The recent upsurge in gun violence has left many Barbadians cowering in terror, with some shuddering to think how much worse things can get if the authorities do not step in to control the trigger-happy criminals.
A number of lives were cut short by the gun in recent weeks, the most recent being 46 year-old Ricardo Bryan of Black Rock, St Michael who was gunned down shortly before 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 1 in the car park of Lucky Horseshoe in Warrens.
His killing came less than 24 hours after a brazen display of gunfire shattered the early morning quiet in the Christ Church community of Wotton, leaving a 16-year-old boy in intensive care, along with four other injuries, damaged homes and shattered car windows.
“When I’m home every window is shut down. You live in fear,” St Michael resident Debbie King told Barbados TODAY following the shooting in Warrens.
“It’s really bad . . . I don’t really know how much we can take,” she added.
For some like the victims of the wild gunplay in Wotton, not even home proved to be secure.
However, one of the most dastardly acts took place in Northumberland, St Lucy, when robbers broke into the home of Andre Hinds on August 26 while he was watching television with his pregnant wife, shot and killed the small farmer and spared his wife only after she begged for her life and told them she was pregnant.
Such acts have left Rudolph Rock cringing and wondering what has gone wrong with the Barbadian society.
“We come through slavery rough and thing; I know how it is. But we need more educated people in society, we need people that will motivate one another, we need people to be role models,” he told Barbados TODAY from Warrens.
In the search for answers, concerned citizen Kim Smith questioned whether the laws were tough enough, and whether they did not allow people to literally get away with murder.
“The laws are not stringent enough, they [convicts] are not serving enough time, they get a slap on the wrist. They may go up [to Dodds] and spend a few years and then they’re back out, and unless we change the laws so that everything is stricter, it will continue. In fact it is going to get worse,” Smith said.
“Wherever you go, people are in their cars and somebody shoots through the window and kills them, or they’re in their homes . . . and all of a sudden a breakout in gunfire. So you aren’t safe. It’s no safer here than in the big countries,” she added, making reference to Jamar Grazette of Arch Hall, St Thomas, who was shot dead on August 20 while waiting in his vehicle at Orange Hill, St James.
Many of those with whom Barbados TODAY spoke made reference to the economic climate as a possible catalyst.
Among them was Rock, who called on the authorities to ensure there were opportunities for gainful employment.
“It is hardship financially [and] job wise, and the Government needs to implement more jobs for young people, get people go UWI [University of West indies], BCC [Barbados Community College], Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic and look for work for people,” he stressed.