A sombre mood gripped the Bridgetown Fish Market as family and fisherfolk reflected on the life of Stephen Molly Small who died after he being robbed and stabbed last Thursday evening.
Relatives and colleagues could not contain their grief, with some of them openly weeping for a man they said was a good man who did not deserve to die a horrid death.
His grieving mother Elsa Small was visibly distraught as she sat at the Bridgetown Fisheries Complex where her son plied his trade. She told Barbados TODAY that she had lost the best child she had ever had and would bring him back if she could.
“I cannot hold it any more than tell you that he gone. If I could bring him back I would but I cannot. The best child that I ever had he gone,” she said, the pain etched on her face as she reflected on her youngest son.
And Small not only demanded retribution for his death but seemed certain of the identity of a woman as his killer.
“I tell wunna so already bring she out, put she on that pole there and tie she and anybody that want she, look she here do wha’ wunna like. But I know wunna can’t do that; that is government,” Small said.
Reflecting on his earlier life she said that her son was an avid basketball player who played with the Hawks and when he came home with an injury she would tend to him.
“I tend to he when he come home and he hurt he knee. When he come home and he hurt he knee I band it up just like how I got my one foot here band up right now,” Small’s mother said, likening the loss of her son to the limb now replaced by a prosthetic leg.
“I got one foot and I lost my baby. That is one dey sitting down too [referring to his sister Sylvia Small]. If the first did dead I wouldn’t mind, if the second did dead I wouldn’t mind but praise God them carry along the best. If she wants he give her. My children live good if I beat one them gone in the corner like puppies and I would say ‘What you crying for and beat all three of them.’ I did not beat one and left the next the three of them live real good them only holding up now. The last is the one to go down and we not going to see him no more. We ain’t going to see him no more, I am not going to see my son no more,” she said.
Small recounted that the last thing she did was to touch Molly’s toes after which she was told that her son was now deceased.
“The last thing I did was touch my son’s toes and my son wriggle he toes in my hand and when I [went] back my child did [dead]. I am not going to tell you a lie but God hold me from then till now he tell me don’t cry any more. I take him out of his pain because he was in pain,” she said as she rested her head back on one of the stalls in the Bridgetown Fish Market.
His close friend and work colleague with whom he shared a stall for almost 20 years, Sharon Bellamy-Thompson, said that she was shocked upon hearing the news that Molly had passed.
“When I got the news I was shocked. I burst into tears. I would have known Molly . . . close to 20 years. He was a humble man, a great man. You know the market had a lot of noise but I have never heard Molly curse or be angry – this man is a gem. There is not another person in here that I can identify Molly’s ways with not one other person,” Bellamy-Thompson said, adding that he would give fish to persons who were in need or did not have enough finances to cover their purchase as that was the kind of gentleman he was.
“You could ask him for anything. Many time older people that would come here to the fish market and they are short of money and they want fish or anything, he would have given it to them. He is always willing to help,” Bellamy-Thompson said.
She also noted that Small would be sorely missed as they shared a close bond through the years as they plied their trade side by side in Stall #4.
“It is very hard for me because he is the first person I see when I [get] here and the last person I see. I see him more than I see my own family as I spend about 12 hours at the fish market. He is known to us as our dad, our papa, as he is the senior to everyone in Stall #4,” she said.
A fellow worker in Stall#4, Ricardo Layne, became distraught as he spoke about Molly whom he referred to as Papi because the love he shared for Molly was almost like if he was his father.
“When I got the call the morning, Sharon called me and told me that Papi get stab up. I said, ‘How you mean Papi get stab up?’ I said, “You have the wrong person, not Molly. It hit me like someone actually hit me in my head with a rock I was so confused. I was in pain, I came to work and when I got to work the atmosphere was different in here was dead everything was down-spirited. Look, when I think about it, it does got me offset,” he said fighting back the tears.
Layne said that on that fateful evening he was to receive a ride home with Molly as he normally did but an intervention from Sharon Bellamy-Thompson to go on an errand stopped him from witnessing the ordeal.
“If I was there that night time they would have to kill all two of us. Cause I cannot stand and see anybody doing my Papi nothing. I figure if I was there that it would not have gotten so far, I do not feel that it would have gotten so far,” he said.
There was quiet in the entire Bridgetown Fish Market as vendors openly grieved for a man who they considered to be a “good man” and a “gem”. In tribute, an empty chair remained by the table where Molly played cards – 30 hand tonk – with his colleagues.
One of them was so upset he sat in his chair openly weeping with other colleagues embracing him. The fisherfolk have made a condolence board in the market for both patrons and workers to leave their signatures.