On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the Campus Trendz tragedy, acting prime minister Richard Sealy is warning that the current level of violent crime must not be tolerated.
In fact, he warned today that the country had to do more than simply decry the current level of violence which he admitted was worrying.
In a message ahead of tomorrow’s observance of the September 3, 2010 fire that claimed the lives of Shanna Griffith, Nikkita Belgrave, Pearl Cornelius, Tiffany Harding, Kellishaw Olivierre and Kelly-Ann Welch, Sealy who is the country’s tourism minister, also insisted that the country needs to get to the bottom of the crime problem.
“It is now four years since that horrific fire claimed the lives of six young women who were daughters, mothers, sisters, other relatives and friends. I know that their families and friends are still grappling with the loss of their loved ones. As we remember the victims of that sinister act on September 3, 2010, and reflect on their lives, we must also find ways to stop the perpetuation of violent acts which result in the loss of lives of our most productive citizens,” he said.
“In recent times, we have been experiencing a level of violence which is unfamiliar to our society and this is a worrying trend for all of us. As a nation, we decry these acts but we must do more. We have to unearth the root cause or causes and deal with them head on.”
Sealy added: “I believe that we need to reinforce our traditional values which include the sanctity of human life and being our brother’s keeper. We must all work together to find solutions to correct this situation which has the potential to erode the positive image of our country which we have worked hard to build over several generations.”
He commended the many organizations that are working to help resolve the problem by reaching out to young people to educate them about conflict resolution and exploring the reasons for the upsurge in violence.
Sealy noted that there was “a small segment in society” that believed that acts of violence could solve problems but “the majority of us know that this is not the case.”
His comments came two days after Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite said consideration was being given to introducing a gun amnesty to arrest one of the main problems facing law enforcement authorities – gun crimes.
The acting prime minister has called on Barbadians to use the occasion of the anniversary of the deaths to remember the six victims and the 28 people who have lost their lives to violent acts since September 3, 2013 to “reflect on what we can do to rid our society of this wave of violence which is being manifested in all its forms.”
He joined the September 3rd Foundation in urging all Barbados to observe a minute of silence at noon in National Heroes Square. This forms part of a commemorative event which will be led by the Foundation.
“The purpose of staging such a public and all-embracing minute of silence is to ensure that the victims of violent crime do not become invisible or removed from our collective consciousness as a nation, and to provide our people with an opportunity to ponder deeply on the tragic and unnecessary loss, pain, grief and damage that is engendered by violent crime. It is the Foundation’s hope that this type of collective public reflection will have a positive impact on the psyche of our nation,” said a statement from the foundation’s coordinator, David Comissiong.