A leading crusader against domestic violence today asked Barbadian authorities why there are still young women working in unsafe “one-door” stores, suggesting that there has been little to no progress in terms of safety in the five years since the Campus Trendz fire.
Speaking in Heroes Square at a ceremony to mark the fifth anniversary of the tragedy, the founder of the Service Alliance for Violent Encounters (SAVE) Foundation Liesel Daisley said it was unfair for vulnerable young women working hard to earn an honest dollar, to be forced to do so under unsafe and unlawful conditions.
Daisley said she was “sick and tired” of empty and broken promises made by relevant authorities, with regard to passing legislation for an enforceable building code. “It is time for action,” she said.
Daisley said only a few days ago she went into a store in Bridgetown and noticed there were no windows and the only door was at the entrance.
“Imagine the four young ladies who have to work in that store every day, all day. Imagine how they feel with no windows, no extra door in case there is an emergency, one way in and one way out,” said Daisley.
“And these women are vulnerable because I am sure that they need the job. I am sure that they are working because they are paying for college for themselves.”
“Some of them may have a young child at home that they know they have to support so they don’t have a choice but to get up every morning and go and work in such unsafe environment. It is not right.”
Campus Trendz victims Pearl Amanda Cornelius, 18, Kelly Ann Welch, 24, Shanna Griffith, 18, Nikita Belgrave, 23, Tiffany Harding, 23 and Kellisha Ovivierre, 24, perished inside the one door Tudor Street boutique after it was firebombed during a robbery. A young man is serving six life sentences for the crime.
To rid the country of violence, Daisley reminded parents of their responsibility to instill wholesome values, morals and ethics in their children instead of looking to Government, teachers, police and others to do so.
“I am appealing to Barbadians to not look to Government to solve this problem for us, not look to the Police Force to solve this problem of violence for us, but I ask us today to let’s look within, because it will take the effort of everyone to solve this problem,” she urged.
Family members of the six victims attended the ceremony where several messages were delivered, all calling for a violence-free Barbados. There were also moving performances in song by the Richard Stoute Teen Talent Choir, Adonijah and a duet by Khalid Batson & Najuma Comissiong.
Addressing the gathering, chief coordinator of the September 3 Foundation David Comissiong also called for an end to violence.
“We want to confront all Barbadians with this reality, this harsh tragic reality because we hope that by so doing, we would cause some young person, or some not so young person, to think twice before pulling the trigger of that gun, before striking out in anger with that knife, before exploding that incendiary device in any store or other building,” Comissiong said.
Family members who came out to reflect on the lives of the loved ones wore T-shirts and carried placards with the victims’ faces.
A moment of silence was observed across the country at noon.