Fourteen-year-old Luke Williams, who was shot dead on Monday at Singh’s Liquor Mart in St James, had many challenges socially and domestically.
This was disclosed by his school’s football coach Reginald Chritchlow during an interview with Guardian Media yesterday.
Critchlow said he had to also play a father role to Williams. “I don’t live in his community down by The Harp but I realise there were a lot of challenges because many times I had to play a father role, as any coach would have to do at some point in time in trying to mentor the fellas and keep them in a particular way.”
He added: “The most important thing I used to tell them and him too was that, yes football has all this glory, but it is critical for you to concentrate on your school work because football is a contact sport and one can be injured, so I tried to point him to that, I love football and you love football but there is a thing that we must understand that we have to support the football with the capacity to live. And in that regard, I tried to mentor him and others.”
Critchlow admitted that many times Williams would not have been in school but would be seen liming in Port-of-Spain.
He said, “Now if he not coming training as regular and not coming to school as regular, I would have a problem to play him because others would say coachman what is that he wasn’t here for training and so on and you still giving him the chance but I also don’t wanna deny him cause I knew he had challenges.”
“He had challenges so I tried to work with him and give him the support to make him feel loved and comfortable but it always feels like it is not you alone talking, it feels like others had his ear also...So taking that into consideration, I would try to talk to him one on one and tell him aye, be careful outside there. There are people who will use you if they get the chance, to use you for their gains,” Critchlow added.
He also said Williams enjoyed playing music and had told him that he would go play music in parties, “but then I would tell him if he’s out playing music at all hours of the week, how can he come to school.
He would say coachman doh worry.
“I can’t tell him what to do. I can only advise. Because let’s be real, financially I don’t know what is his situation at home. The talk is his mother is a police officer, which I am aware but still that may not mean that you can take care of all your children in a manner that you may feel satisfied, but we also aware and it is my responsibility to understand certain things because I can’t give him my blessing to do them things. I have to tell him what is right and I can only advise repeatedly advise.”
Critchlow said he strongly believes that society is to blame and not “mummy and daddy”. “It is the society that led to this. Now that is not to say a single parent can’t bring up a single child or more but it’s not easy and can’t be done all the time.”
Critchlow strongly believes that had he not met his demise as early as this probably T&T would have seen the development of a good footballer.
Chritchlow said he coached him for about two or three years in the Under 14 and Under 16 teams. “He was an excellent little footballer and any coach that would have seen him would have seen the skill set and potential to be a good football player,” he said.
Yesterday, Singh’s Liquor Mart reopened for business as usual.
During the day, police officers were seen conducting routine patrols and walk-in checks on the workers and operators of the establishment.
When approached Guardian Media was verbally abused by an ageable man dressed in a yellow jersey who claimed that what was reported in the media was fabricated.
However, he declined to say what happened minutes before Williams and his 32-year-old friend, Claude Sandy, 18, who were both unarmed, were shot by the businessman who used his licensed firearm.
Police officers found no gun on the scene and in Sandy’s car.
A woman, who was in the shop told the Guardian Media, she was told by the police not to give any comment.
But, a police officer during one of his checkup visits confirmed that since the incident Singh and family members have received several death threats.