It seemed uncanny when 25-year-old mechanic, Kemar Samuels, asked a pastor, on Wednesday: “Pastor, you ever bury anybody yet?” Surprised, the pastor enquired, “What, why you asking me that?” He responded, “If mi dead you woulda…,” and he stopped short, “don’t worry.” So, did he have a premonition of an evil foreboding? Because 24 hours later, on Thursday, Samuels was brazenly gunned down at his workplace on McCatty Street, Montego Bay.
Samuels’ fervent dream of leaving to go overseas on the work programme to pursue a better life was dashed, as his young life was snuffed out as he did what he loved best, fixing cars. He was the main mechanic for his boss, Garnet ‘Eyes’ Edwards, operator of Eyes Garage.
Kemar was at work on Thursday about 4:30, when two men entered the garage asking for a car part to purchase. A worker reportedly advised them that they do not sell the part and referred them to an auto parts store.
Upon leaving the garage, one of the men reportedly pulled a gun and opened fire hitting Samuels in the head, forcing the other workers to scamper to safety.
The death of the young mechanic, who attended the HEART Trust immediately after high school, has left his father, Lizel Samuels, with whom he lived, and his younger brother at Rose Heights, traumatized and bewildered.
“It has made me sick, sick. I’m torn up, mi can’t eat, mi caan sleep, mi pressure gone up, mi can hardly survive because when mi look and si mi baby gone lef mi, because a him should bury me, now me have fi go bury him. Mi nuh know how fi manage,” the elder Samuels bewailed.
He said if Kemar had friends, he was not aware because none came to the house, as he was home from work watching sports or playing music.
“I have never seen a friend come to the house. I don’t know of him in any conflict.
Kemar’s mother, who lives in St. Elizabeth; overwhelmed at the news, fainted upon hearing of his demise and was taken to hospital for treatment.
He was the first child of three for his parents, a younger sister who is 17 years and a brother age 15.
Eyes Garage was closed for business on Friday as Edwards said he was too shaken to do anything, and some of the workers, traumatized by the ordeal, stayed away.
“I can’t move, I can’t do a thing. I could not stay at home because the vibes would be too strong so I come here; but the gate is closed and no work is taking place,” said Edwards.
He described Samuels as the consummate professional, always early and would not be absent unless sick or would have asked permission for time off.
“Kemar was my chief mechanic, he was punctual, he was the person who did not like to be disturbed. I could leave him working on an engine and he would not leave it until it was complete. He was very professional.”
“The garage will not be the same without Kemar. He reminded me of myself. He left school and came straight to look work and he took it seriously,” Edwards shared.
He said it was Wednesday that Kemar was reading the Western Mirror and talking about June being the bloodiest month and saying he was not going to stay in Jamaica and that he wanted to go away on the Canadian Work programme.
“Now that dream is lost forever,” Edwards concluded.