Following the death of her son last Thursday, as a result of very tragic and questionable circumstances, a St Lucy mother is now seeking to clear her name of any wrongdoing.
“I love my children. I never brutalized Shamar or [his younger brother] Shaquon,” declared Julianne Weekes, in an exclusive interview with Barbados TODAY, following Shamar’s death.
The 12-year-old student was discovered hanging in the backyard of their Fryers Well, Checker Hall, St Lucy, home last Thursday, after he reportedly took his own life.
Breaking her silence, but refusing to be photographed, the 38-year-old woman stressed: “I love Shamar and he know that!”
However, she went on to reveal that she had one major worry as far as her deceased son was concerned.
“I keep trying to put him on the right path [and] I keep talking to him about doing what he has to do,” Julianne said.
Elaborating on her concern about who he was “hanging” with, but without identifying any individuals or groups by name, Shamar’s mother said: “I told him they were not the right people to be with”.
“I don’t know if he stopped hanging with them or not, but I told him not to,” she added.
As she spoke to Barbados TODAY from a side window of her home minutes after she arrived from the Crab Hill police station on Sunday, where she had been interrogated by officers for over five hours on the circumstances surrounding her son’s untimely passing, a very distraught and tired-looking Julianne admitted that she was a bit too harsh with Shamar at times.
However, not to the point of abuse of her son, she said.
“Shamar knows I wanted the best for him. I was probably a little harsh on him, but he know[s] I only wanted the best for him.”
The late Coleridge & Parry student of Class 1 Yearwood, who was well liked in his neighbourhood, was described by his mother as someone who liked “nuff” playing around, listening to music and watching DVDs.
“He liked school and he did his school work good,” she further noted.
However, “I used to tell Shamar, ‘stay in the house and do your homework. You were playing from primary school and now you hit secondary stop with all the playing, it is time to be serious about your books and do your work’.
“I used to keep talking to him over and over. I used to talk to him constantly. If I didn’t love Shamar I wouldn’t tell him don’t hang around with anybody and keep from bad company before you get in trouble with the police,” she said.
The St Lucy resident is therefore very annoyed about allegations that have surfaced since Shamar’s passing.
When a Barbados TODAY team visited the area last week, almost everyone spoke negatively of the relationship between the boy and his mother, suggesting that he was a victim of various forms of mistreatment and abuse.
Neighbours also complained bitterly that Shamar often went hungry. And in the wake of his death, fingers continue to be pointed in the direction of his mother, who some say is ultimately responsible for the child’s death.
However, giving her side of the story, Julianne said, “I used to be telling Shamar things for he own good to keep him on the right path. The people out here [in Checker Hall] talking all them want because they just want to see their name in the paper, and going on Facebook writing a lot of foolishness,” she told Barbados TODAY.
Addressing some of the recent allegations directly, she said: “I understand people are getting and saying Shamar wasn’t getting any food, but Shamar used to have food here. Every week I would buy groceries and my aunt would send down foodstuff every other week, so stuff was always here for the two of them to have. So I don’t know who walking about saying that he didn’t have food, but Shamar always had food here,” she insisted.
Julianne also made it clear that she loved her children dearly and would never do anything to bring harm to them, including her seven-year-old, who currently remains at home in her care.
Also angered by the suggestions of abuse on her part, Julianne said she wished the perpetrators would stop spreading vicious rumours about her, since they were only making matters worst for her and surviving members of her family, who she said were still struggling to come to grips with Shamar’s death.
“They know what they are saying is wrong because they don’t know me like that. They would just see me go to work and come back. They don’t know what kind of person I am. They are just talking all over their face,” she lamented.
Julianne, who is a security guard employed by A&C Security, and currently attached to the Cement Plant in St Lucy, said she had not had a full night’s sleep since last Thursday. She also said she was yet to fully explain Shamar’s death to his younger brother, who he was very close to.
The deceased St Lucy resident also has an 18-year-old sister. Julianne, who paused several times during the interview to catch her breath, still has difficulty recalling the events of May 14. For instance, she told Barbados TODAY she could not remember the last conversation she had with Shamar. She also avoided any questions about the apparent suicide of her son, whose death has opened up a fresh wound and the dark images of that night are still too painful for her to want to recall.
“It is too hard to talk about,” she said, while stating that she will definitely miss her son and she was just trying to take life one day at a time.
An autopsy is to be carried out on the boy’s body tomorrow.