Violence is a problem for all Barbadians, and not just those who are direct victims.
This point was stressed today by Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley, as he addressed the September 3rd Foundation ceremony to reflect on the fire bombing tragedy that took the lives of six young women on the same date, two years ago.
Lashley said that Barbadians could no longer sit behind the bars of their windows and feel they were safe.
“It is a sad time, because we need, as a country to reflect on where we are and where we are going; and the need to very firmly condemn violence in any shape or fashion. And therefore, although we are standing here to remember the victims of the Campus Trendz tragedy, it is really a day that should not have happened in the first place,” Lashley insisted.
“We should never be here mourning the loss of six of our productive citizens whose lives were taken away at a flash. And it is the kind of violence in our society that we need to be very vigilant about today, because, since we have seen this incident two years ago, we continue to witness the ravages of violence, not only domestic violence, but violence in our wider community and the very worrying escalation of a similar type of crime which we need to put a stop to,” added the Minister of Family and Youth.
He said while neither he nor his Government could offer any words that could wipe away the tears and sorrows, they could “huddle with you, hold your hands and touch our hearts together as we allow them to know that you are not alone in this struggle, in this time of recollection, where you remember the lives of all six young ladies and the significant contribution they made to your families and your communities”.
The minister acknowledged that it was a very difficult loss from which to recover.
“But I think we need to use this opportunity, this day of national reflection to make a pledge as Barbadians that never again will we become complacent to violent crime. And violent crime does not only affect one person, two persons, the next door neighbour, because the pain that this particular incident has inflicted on all of us, should tell us that as a country, as a community, we have again to become our brothers’ and our sisters’ keeper,” Lashley said.
“No longer can we sit behind the bars of our homes, the fences and gates where we live and feel that we are safe. We have to take a stand together, and certainly as far as the Government is concerned, we recognise that we have a leadership role in this regard,” he suggested.
However, Lashley noted that this problem transcended the role of Government.
“This is a social problem, this is a community problem, this is a family problem.