This morning, 12-year-old Kristina Mayers woke up at her Hinds Road, Black Rock, St Michael home, and began searching the house for her father Hayden Mayers.
This was her usual morning routine. She went everywhere calling for daddy, but did not see, or hear him.
Sonia, Kristina’s mother, and Mayers’ wife of seven years, was forced to break the news to her daughter that her dad had died, shot by masked men as he sold from his bread van in the well-populated Mansion Road, Bank Hall district. With his death, Barbados recorded its 24th murder for the year.
Fifty-year-old Mayers, a bread and pastry vendor was fatally shot around 10 p.m.
The deceased’s wife and daughter were too distraught to speak about the man they both cherished dearly.
Kristina, who turns 13 on December 19, was particularly heartbroken; because she did not get the opportunity to tell her dad she loved him before she went to bed. Usually, the Coleridge and Parry student would call her father while he was on the road, just before she goes to bed but she fell asleep early last night.
But, his niece Rashida Mayers, overcome with emotion, told Barbados TODAY that Kristina was Mayers’ heart, and said it was not fair that a father was taken from his daughter so senselessly while working to earn an honest dollar.
“He was a hardworking family person. He never used to do anybody anything. He was selling bread for years since he took over the business from my grandfather, after he was attacked.
“This is 23 years my uncle has been doing this. He just turned 50 on the first of this month. Why did they have to do this to my uncle? They took a man from his family, and an excellent father from his daughter,” a distraught Rashida cried as she sat at the family home at Industry Road, Bush Hall.
Attempting to regain her composure, Rashida, a teacher, said that the close-knit family was completely shaken by the tragedy. She explained that Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays nights, her uncle moved around various areas, selling bread. On Sundays, he would be accompanied by her and on the other two days, his sister Monica would sell alongside him. Monica was doing just that when he lost his life last night.
Witnessing her youngest sibling take his last breath was tough for this sister who was also celebrating her birthday yesterday.
“When I asked my aunt what happened, she told me that she was dispatching an old lady. She went back to the van, got the bread and gave my uncle the money to make the change. She turned, and as she turned these two masked men walked up to the van, and say ‘bread man give over the money’ Rashida reported.
Before he could remove the bag from around his waist he was shot in the chest.
“Them ain’t get no bag, no money, no nothing. Them kill my uncle for nothing,” she added. All my aunt could have done was scream and shout,” the primary school teacher related.
Rashida, who had a very close relationship with Mayers, recalled that she spoke to him about 15 minutes before he died about plans for his birthday celebrations, which were to be held on November 23. “We decided that Sunday we would finalize things while he was on the route selling…
“I just don’t understand this,” a hurting Rashida said. Through her pain, she insisted that she wanted justice for her uncle. “They need to hang these people. Do something with them because them ain’t going to stop. When you take a life and you go up Dodds and you sit down, my hard-earned, taxpayer’s money got to feed you.
“I have to go to work every day, and you just standing up at the side of the road with a mask on and a gun in your hand waiting for innocent people to pass? Then their mothers would say they were good boys,” she cried.
When Barbados TODAY visited the area around 10 this morning, a group of young people gathered remembered Mayers as a “good” man.
“This got to stop. Them kill that man for nothing,” one young man said.
Even though 58-year-old Winslow Roberts saw his long time friend’s lifeless body on the ground at the scene, hours later, he was still in disbelief. “He was one of the nicest persons you would ever meet. A good man lost his life for nothing,” Roberts repeated.
“He was good to a lot of people. Minutes before he died, he brought bread to my house, and we talked and he reminded me not to forget the party on the 23rd. But you know I always used to tell him, ‘my man you see this late thing with bread in these times, you got to be on the look-out, the youngsters out there looking to rob’.
“Now look, when I see Hayden there lying behind the van, something just passed through me man. I called another good friend of his and told him instead of going to Hayden’s birthday party to celebrate life, we got to go to his funeral,” Roberts said.
Roberts added that he hoped that whoever pulled the trigger and killed his friend, is made to feel the full weight of the law.
Mayers and Roberts played basketball with Sea Freight Shipping, and Bank Hall United.
The deceased also worked as a pool maintenance worker with Aquatech. (AH)