I always knew “Beans” as Patrick Lawrence, but our newspaper referred to him in our Friday issue as Patrick “Lewis.” I assume that “Lewis” must be his mother’s surname.
This is a difficult column for me to write, because my knowledge of Beans, where his overall life is concerned, is sketchy. In a Facebook post on Friday, Glenn Tillett did a very good job of remembering Beans, but he was focused on the 1990s mostly, and on Beans’ presence at our newspaper and his role in semi-pro basketball with the Raiders. I guess Glenn, like myself, is short of biographical details.
Beans attended St. Joseph’s Primary School in Cinderella Town; I believe he was also at St. John’s College for a while. He was a huge youth, a man child really, and he entered the street world when he was still just a young teenager. In his prime, I think Beans weighed 300 pounds. He must have been six foot three or six foot four.
His physical size gave Beans a lot of confidence. He was comfortable in any setting, because nobody could intimidate him in any way.
I don’t know when Beans went to New York and became linked with Roy “Bullet” Craig, who was the kingpin on 123rd Street in Manhattan. As far as I can figure out, Beans became Bullet’s bodyguard, or one thereof.
Anyway, what happened to 123rd was that the Feds infiltrated the organization and busted a lot of Belizeans who had been handling big money. I don’t know if this is how Beans ended up in jail, but he did some years in a New York state penitentiary during the 1980s.
He told me that he wrote us while in jail and asked us to send him a copy of our weekly newspaper, which, according to him, we did.
Beans always told me that he began to hang out with a radical black group in prison whose leader was one Albert Washington. But when I tried to get some Google information on Washington for this particular column, the name came up as that of a musician. Yet, I remember some years ago getting some biographical facts about the name as being that of a black radical. This may be “my bad” somewhere.
When Beans returned to Belize after prison, deported I assume, he worked with Santino’s on New Road before drifting back here and beginning a career as the crowd voice of the championship Raiders.
The bottom line is that he was very loyal to Kremandala. At what point he became hooked on crack cocaine, I would not know, but I assume it happened while he was in the States living the street life. Beans could be a bother when he was high, but bottom line, to repeat, he was always very loyal to us.
Beans was a colorful personality, and knew a lot of things. For several years, he would visit my home on Boxing Day, and I learned many things from him. I was his student. At my home, Beans was welcome, because he and my wife knew each other from their childhoods, the reason being that Beans’ mom and my wife’s dad worked together at the original Fort George Hotel for many years.
Beans had about seven operations for hernias, and my daughter, Jacinta, told me on Friday that he had also had many operations on his lungs. He was a fearless guy. He lived life to the fullest, and his lifestyle took a toll on his body.
The famous English poet, John Milton, one time wrote disparagingly of “cloistered virtue.” What he was saying, I think, is that some people may not indulge in sin because they are not really given the opportunity. Put it another way: they are scared. Beans was huge and he was fearless: he could and would do anything he wanted.
My wife told me that on his deathbed Beans told Suzette Massiah that he wanted me to do his eulogy. I will try my best, of course, but this is a man who did not live a “cloistered” life. In church, one can’t tell it like it is. You know that.
Respect, Beans. Rest in peace, my brother.