Fed up with the rising number of violent deaths in Barbados in recent weeks, a prominent church leader has announced plans to negotiate a truce between warring gangs and factions.
Senior pastor at Restoration Ministries Dr David Durant said he intended to foster dialogue and reconciliation among the warring gangs.
In his attempt to lead the church beyond its mandate of saving souls and get it to save lives, Durant also announced plans for a panel discussion on November 21 on the issue of crime plaguing the society. It is being organized in collaboration with the Royal Barbados Police Force, social workers and other stakeholders.
Speaking at a press conference this morning at the Restoration Ministries in Brittons Hill, St Michael the church leader pleaded with those involved in crime to think about their children.
“As the church we are urging drug dealers and gang leaders to reflect on the impact crime [is] having on their children and get them to reconsider the kind of legacy they are leaving behind for their offspring,” Durant said.
The press conference was called to announce a church service scheduled for 4 p.m. on Sunday, November 1 for the families of victims who died tragically, including those who died in traffic accidents.
“In this service as Christians we will empathize and identify with these families, offer partners of men who were killed violently and some of the children of victims, some of whom have already given their hearts to God, so that out of death and despair new life in Christ is being birthed. What the devil intended for evil, God can turn around for good,” he said.
However, greater attention was placed on crime and violence. Quoting figures he gleaned from press cuttings, Durant described August as the deadliest month in Barbados in many years, and he called on Barbadians from all walks of life to support the Royal Barbados Police Force as they fight the scourges.
He also warned those who hide unlawful activities from the police that the criminals they conceal by withholding information from the police might turn up at their doorsteps.
“Let us not help the guilty by sharing the deeds. Let us unite to remove the crippling effects of fear that now threaten communities and embrace the old adage that we are our brother’s keeper.
“My hope is that we can restore our communities to a level of peace and tranquility that will build and preserve Barbados for generations to come,” he said.
Durant encouraged families that have lost loved ones by the gun, the knife and accidents, to attend the service themed, Grieving, Healing and Hope from Death and Loss.
Meantime, Director of the Criminal Justice Research and Planning Unit Cheryl Willoughby who attended the press conference said that while she was unable to make a comment about whether the crime situation had worsened compared to last year, it was important to eradicate violence in society by getting the message over to children from a young age. (AH)