Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Look at my Brother.

“Everyday me look at him, me a cry blood. Dis ting a hut me. Look wa me do to me own flesh and blood, me brother. Me chop am up real bad,” said the tear stricken man. Wa, de man chop up he own brother! Yes!
Boats at the #78 Village Market Koker.During the late 70s and 80s, there was the contraband trade between Guyana and Suriname. Anything that could fit in a Guyanese style fishing boat was fair game. This was mostly dry goods including flour, peas, and sardines. The boats were made of wood and powered by an outboard motor. These little floating coffins could out run and out smart the not so well equipped Guyana Police Force. Boat engineMost of these smugglers were initially poor fishermen trying to make ends meet. Eventually this little side business became the driving force behind an economic revival in Berbice and the country as a whole. More people got involved and the smuggling business took off. Shady characters of all forms spun their web of deceit and treachery. A lot of these people are now prominent honest, clean businessmen. Others continue in one form or the other in illegal smuggling. Though I am told these days the cargo is people, guns, ammunition, and drugs.  Either legal or illegal, the smuggler’s haven of Springlands, Skeldon, Line Path, and Crabwood Creek that was once after thought villages is now a very vibrant destination with brand spanking new shinny houses, restaurants, shops, hotels and drugs.
The contraband trade also bread a new type of person. The type of person would do what the nice business men would not dare do with their churches, mosques, and mandirs looking on. This is the modern day version of a river pirate. This person did as the old time European pirates. He was the captain of a similar Guyanese style fishing vessel but was armed with cutlasses, pitch forks, shovels, axes, and knives. He lead a small band of similar minded thugs. These guys had one thing on their minds, hijack a loaded boat and take the cargo. Some sold to the highest bidder others to their masters. It was the darkest of men who were pirates. The masterminds behind the piracy got richer and the pirates,  who were not caught and convicted, stayed poor and helpless. One such person was the teary eyed sad man in front of me crying about what he did to his brother.
One night during a drunken brawl the big time river pirate got so angry and unforgiving of his younger brother that he drew the shinny pirate cutlass and chopped him half to death. Literally! Look at the cuts on his armsOne of his legs was hanging by the skin, before medical aid could get to him he lost the leg. His arms were severely chopped with bone deep cuts. His back and ass were severely cut. Look at that cut on his back
He laided months in a hospital bed never expecting to live. Now, by a miracle he is still alive. He walks on crutches and has nagging pains all the time. Of course, alcohol is his pain killer. Whenever, the pain comes he drinks it away.
While he was in the hospital his wife left him and their little daughter. As time when on and he healed physically there remained that mental image of his own brother chopping him mercilessly. There have been several drunken outbursts from both brothers who just can’t get over this dreadful situation. The little girl is now 14 years old and still holds a grudge against her uncle for making her father unable to provide for her. At the judicial hearing the younger brother dropped all charges letting his older brother return to providing for his family. The older brother has since turned his life around and gotten a regular job that provides honest income for his family.
These two brothers have not spoken directly to each other since the incident. At a recent family function the younger brother asked his older brother to have a drink with him. The older brother looked at him and with shame in his voice said that he was not drinking, yet. Later that evening, sitting across from me with bloody tears in his eyes the big bad pirate pledged to always look out for his younger brother even though they do not talk. He is stunned that his brother can find forgiveness in his heart. “Look at what me do to me brother and he still want to talk to me,” said the stone cold pirate, soften with age and mercy.