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TRIBUTE TO LATORE FROM COLLEAGUE ANDREW BURROWS

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By Andrew Burrows, buy viagra for sale Director of News Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas.

 

(The photos show a portrait of the late Latore Mackey and his remains being removed from the scene of his death.)

 

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Latore Mackey

At 5:15 AM, discount viagra patient my phone rang. I had an early morning call time to shoot the first day of Shock Treatment season 2 but this was too early. Something else must be going on I thought. I looked at my caller ID, it was Devard Francis. I knew right then that something bad had happened. The conversation was very short. Devard: “Andrew. Latore Mackey was just murdered.” Me: “You gotta be shitting me. Really?” Devard: “Really.” Me: “Okay, I’m on my way”. I hung up. It couldn’t have lasted more than 15 seconds.

I checked my messages. There were none but there was one message in WhatsApp. It was Paul Rolle, head of CDU. The message didn’t contain names, just that a male, late 30s fatally wounded White Road off Market Street in the Grove.

I got a feeling that I had almost a year ago when a similar call came around 10 PM with the news that Kurt McCartney had been killed. For me, it’s an uncomfortable feeling of knowing that my brain and my soul were about to have an intense debate on whether to go to the scene to do my job as a professional or as a friend/colleague. It is impossible to do both at once. I knew which role I had to take on but still, it was a debate that raged in my head as I drove to the scene, camera in hand and phone working intensely on gathering information. I had a reporter on scene and was working on another cameraman since I’d only be the backup. Remember, Shock Treatment?

As I drove, I called up members of the SIU team of which Latore was a member. First was Nikki Simmons. Then Aarone Sargent. Then Joette Penn. They know what SIU means. I wanted to call Delgardo Mr. Professorial Forbes, Paulette Zonicle Dwight Hart Burton Wallace Sen. Joseph Curry & Allyson GibsonElcott Coleby and Faith Hall but I wanted to remain professional and opted not to. Julian Reid called me. I promised to call him once I got eyes on confirmation but we both knew that Latore was gone.

I am stunned still and still in a daze that I doubt I will exit soon. My brain functions in a peculiar way with moments of utter sadness for me. I compartmentalize the grief and I focus on my professional task first and foremost. Then I release and feel it all. I know that this one would be tough because of what I am in the midst of doing with Shock Treatment. Latore was a major proponent of this program and fully supported our effort to try something to help our young men. He wanted the program to be more intense. He wanted a full on national youth service kind of program.

I couldn’t cry, although when I woke Mrs. Burrows to tell her what was up, I had no idea a tear had escaped. I didn’t notice the stream until I was brushing my teeth. My soul was winning the physical debate with my brain. I was deep in organizing in my head, the possibility of the narratives Genea Noel-Ferguson and I would go over when I got on scene

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. I thought of the irony of it all. She was the first reporter to respond to my Whatsapp and it wasn’t a secret that she and Latore had a difficult working relationship. Two intensely focused pros going at it 24/7 without letting up. She and I bonded over a run in with Latore when I first arrived at ZNS. She said she respected me for the conversation she witnessed between he and I when I went to battle for her.

What Genea didn’t see or know or hear is that Latore was the kind of person who lived for the battle and the debate. He respected the process and had the highest regard for people who fought hard for their points like he did for his. I personally felt he respected Genea tremendously but would challenge her at every step. Nothing personal. That was just his way. I think I even told her as much to little avail. I do remember telling her “I bet he was smiling the whole time he was threatening to make sure you were “spoken to” by me…”

And now he is gone. I can’t say that I miss him though. Because my brain is still in charge and I’m still in that mode. I have to go to Her Majesty’s Prison this morning with the boys. There is a 10 year old who says he’s in a gang. There is a 16 year old who says he plans to terrorize the people who put him in the program…his mother and sisters. The same one who smiles with glee as a mother talks about how her son was gunned down as the country’s first murder of the year, a boy only 17 at the time. I know the prison officers will be rough on him. I can’t think about Latore when I go to prison this morning. My brain won’t let me.

I’m hoping and praying however, that my soul doesn’t betray me again when I enter those gates cameras rolling. There are no tears in the belly of the beast. But I will be subconsciously thinking about Mr. Mackey and how a promising future was abruptly ended because of this disease of violence in our land. I won’t point any fingers because it’s pointless if I’m not prepared to do anything about it.

When this is over, I will take a moment to give control to my soul. I will think about how we joked, fought, joked and fought some more. I will think about how the rest of us SIU used to “do the Mohawk” and beat box dance music or sing “What is Love” during the campaign when Latore went into “Limelight” mode. I will think about how easy it was to get him to “volunteer” for any task as long as a camera was involved and a chance to hear his name called. I will think about the only real argument we had during the campaign when he felt we were picking on him and Allyson brought us all to the table. We never had any kind of serious disagreements that were personal. He was who he was and I am who I am. I never judged him on anything. I admired his drive. He complained about the hours but I knew he loved every moment of it. He laughed when I called him Fonzworth after the “umbrella video” came out.

 

When this is over, I will take a moment to feel sad but also to smile and laugh at his jokes and observations. I’m smiling now. My soul understands.

latoremackey