#Turks and Caicos Islands – Saturday August 4, 2018 – Was enough done to rescue murdered man, Judah Gail? I admit to not knowing all of the intimate details of the life of the man gunned down in the parking lot of a popular Providenciales lounge early on Friday morning, but I do have an understanding of this type of story and it is continues to be, to me, deeply distressing.
If you have been following the reports, you would have read or heard that Judah Gail seems to have been a menace to society, who was cold and heartless, with no respect for the rule of law and, by his own words in a video posted two weeks ago, willing to kill anyone who got in his way.
I did not know Judah Gail. I do know that his name means Praise and that his life appeared to be exactly the opposite of one which would be praised in a civilized society.
I did some asking though. I learned that as a little boy, Judah – who is Turks and Caicos, Jamaican and Haitian – lost his mother. A little boy was suddenly all alone and left to raise himself pretty much by himself. I have been told that his mother’s sister did come over from Haiti eventually to assist in rearing the child, but perhaps it was too little, too late.
Perhaps no one really considered how the loss of his mother affected him emotionally and how, if left unaddressed, his feelings of sadness and hurt, turned inside out could become a monster and maybe it did.
Learning this about Judah Gail’s life caused me to read the words of other people who lost their mother or father or both parents while still young children. These words were particularly striking to me:
The sad fact is… there is pain which there is no cure for. This is such pain.
You can’t do anything to fill that void, nor take away the pain.
Life sucks when you lose a single parent let alone both. You stop being a child. Your loss is presented to you daily (friends with their both parents etc.) which all hurt and you can’t really prevent it. You hear the word ”Dad” out of your friends mouths which hurt too…because you can’t use that word anymore (or the word Mom)
Judah, born in the Turks and Caicos Islands, inherited a string of apartments and rented them in his community of Kew Town in Providenciales.
Despite this blessing, young Mr. Gail, was no stranger to incarceration found himself walking through a revolving door. Judah was in and out of jail since his teenage years.
At around 14, Judah Gail was sent by the Turks and Caicos Islands to a boys’ correctional institution in Jamaica. There, I am told, Judah saw drug peddling, Judah saw violent stabbings, Judah witnessed murder and bloody assaults. Judah was hardened and not helped by this experience and then he returned home.
I am also told that the Jamaica boys’ institution to which teen trouble makers were banished by the Turks and Caicos were all ruined not rehabilitated. These teenage boys were toughened, now as young men, they threaten the peace and serenity of the Turks and Caicos Islands today.
There is an image of Judah Gail flashing a ‘gunk’ of money in his grasp and video of him boldly smoking illegal marijuana as he gives a commentary about street life and rules, using the most profane language.
I asked if the money was authentic and if Judah’s sentiments were his credo. I am told the money was very real and Gail, without getting regular employment, was living the high life. There were brand new cars, ‘money like dirt’, and he was a bossy guy and a bully of a man with a deadly habit.
Judah Gail, loved to credit the stuff he sold. That stuff was said to be illicit drugs. Gail would borrow the drugs – marijuana and cocaine – with the promise to flip it and pay a profit to the lending drug-dealer.
This is the life young men, too many of our young men are living and loving in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
The Judah Gails are on brilliant display and our young boys are watching the show. They are lapping up this apparently luxurious life which seems so very possible, so very profitable when compared to the stories and sagas of their working fathers and uncles.
Gail and his cohorts are earning thousands of dollars per week without a traditional job. They seem to have all they want and more than they need. And while the risk is high and the life is illegal, the rewards may seem to be worth the while. After all, the hard working, honest fathers and uncles are struggling to make ends meet and to buy even a little Japanese car to get around.
Honesty is devalued. Hard work on a job site is scorned. The criminal life can become a glamorous alternative to a silly kid bombarded with silly notions about what really matters in life. Our problem, as those who chose the honest path, is not in the not knowing. Our problem, as leaders and movers and shakers, is in the not doing enough. Turks and Caicos must recognize, that despite headlines of falling crime rates and modernisations in policing; we have a problem where a life of crime is dangerously camouflaging itself as good and this is a gross misrepresentation.
The spiritual enemy, which so many of us believe exists due to our predominantly Christian faith, is working creatively and assiduously to delude and deceive our young men and the Satan we know will kill them, steal them, destroy them.
In keeping score or a tally by strictly looking at the national murder rate, we may be distracted and duped into believing we are way ahead of that enemy’s game.
But a murder rate is not a true indicator of what is really happening among our youth and young men in a broader sense. In one day, two are killed and what a tragic loss this is… but in the one day, we also see how many more young men are rejoicing in the killings, endorsing the murders and prepared to keep on taking lives and creating havoc.
Crime and criminality is not a Turks and Caicos problem. But the ongoing spree of violence – which we have seen is unafraid of threatening preachers, teachers, executives, government ministers, law enforcers, grand-mothers, little children or tourists and guests – begs the question, are we doing enough? Are we finding creative and effective ways to represent a life of rightness and discourage a life of wrongness. Are we there for each other at those critical, pivotal, life-shaping times. Is there enough energy toward empathy? Are we investing the time, creating an equitable environment and are we willing to invest the sweat today to shape the Turks and Caicos we want for tomorrow?
I do not believe we are there. I want to be wrong. I need to be wrong.