The last days of O'Neil Grant
Nov 12, 2007 04:30 AM
KINGSTON, Jamaica–O'Neil Grant woke up on the last day of his life with a powerful urge to sing.
He sang all morning. He made up lyrics non-stop, a rap performance that had the children in his girlfriend's home breathless with laughter.
By all accounts, Grant, 37, was hardworking and mild-mannered. But he was haunted by his 2002 deportation from Canada, despite being acquitted of killing Georgina "Vivi" Leimonis, murdered during a botched robbery at a Just Desserts café on Davenport Rd. in 1994.
He felt cheated out of the country he called home for 20 years, and cheated out of the family he left behind in Toronto – a common-law wife, three children with different women, his mother and his siblings.
Note - In case you missed it I'll recap. O'Neil Grant, who was deported back to Jamaica and deservedly so, had a girlfriend in Kingston, Jamaica's capital city. Back in Toronto he had a common law wife and three children by different women. Keep this in mind.
In Jamaica, where he spent the first 12 years of his life, he struggled with the stigma of being a deportee. Rare was the day he didn't express his longing to return to Canada. He called his children in Toronto, aged 12 to 18, every day. His close friends often saw Grant reduced to tears by his predicament.
More than anything else, his girlfriend was days away from giving birth to his child. Barred from seeing his children in Canada, he would now have one in Jamaica.
Note - All right, now Mr. Grant has a common law wife in Toronto and has three children by different women. Back in Jamaica he found himself a girlfriend and is having another child with her. Now there's a man who knows family values. This kind of behaviour is common, perhaps cultural, for Jamaica and unfortunately Jamaican immigrants do the same thing here and thus sow the seeds for gang activity and gun violence. It starts with the family people!
He was off to see his bedridden grandmother in a town about 100 kilometres north. It's a trip he made every two or three weeks to renew her prescriptions, buy her food and a new batch of diapers.
He sat in the busy open-air terminal waiting for a bus. He was on his cellphone when a short man in his mid-20s approached him from behind and pumped a bullet in the back of his neck at close range. He fired two more shots, one hitting Grant in the chest and the other in the arm.
Nothing was stolen. Police say the killing looks like a targeted hit.
"He was wanted and they came and got him," says Det. Robert Thompson, who is investigating the case, adding he has no idea who wanted Grant dead or why.
Police say the killer followed Grant to the bus station and was confronted by police officers after the shooting. A gun battle broke out in the middle of a crowded street, but the shooter escaped, says Insp. Eric Blake, who runs the Darling St. police station adjacent to the bus terminal.
The neighbourhood is controlled by the notorious Shower Posse, a gang that gets its name from the hail of bullets it unleashes against rivals. It's not the kind of place where people talk to police.
Grant had no criminal record in Jamaica and was unknown to police until his death, Thompson says. His friends insist he wasn't involved in shady dealings. Most puzzling to Thompson was the Toronto Star's interest in the killing. This, after all, is a country where this year some 1,200 people have so far been killed – 80 per cent of them with guns.
Police Supt. Harry Daley, sipping beer at a bar inside the West Kingston police station, speculated that someone in Toronto might have put a contract out on Grant.
"There's a connection between West Kingston and Toronto," he says. "They could hit him here from there."
In August 2001, two years after his acquittal, Grant was shot and badly injured on Lawrence Ave. W. by a person he said he didn't know.
Grant's friends want to believe he was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time, or the victim of mistaken identity. On the streets of his Kingston neighbourhood, some note Grant was romantically involved with two women at the same time, both with children from other men, and wonder if complications from the love triangle did him in.
Grant hadn't exactly been a model immigrant before his acquittal for manslaughter. He accumulated a string of criminal charges and in 1992 was handed a deportation order after convictions for drugs and assault with a weapon. A landed immigrant, he appealed and won a temporary stay: if he didn't commit a crime in five years the order would be lifted.
Note - Our immigration system at its finest.
At first he was shunned and ridiculed as a deportee, a group widely blamed for fueling Jamaica's crime rate. But the neighbourhood eventually accepted him, particularly the children.
Note - He is a statement from an earlier article: "Some observers associate the surge of violence with the large numbers of Jamaican criminals deported back to the island each year from the United States, Britain and Canada. Last year, the United States alone returned 1,196 criminals.”
Two years ago, Grant walked to the end of his street and asked Anthony Magnus for a job in his scrap metal yard. Magnus, 68, put him to work loading a trailer destined for China. Other days he had him separating copper and aluminum from engine parts. He liked what he saw and gave Grant a break.
"I found him to be hardworking, straight forward and honest," says Magnus, whose sister lives in Etobicoke.
Magnus, sitting behind a desk with a .38-calibre pistol by his side, says, "In Jamaica, you don't need to do anything to get killed. This is a violent society," he says.
Read the entire "puff piece" at The Toronto Star.
I don't know why The Toronto Star has a penchant for writing "puff pieces" about deceased thugs and criminals. Maybe it is supposed to be one of those "fallen through the cracks" stories we're supposed to get all emotional about and empathize with a man who victimized other people. Yeah, the Star is disgusting like that at times. Whatever the Star thinks about this man one thing is certain: he does not deserve to live in Canada. He is a Jamaican and behaved like so many other Jamaicans even in Canada. He belonged in Jamaica, not in my country.
Jamaica is a violent, crime ridden society. It is also a society of promiscuity as can be seen in the article. It is a culture of men having children by different women, women having children by different men, no father in the homes, children being raised in matriarchal households and they have brought this culture of promiscuity here to Toronto. This is a problem because fatherless households and households with children by different fathers is at the roots of gang culture. That's why much of the gun violence on Toronto's streets have a Jamaican connection. It is not a "black problem" but a Jamaican one. Where is the rationale in importing a culture such as this? How does this benefit Canadians let alone the country? Where is the political will to stop this?
Greater scrutiny is needed when it comes to immigrants especially immigrants from countries like Jamaica. Perhaps a moratorium if need be. Lower immigration numbers would also be beneficial. After meeting so many Jamaicans in Toronto I often wonder how the hell they ever get into the country.
Here are some interesting facts. Jamaica is an island nation of 2,651,000. There is an estimated 320,000 ex-pat Jamaicans living in Canada, about 12% of the Jamaican island population. Some 220,000 Jamaicans live in Toronto. There are more Jamaicans, per capita, living in Canada than in the U.S. or the U.K. Jamaica's murder rate places it in third place behind South Africa and Brazil.
More Jamaican fun!
Canada Needs Immigrants From Jamaica, Why?