I was sitting at a restaurant in Rodney Bay sometime in December of 2012 when Sheffield Joseph approached me. He muttered something about needing me to check him before asking if he could join me. I agreed, and for the next half hour or so without prompting, he proceeded to give me a summary of his life, particularly his “hustling days” as he put it. It was quite an interesting story, including a theory he had that anyone can get into “the business of dealing,” as well as making it in Canada as a conduit for a number of big time “pushers” and then lose it all.
“I made a big investment while in Canada. I took most of the money I had made and put it into this one deal which seemed like a sure thing and would make me a millionaire, but I think I got a little greedy,” he told me. “I am just happy I have not lost my life. I am telling you, man, I just want to get away from all of this. I have a new woman now, she is guiding me – I think I wanna marry her. But to tell you the truth I want to concentrate on doing music,” he said.
He then added: “I just feel I can trust you, you are someone I can speak with on a different level,” recalling our first conversation in Toronto few years earlier. Back then Sheffield, known as the Sheriff, had been the opening act at a concert gala featuring Invader and Herb Black. It was our first interaction in years, after becoming familiar with him in Saint Lucia as one who would help various promoters with their events by distributing flyers and assisting back-stage with performers and DJ’s as well.
As often as time would permit, we would meet during the period December through March, getting together for updates as he allowed me to listen to the music he was working on. Often he would relate another chapter of his life story, adding that change was hard but he really wanted to turn his life around.
Sometime last month I reconnected with Sheffield, and after two meetings I told to convince me that he was serious about the music business. It would be two weeks before I would see him again, this time on Saturday at Delirius with a CD in hand.
“I told you I am serious, look I have a new track,” he yelled over the din of people talking and a blaring sound system. I would meet him again later that same night at nearby Gravity Club where we bumped fists and he asked me for a few bucks promising to pay me double on Monday. I gave to him not for once expecting anything back. On the several occasions we had met, Sheffield was always willing to be the one to pick up the tab even when I would decline. I left that night making a mental note to call him sometime this week to give a listen to his new music.
On Sunday evening, a friend who was to meet me at the cinema called and said there was a major accident at Bois D’Orange: traffic was backed up and he would be a few minutes longer. That was at about 9:40pm. On our way up north later, the police road markings were fresh, just a few feet from the entrance to Trouya where I live. A bike lay in the brushes by the road-side. Several persons milled around as officers tried to contain the traffic. That was around 10:00pm. It would be an hour later before I would find out who the victims of the fatal accident were.
The rider of the bike was Sheffield Joseph along with his riding companion Joella Fanus.
According to police information, a motor-car and the bike that Sheffield was riding had collided with each other. He was pronounced dead on arrival at the Victoria hospital. The young lady succumbed to her injuries hours later, drawing the number of road fatalities for the year so far to eighteen.
Naturally I was in disbelief over the death of Sheffield as the “what ifs” flooded my head. For a while longer, I know that thoughts of the change Sheffield wanted to pursue will dominate my own thoughts.