Bage fatally shot in ‘traffic check’

Ronald Sylvester was killed by police during a "traffic check". Police say he failed to stop.

Castries Central MP Richard Frederick, the man who launched the ‘Peace and Love’ campaign was a big part of the reason Ronald Sylvester more notoriously known as “Bage” made a surprise radio appearance in February 2010.
Much like this year, in 2010, the homicide rate on island spiked in the early part of the year. By the end of January five people were dead. Richard Frederick indicated on the “Can I Help You” Radio 100 program he was hopeful the killing spree would stop. “Bage”, who was then seen as one of the men at the center of the conflict, agreed to the radio interview in the name of peace.
Thirty-six-year-old Ronald Sylvester had been identified as a suspect in homicides and other incidents, including a shooting on June, 15, 2009 on Venus Road, Anse La Raye that claimed the life of 56-year-old Ramchan Adjodha. Adjodha had been at home along with five other persons when several shots were fired at the house. As a result, all the occupants were injured and taken to the Victoria Hospital. Sylvester was one of five men who were taken into custody after the incident, but released due to lack of evidence.
On Monday, February 28, 2011 at about 4:30pm, police conducted an operation, which also involved a traffic check in the vicinity of Entrepot, Bagatelle/ Marchand area in Castries.
According to police reports, during the exercise, a black car driven by 36-year-old Ronald Sylvester also known as Reginald Jean aka “Bage” of Bagatelle, approached the police check point but failed to stop. He was shot in the process and police recovered a loaded firearm from the car.
Sylvester was taken to the Victoria Hospital where he was pronounced dead. The 36-year-old’s father appeared on the HTS evening news on Monday night and said he’d heard the gunshots that claimed his son’s life.
“I’ll tell you something, no matter who your child is. . . I’m not saying my son was good, but he was good to me. I was just trying to change his life around,” he said. “Just yesterday we were together. I dropped him by his home. I heard the gunshots from on top of the hill. To hear your son die, it’s a very hard thing. If the police had any warrant against him, up to yesterday I drove by the police station, dropped him by his home. He lives a few hundred yards from the police station, why you can’t get him? He’s somebody, he’s not in hiding. He’s up all about the place. A couple yards from the police station why can’t you arrest him?”
When the STAR met with “Bage” in 2010 he’d been nursing a gunshot wound to the arm. He was shot on January 25, 2010 outside a Rodney Bay bar and indicated it was not the first time.
“Forgiveness belongs to the Lord, so I can’t forgive anybody because I will not forget,” he said live on radio. “But at the end of the day I will let the law take its course and I don’t want nobody to feel that because I’m on air speaking, that I’m a coward.
On the show in 2010, Richard Frederick posed the question: “I have no doubt in my mind that you have placed a mask and probably fired a shot . . . That is what I believe. Am I right in believing so?”
Bage quickly dismissed the question:  “Well, it’s your belief. A belief is a doubt anyway.”
Phones in the studio were ringing off the hook that day, from people who wanted to show their support for Bage, if he truly meant to change his life for the better, and others who didn’t quite believe that he would.
“I would like to say bravo to Bage for taking the initiative. I find it’s a very big step he took, but how will he be protected?” one caller asked. “What method of justice, what can be assured that he in turn will be protected so he can keep his word? It’s a matter of saying one thing; he’s on the good side, but what about the others on the ‘bad side’ who want revenge?”
Richard Frederick promised he would not stop there and would do whatever was necessary to ensure “it goes beyond the boundaries.”
“I desire to ensure persons allegedly involved that all of us have our role to play,” the minister said.
When asked by talk show host Andre Paul whether he’d ever taken revenge over any particular thing in his life, and if it left him feeling justified, Bage responded: “Revenge, I think everyone has taken revenge for something. As long as you’re not the one that starts it off, if they do to you, you’ll always feel satisfied of what you’ve done. It doesn’t make a difference, as long as you satisfy yourself. Sometimes you do tend to say things to satisfy yourself, and then later on, think . . . that’s where the saying he who laughs last laughs the best come from.
“I’d stay there and say my little prayer and say, you know, Lord forgive me for what I’ve done wrong, to those I have done wrong, and forgive those who have done me wrong. Everybody has a conscience.”
Bage’s final words on last year’s radio show were: “Peace, and words of wisdom to try and heal the streets.”
Meanwhile, Human Rights attorney Martinus Francois is calling for a swift and intensive investigation for the fifth police killing for the year. Francois said on the RCI midday news yesterday that police must be held accountable to the law like any ordinary citizen and should not be allowed to get away with murder.
“If the police shoot somebody and they cannot justify it, it is murder,” he said. “There is no other way to describe it, it is murder. The police always get away with murder, they’re never brought to [justice], this is like a recurring decimal in this country, nothing happens but this must stop.”
Ronald Sylvester’s death brings the homicide rate to 17 for this year.

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