Victor Mc Donald

 

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Category: Profiles Date: 12 Jan 03


Last week, Victor McDonald, a 48-year-old security officer, was shot in the stomach. McDonald’s last words were reportedly: “Shoot me, nah!”

 

A trigger was pulled. Six hours later, the tall, well-built man who was promoted several times in the 16 years he worked for a security company, was dead on an operating table. A 38-year-old colleague, who McDonald slapped across the face in the heat of an argument, has been charged with his murder.

 

As fate has it, in March 1996, I interviewed Estate Sergeant McDonald — in what I described then a first-person account of survival in Trinidad in the 1990’s.

 

I wrote on 24th March 96:

 

“Meet Max (an alias) father of eight. He is honest and hard-working. He hasn’t missed a day’s work in seven years. With his hard earned money he bought a house in Morvant. He supports the three people who live with him and has never been on the wrong side of the law.”

 

Here are excerpts of my interview with Victor McDonald:

 

“I hate my father, I hate my stepmother. I hate my life. You want a happy moment? You know when I laugh plenty? When a worker gets murdered.

 

“I have no happy memory of my mother. She died when I was young. But when I miss my mother I feel I could kill the world.

 

“Even Christmas time I don’t think I am happy because I always have to be working for my children or my brothers. I can’t remember a single happy day in my life. When I was growing up it was six of us, two girls and four boys. My father was working in a supermarket for $25 a week.

 

“My mother used to work a little project. I went to school, but three younger brothers did not. When my mother died I was 13. I had to leave school to support my brothers and sisters.

 

“Life was very hard. Nobody gave us anything. I used to earn $14 a week. We had no mother. We had a father but did not have a father because he wasn’t there for us.

 

“I grew up in a hasty manner. Nobody could take advantage of me. I alone had to support myself. I always used to carry two blade with me. Them days it was cutlass against cutlass. Now is gun against gun. In ‘88 ten men try to kill me. I take them on. I nearly lose my two fingers but they get damage, too.

 

“I plan to kill them. Out here is a place like this. You could kill someone and get away with it with a good lawyer. The men come and sign peace. They say I was the wrong man.

“But justice did come. One get he belly cut out and others get jail for marijuana weed and cocaine.

 

“Who protect we? We protect we. In high society area police does patrol. When you drive into your yard, we walk the streets. We have to look over our shoulder and say, ‘Who’s that shadow? What you doing there boy?’

 

“I work in a bakery for 11 years and I get a little cool. I remember Mammy always used to say ‘save your money’, and I take that advice. I save $25,000 to buy a house. I was under 20 years. I went to a bank on St Vincent Street. They tell me bring all the money in the bank so I could get a loan. I did that. First thing the teller say is ‘How a little man like you get all that money?’ Like I thief it somewhere. I could have knocked he down. I take all my money and leave.

 

“My whole area is bandit area. In every family of six, two must be bandit. I make a choice to stay on the right side of the law. Most of them used to work project but they not getting any more jobs. Six children living in one little room. No room to breathe or move. No man to support the home and the mother alone working, leaving the children home by themself. The boys say, ‘Mammy eh have nothing and if we have one bread that can’t share.’

 

“If I could go down the road, hold up a man and get money for food, you think I go work 72 hours for $150 a week? It’s cocaine and weed for them. Most of the young men, the ones I bathe and grow up as children, in jail. One kill a pardner — cut him up — over a woman. Everybody by me carry guns cutlass.

 

“Some of them is only nine years old. The baddest fella in our area is 16. Anytime you see he coming at you, you will have to kill he or he will kill you.

 

“We livin, on the edge. Remember the fella who kill the child? I sure he didn’t want to kill the child, but some trigger go off in him and the child was in front of him and he do it.

 

“I grow up believing don’t take no from nobody. Anybody who trouble you, put them on the ground. But my madam not violent like me. She makes sure our son studies. He always come first in test. He is only seven but nobody must be better than he. We both want him to be more than us.

 

“People suffering. This is why we raping and killing, why family kill family, brother kill brother. The bosses must make sure workers get a raise, and time off so a mother can still talk to children instead of saying ‘Mammy going to sleep now’ or ‘Daddy working’.

 

“You could give a child schooling but you can’t give him love, because you don’t have the time. And when he becomes a big bandit, you go ask, ‘How we went wrong?’

 

“Take my stupid advice. Instead of giving to charity, employers must give back to society by treating workers with respect. Allow them to work for decent money and they will respect their employers.

 

“I am straightforward. I provide for my family. I don’t lie. And I don’t thief, and my brother will always be my brother. But because of the way I grow up, I have no heart left.”

 

I write this on the day of McDonald’s funeral. Seven years ago he wrote his own eulogy, answering the question we all ask when yet another senseless murder is committed amidst us.

 

Taking McDonald’s advice of finding ways to put back heart in the heartless may be the best thing we can do for ourselves as a people.

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All Articles Copyright Ira Mathur