There will be no stopping the progress of the Digicel-sponsored Barbados Football Association’s (BFA) Premier League season, despite Wednesday night’s gun violence at the Belfield, St Michael pasture where Weymouth Wales played hosts Belfield.
According to police reports, around 8:30 p.m. Wednesday night two members of the Belfield football team, Jason White, 35, of Fairview, Christ Church, and Keymar Holligan of Eden Lodge, St Michael were shot while on the field of play. White was shot twice in his left foot, while 16-year-old Holligan received one gunshot injury to his left foot.
Speaking with Barbados TODAY about the incident, BFA president Randolph Harris said it was very unfortunate the incident occurred during domestic football. Harris expressed his disgust at gun violence not only at sporting activities but in the wider Barbadian society.
“It is in our interest to bring a programme to fight against violence whether it is at football or any other place because yes we had shooting at football yesterday, but for those who are gloating and saying that is the usual behaviour at football, I can assure you that if something is not done as soon as possible it would also reach the other areas of our society,” Harris said.
According to reports White, Belfield’s goalkeeper, got into an altercation with a player from the opposing team, Weymouth Wales. During their verbal exchange, two males seemingly supporters of the Wales team ran onto the field and opened fire that resulted in White and Holligan sustaining gunshot injuries. The game was halted and the men subsequently taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where their condition was subsequently stated to be “stable”.
Weymouth Wales were scheduled to play Thursday at the AstroTurf against Mackeson Brittons Hill and there were suggestions that game should be postponed until a police or BFA probe was completed. However, Harris said despite what transpired at Belfield the game would be played tonight as scheduled.
“We are going to let them play tonight because the police at the moment carrying out investigation and depending on how those investigations go the BFA will decide if they have to take any disciplinary actions against any of the two teams. The disciplinary committee will have to decide on what type of punishment if any will be taken because at the moment we are not sure that the assailants were connected to the football association.
“The game is in an enclosed facility with security that includes the Royal Barbados Police Force. [With respect] to last night’s incident, some persons would have to think twice about attending football at the community grounds. However, the AstroTurf, the National Stadium and Usain Bolt Complex, when we use those facilities we are secured by police and private security,” Harris said.
Quizzed about allegations that a number of local football clubs and some team members have links to drug dealers and as result violence was never far away from domestic football, Harris said he was not aware of any such association.
“No, I don’t know about that. Our Premier League Clubs are all licensed clubs. It means that they have satisfied the requirements that call for officers of the club to have a constitution and that kind of thing so I am not aware of that [drug dealers running the football clubs],” he said.
There have been previous incidents of violence at domestic football over the years, including shootings.