While another shooting victim clings to life following a gun attack in the early hours of this morning, the Barbados Christian Council has expressed concern that too many young men appear to be “trigger happy” and called for urgent intervention to turn the situation around.
Chairman of the Council Monsignor Vincent Blackett said this evening that it appeared the crime situation, and particularly gun violence, was out of control.
He raised the alarm after 28-year-old Cyprian Payne was shot multiple times, around 3 a.m, while at the Happy Cot Road, Bank Hall, St Michael residence of his girlfriend.
His girlfriend’s mother, Sonia Parris-Headley, told Barbados TODAY she heard someone screaming “fire, fire, fire!” and realized there was a blaze in her verandah before shots rang out and Payne lay injured outside.
“Right now, I kinda shaken because I have never experienced anything like this. My daughter is pretty shaken . . . He is out of surgery but he is critical; he is in the ICU [Intensive Care Unit],” she said.
“I don’t even know what to do next. Until I can get good word on him, it is not gonna be good for me and my family.” Monsignor Blackett expressed concern in an interview with Barbados TODAY that people seem to have no respect for life.
“We are witnessing a lot of people who are now trigger happy and something has to be done about it,” he said.
“A couple years ago we did have a look at crime in Barbados and the Council, the Police Commissioner, people from social work and other agencies came together. At that time, it was presented to us that things weren’t as bad as they looked, but since then things have changed.”
Blackett said what made the situation worse, was that people who witnessed criminal activity were fearful of giving evidence to law enforcement officials.
“We have to stamp this out because we have to become our brother’s keeper once more, as we did in the past. We need to get everybody to say ‘no to crime’,” the religious leader insisted.
Monsignor Blackett said the Christian Council will discuss the crime situation at a special meeting to be held soon.
Meantime, director of the National Task Force on Crime Prevention (NTFCP), Cheryl Willoughby told Barbados TODAY that all stakeholders needed to work together to come up with a strategic plan to divert the youth from a path of crime.
“When you look at crime from a theoretical perspective, you will understand that crime is not a police problem. Crime was not created by the police, neither will it be solved by the police,” she said.
“Crime is a social problem and so, to get to the cause of crime, you have to address those underlying factors that are permeating the society.”
However, Willoughby did suggest that if Barbados’ murder rate was evaluated over a five-year period, it would be concluded that it was not spiraling out of control.
“It is not over and above what it was last year. We are still within that range that we normally see for a small society like Barbados.
“So I would not say there is a surge in these types of crimes, but what I would say is that they are occurring back to back, which would cause ordinary citizens to be concerned,” the NTFCP director said.
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