But I need answers.”

Baptiste said it is not right for people to lose their children randomly to violent crime.

“You wake up one morning and you realise that they’re not there, one night or one evening. I don’t think that’s the way we want our society to be.”

She lamented the prevalence of gun crimes in Tobago.

“Tobago has reached to this level where there are guns on the street and people can open fire in public gatherings, whatever occasion they choose and dead bodies just turn up with no answers. Tobago is way too small for that.”

Baptiste believes the authorities need to do more to stop crime in the country..

“Because I don’t think people just wake up and expect their children to die. I really don’t think that that is the expectation of a parent who has done their best to raise their children as good citizens.

“I am sure no one expects their children to just turn up dead, riddled with bullets. Something has to be done and it has to be done now. I think this is where it ends. I don’t know how it’s going to be resolved and how soon but I am expecting some kind of resolution soon.”

She said society cannot allow crime to continue to run rampant.

“So criminals cannot be expected to walk free and people live in fear. I don’t know that that is how we want our society to be.”

Jonathan’s killing came a day after the murder of TT Ferry Service employee Emero Baynes, who was gunned down around 4.15 am on Thursday while driving his car along Belmont Farm Road, Mason Hall.

Investigations are continuing into both incidents.