BELIZE CITY, Wed. Nov. 16, 2016–The heartbreaking murder of Tyler Savery, 7, who is the fourth of five Belizean children to be killed in the last 6 weeks, has forced the Belizean community to take a closer look at the ever-intensifying gun violence amongst us, which has gotten to the point where not even children are safe anymore.
It has also given Savery’s mother, Shakera Young, a platform on which to speak, as an agent of change.
Today, Wednesday, the life of young Savery was celebrated at his favorite place, the BTL Park.
His family, friends and classmates, as well as distinguished public figures, all attended a short church service held at the park and later marched through the streets of Belize City – stopping along the way at the specific location where a gunman shot Tyler once in the chest while he was on his way to buying a milkshake.
The spot where he fell was decorated with a milkshake, some candles and a photo of the smiling child.
The march ended at the BTL Park, where several balloons attached with encouraging Bible verses were released in his memory.
His body was later transported out of Belize City for cremation.
Shakera Young, his mother, told our newspaper, “I have had tremendous support. I must say that and I want to sincerely thank everybody … I chose cremation because that is my way of accepting that my son is gone. You know, dust you are and to dust you shall return. I will take my son home. I will keep him in his urn. I will put his cars around him. I will keep him happy at home. I will take him where I go. I will travel with him and I will continue keeping my baby safe.”
We also spoke to Belize City Councilor Deon Leslie, who had been a close friend of Leon Savery, Tyler’s father, who had died two years ago in another act of gun violence.
For Leslie, this has absolutely nothing to do with partisan politics. He told us, “I knew Tyler from basically when he was born. His father, who passed away couple years ago due to gun violence, was a close friend of mine, so when I got the news, I broke down. It’s pretty hard, but I hope as a nation, as a city, as people, as brothers and sisters, that we were not numb to this. This isn’t just another case of someone got killed, we bury him, we move on through our day. I hope we haven’t gotten to that stage that we are so numb that we can’t feel anymore.”
“The only comfort I have is that I spoke to Tyler’s grandfather, Mr. Savery, and he told me that the night it happened, he dreamt that Tyler came to him in his dream and said ‘Grandpa, don’t worry, don’t cry grandpa, I’m with my dad.’ He always wanted to be with his dad,” Leslie added.
Also present was the PUP Fort George chairman, Henry Usher.
“Condolences to the family; it’s very sad to see what we have today. I’m a little emotional about it because I remember when that young man was born. My wife and [his mom] were in the hospital the same time, but condolences to the family and we really have to do better in our society,” he said.
Also present was the PUP’s Caribbean Shores, area representative, Kareem Musa.
“I’m here first and foremost as a father. I have two young boys. It’s just incredible the amount of emotions you feel out here today. It’s really sad, but at the same time, it’s a powerful message that is being sent by Ms. Shakera Young. She is going through so much; she has lost four family members to gun violence. It is just really heart-wrenching to see that,” Musa said.
Musa also added, “We as politicians, we have to listen to what Shakera Young is saying. We have to be able to put aside our differences as individuals in society. We have to be able to live in peace with one another.”
While a ceremony has been held in celebration of Tyler’s life and a candlelight vigil is scheduled for Friday night, Porshan Pipersburgh, his cousin who was also shot and killed the same day, is to be buried on Saturday.
According to Mrs. Dianne Finnegan, the Director of the Youth Apprenticeship Program, she met Pipersburgh several years ago when he had signed up as an apprentice.
“I worried about him because I knew of his weakness; we’ve spoken about everything. He has called me even to help him with a drug deal. That’s how connected we were. Chief Magistrate Ann Marie, he has been in front of her court so many times that she actually says,’ I don’t want to see him anymore’. So when he became a productive, hardworking young man, she smiled,” she recollected.
She told our newspaper that the slain Pipersburgh was a good kid who longed for attention and love from his father, and when he failed to get that, he turned to alcohol.
“All he wanted was his dad. I remember he called me one day and he said, ‘Mrs. D, my dad just passed me by City Council, and I am hollering for him and he didn’t look,’ and that hurt him, because instantly, he went for what comforted him, and that was his drink,” she told us.