‘I pray, I cry’: Mother hoped for safe return of son electrocuted during fruit raid


By Sharda Bacchus


After a long day out seeing to the construction of her new home at Belle West, Canal No.1, West Bank Demerara, Sharon Jones retired on her living room couch watching television. It was December 5 last year. Rain had stopped the work earlier than anticipated.

Her son Hakeen, or Shaquille as she calls him, and one of his brothers helped her with the construction earlier in the day. Shaquille, 22, was home too, but then a friend came calling and he left. And that’s the last image Sharon Jones has of her son alive.

He didn’t say where he was going, and she didn’t ask. She eventually went to bed, but, like any other regular day, she’d expect him back home. When she got up the next morning, he was not at home. But she still figured he would return. Hours turned into days and days turned into weeks. Then months. But nothing.

In her mind something dreadful had happened; she imagined various scenarios of what could have happened. What if this…or what if that? In her heart though, she held on to hope like a crutch to help her pass each agonising moment.

Then came Monday, February 26. There was news – the news that she had dreaded.

Sharon Jones

Charred remains, suspected to be those of Shaquille, were discovered. There were human bones, including what appeared to be a skull, in a fire heap in an empty lot at Cone Shop Street, La Grange, West Bank Demerara.  The heap also had several pieces of burnt tyres, a burnt denim jeans and an underwear.

What happened to Hakeen Shaquille John?

One of his friends, a 16-year-old, went to the La Grange Police Station on Sunday. He told Police he went with Shaquille and another friend to pick fruits from a farm.

He told Police the farm raid happened in November last year, but Sharon knew she last son her son on December 5. So, the dates don’t add up. But that’s an aside.

What else did the friend say?

He, Shaquille and the other friend were caught by the owner of the farm, and he chased them with a cutlass.  During that chase, Shaquille tried to scale the fence and was electrocuted.

They tried to remove Shaquille’s body from the fence but they didn’t manage to and so they hid behind a mango tree until the next morning.

That morning, the farmer took a bed sheet, wrapped Shaquille’s body and dragged him more into the farm, before disappearing.

End of story – so far.

But the 16-year-old kept that story to himself – until Monday. We don’t know yet what caused him to walk into the Police Station.

But if his story is correct, he hid that from Sharon Jones. She asked him about Shaquille but got nothing. The same with the countless calls to everyone whom she knew could know anything about Shaquille.

During her quest for answers, she heard conflicting stories of Shaquille’s possible whereabouts. They include the possibility that he went with the friend to work in the interior.

The area where the charred remains suspected to be those of Jones were found (Photo: News Room/February 27, 2024)

While Shaquille travel to the interior to work from time to time, Sharon told the News Room that she found it strange that he would do so without informing her.

So she said she tried to remain hopeful that he would call someday. But he never did.

“I pray every day and ask God let Shaquille come home. Let him give me a call and let me know how far he deh. I pray and I cry. Sometime I go to work and I crying, I pray. I seh ‘God, let Shaquille come back to meh’. Even self if he tek two year in the bush or how much year, bring him back home nah,” Sharon told the News Room during an interview on Wednesday.

As time passed, Sharon said she continued to enquire about her son’s whereabouts when she learnt that the other friend allegedly went into hiding and resurfaced late January this year.

Upon learning this, she contacted him but he maintained that he did not know about Shaquille, that they had “split up.”

“They run and they gone and they leave my son. Me son dead, bury, burn up. Close to three months then I get to know.

“If he get shock, why they didn’t come and tell me? Why you run away and leave him there? I don’t know the pain my child was going through that night when I in me bed laying down.”

Police have arrested the owner of the farm, a 59-year-old farmer of La Grange. He has reportedly confessed to removing Shaquille’s body which was “hooked up” on his electric fence, which he has since demolished.

The 16-year-old is also in Police custody, but it is unclear if Police are or will pursue the other friend.

Sharon believes there is more to her son’s death that the electrocution.

“I feel somebody murder my son…they willfully murder my son… and then they lied, they tried to cover it up,” she said.

Sharon is demanding justice in the death for her youngest child.

“I want justice for my son because it look like if they murder my son. I raise me children them without a father. Me is mother and father for me children them from day one. That is meh heartbeat.

“Meh son gone. I can’t hear he voice…God got to give me faith to get through this,” she cried.

1 Comment
  1. Matthew says

    This story smells to high heaven. First an electric fence is not designed to kill. Secondly why would the boys not tell the truth? Their story smells terrible and it appears something else occurred.

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