by Kimberley Cummins
The now annual day of reflection on the lives of the six young women who died in the Campus Trendz fire on September 3, 2010 is not a scheme to hurt their families and make them relive the tragedy.
Rather, one of the founders of the September 3 Foundation, David Comissiong, told Barbados TODAY the occasion is a way to help the families in the healing process.
Speaking before the remembrance ceremony held in Hero’s Square in the City this morning, he said that whether or not the foundation held an event every September 3, the families of Nikkita Belgrave, Tiffany Harding, Shanna Griffith, Kellishaw Ollivierre, Kelly Ann Welch and Pearl Cornelius will continue to mourn them.
He stressed, however, commemorating their lives on this day gave the families a sense of comfort knowing the entire Barbadian community was also grieving for their loss.
He said: “When a family suffers a loss like this, the sense of loss of is always there. They can’t avoid it, but the families can get some sense of peace from knowing that the death was not totally in vain — that something, … in essence has emerged from the tragic death, something constructive that is going to change Barbados for the better…
“People are still grieving, … even people who lose family members through natural causes grieve for many years, much less families that lose young ones through this kind of criminal act. That family will grieve for many, many years and the grieving process is helped when one knows that a whole nation is grieving with you,” he added.
“So every September 3, these families are going to remember what happened, the pain is going to be there, … but if they have a sense that they are not alone in their grieving, that a whole community is sharing in the grieving and supporting them, then it gives them a sense of comfort. I think what we are doing is not detrimental to the families, I think it helps the families through this very difficult situation,” said Comissiong, as he also noted that all plans made by the foundation were with full concurrence and support of the families, who are also members.
The attorney further told Barbados TODAY the September 3 Foundation would forge ahead to tackle violence against women. Stating that he called upon all civil society organisations that dealt with the issue to collectively engage governmental and law enforcement authorities to ensure that a proper and effective mechanism or protocol is put in place to asset victims or the would-be victims of violence.
“Recent events have brought home to us that in spite of Campus Trendz, in spite of the death of Brenda Bell, it appears that the mechanisms or protocols for dealing with this issue are extremely faulty and ineffective. The foundation sees this issue of violent crime as a multifaceted issue that requires a multifaceted response.
“So we are going to try to sensitise and educate the society about the need for response by virtually all of the institutions of society. It is not just a narrow law enforcement issue, it is an issue that affects every area of national development,” he said. [email protected]