An eight-year-old boy is now an orphan after his only surviving parent, Francis Stafford, was shot dead near his home in Oropune Gardens, Piarco.
While police investigate the death of the child’s father, family members now have task of deciding who will take care of the child. Relatives who spoke to Newsday yesterday would not reveal the boy’s name, but called him by his nickname, “Boom Bang.”
The child, who goes to a primary school on Besson Street, in Port of Spain, witnessed his mother’s stabbing death in 2015 and now has to deal with the death of his father. Relatives called on police and government agencies to provide him with counselling, fearing that dealing with both his parents’ deaths at such a tender age could be detrimental to his emotional and mental stability.
“This child needs tender loving care,” said Stafford’s mother. “Or else he will go down the wrong path. He also needs to leave Trinidad, because of everything that has happened to him down here, it would be safer if he went away.”
Boom Bang’s first brush with death occurred in April 2015 when his mother, 28-year-old Nikita Griffin, was killed by a jealous lover. Griffin had just returned to her Clifton Hill, Port of Spain apartment at around 5.30, having just returned from a party, when she met her lover and got into an argument. She was stabbed several times in the presence of her children including Boom Bang. In the aftermath of her death, the child was left in limbo.
Squabbles over who should take care of him were so intense that he had to leave school. Stafford eventually signed full custody over to Griffin’s mother, who now lives in the United States. However, he stayed in Trinidad and was being taken care of by Stafford and other relatives and his girlfriend, Marjorie. “No matter where he was, he made sure that he took care of his child,” said his mother. “And his girlfriend (Marjorie) was like a mother to him. She made sure he got back into a school and made sure he was well taken care of.” But just before midnight on Thursday, Boom Bang lost his second parent.
Stafford, father of two and a CEPEP worker, was sitting in the stairway of Building 19, Fifth Street, Oropune Circular, Oropune Gardens, with a friend. Just then a woman, came to the apartment building and said she could not get into her house.
Stafford and the friend went to keep her company while she was trying to get in. Just then, gunmen arrived and started shooting. Stafford ran, but was chased and shot several times.