See links to parts 1 & 2 respectively:
By Akola Thompson
GIVING up the idea of having a comfortable life overseas, as he always ended up in trouble, William Samuel Bremner decided that he would try his luck back home in Guyana.
Learning, upon his return, that his mother had returned from Canada for a few months’ stay, Samuel decided to return to the home from which he had escaped at the age of 12.
Despite no longer being afraid of his stepfather, Samuel related, there was a sense of unease in going back to the house, but the urge to see his mother was stronger.
“The door was open, so I just went in,” he said. “My brother was the first to see me, but he didn’t recognise me, and asked me who I was.”
When he realised it was his long lost brother, whom they had thought had died, there were shouts of excitement and gestures as Samuel was taken to his mother’s waiting arms.
“She was just crying all the time,” he laughed, “and I ask her: ‘lady, wa you crying so for?’ But it was because she think I had died.”
Asked if he had felt a sense of betrayal that his mother was still with someone whom she presumed had caused the death of her son, Samuel said no. “They were still together yes, but they weren’t really together, she just stayed because,” he said.
Knowing that he could not stay in the home because of the still strained relationship with his stepfather, Samuel opted to stay in hotels during the first few nights, despite his mother’s protestations. With his funds quickly dwindling, however, and with an ardent desire to never return to a life of crime, Samuel managed to secure a job as a buffet manager at the Pegasus hotel. According to Samuel, there was one woman there who was not quite fond of him, as she had wanted the position of buffet manager. So, one day, upon hearing him converse with a visitor in a foreign tongue, she told one of the managers that he was being disrespectful to guests. The manager summoned Samuel upon receiving the complaint, and proceeded to berate him. Samuel, feeling targeted, walked off the job and never returned.
Once again in the job market, Samuel, upon the advice and recommendation of a friend, began working at a local mining company in the interior. However, the mining company had an ongoing disagreement with the Government over the amount of royalty to be paid, and its operations were eventually halted when it had just a couple more days of work in order to secure a significant gold find, which was later discovered by foreign miners.
With the little money he had saved up, Samuel decided that, instead of working for others, he would work for himself; and so he began hunting for prospective mine claims he could purchase. Eventually, two men whom he would occasionally see around Essequibo approached him and told him that they had two mining claims to sell.
“They showed me some samples and I thought it was good, but it was really my fault what they did; I was gullible,” he said, seemingly still in despair. Investing all his money, Samuel bought the claims from the men, only to realize that the land was not valuable and that they had showed him false samples.
“I was bitter for a very long time over that,” said Samuel. “I was trying to make myself and other people decided they would break me.”
From then on, Samuel would do odd jobs so as to keep himself clothed, housed and fed, but the anger over the worthless claims never dissipated.
It was one year later when, by pure chance, Samuel saw one of the men who had wronged him. “I went up to him,” he said, “and I asked him to give me one good reason why he had done what he did; an you know what he tell me? He tell me to go f**k myself. That was the mistake he made.”
In a sudden fit of anger, Samuel said, he stabbed the man 16 times about his torso, and immediately thereafter walked to the nearest police station and turned himself in, as he believed he had killed the man. He would later learn that the man had not died, but he was charged with attempted murder and put away for close to seven years.
At the end of his sentence, Samuel came out of the penitentiary a changed man. For better or worse, prison had changed the way he thought and interacted with people.
With no money, no possessions, and nowhere to go, Samuel once again found himself at the back of Stabroek Market, from whence he had run away when he was 12. “That was the point at which I really began living on the road,” he explained.
He recognised many of the men with whom he used to play when they were children. “We had all grown up,” he said. “Who weren’t thieves were murderers or rapists.”
Believing himself to be a failure in life, Samuel related, depression, for the first time, set in on him, causing him to go down a path from which he has still not returned.