Nancy Johnson sat in her Diego Martin apartment yesterday and shed a soft tear for her dead son Jason.
It's been more than 11 years now, but the mother's pain never goes away. In fact, the hurt was further awakened this week, not just because of Mother's Day on Sunday. In a dramatic move, family members, sympathisers and friends took the matter to the political circuit. They placarded a United National Congress (UNC) election campaign meeting in St Joseph, at which candidate Herbert Volney was a featured speaker. Volney, as a High Court judge, had presided over the legal trial a decade ago, at which young Brad Boyce faced a manslaughter charge. Boyce was eventually freed of the charge. In an interview at her Diego Martin Main Road apartment, Johnson said she would not like to see St Joseph constituents place a red finger for Volney.
"No, no, no. That is the judge who freed the person with respect to my son's death," she said. An emotional Johnson said: "It was just like yesterday to me. We are anti-Volney. I am tired. It was election time when my son was alive. I visited them and voted UNC. I am seeking compensation for my son's death," she said in a raspy voice. Jason was a waiter at a casino in Woodbrook, when he was struck on the head on September 1, 1998. The incident occurred outside the Edge nightclub at Long Circular Mall. He died on September 16, at San Fernando General Hospital. Boyce was said to have told Johnson he and his friends were banned from entering the club.
Boyce, 21, of Bel Air Gardens, La Romaine, was later acquitted by Justice Volney at Port-of-Spain Assizes for the unlawful killing of Johnson. Boyce is now residing abroad. Volney was speaking Monday night at George Earle Park, St Joseph, when a number of placard bearers protested close to the platform. Protesters included Stephen Johnson, brother of slain Jason Johnson. The urn with her son's ashes was yesterday placed on the dining room table. A placard read: "Remember Brad Boyce? Remember the victim Jason Johnson–Volney Must Answer," stood tall against a wall on top a buffet. Nancy, small in stature and dressed all in black, yesterday was the picture of hurt, mere days before Mother's Day. Her brown eyes were void of emotion as she took a drink of her rum and pear drink and took a pull on a cigarette.
"I have to drink to sleep and take a smoke," Johnson said. She said she will not join her son Stephen and protest against Volney. "Brad Boyce mash up my family...We separated after that," she said. "My children did not want to go to school, although they had passes. I am not a person to do harm to anybody. He didn't spend one night in jail. He was in the infirmary for the entire time." Tears came to her eyes as she kissed a cross around her neck. She said in a low voice: "God can forgive. I can forgive him, but I can never forget." Stephen said he did not orchestrate the protest. "Two friends told me we were going to protest my brother's death," he said. "All I know is I walked straight into a UNC meeting. I try to put my brother's death behind me but it is still there." He said he had his head bowed throughout the protest.