The local army has been put on heightened alert.
And while the top brass of the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) remains tightlipped on the development, well-informed sources Friday confirmed to Barbados TODAY that the action came in response to a video threat against the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) that is currently circulating on social media.
In the video, bone-chilling threats against the RBPF are delivered across the screen in writing, as the expletive-filled song, ‘X Gon’ Give It to Ya” by American hip hop star DMX blares in the background with the moniker of the hacking group ‘Anonymous’ imposed on the screen.
It surfaced 24 hours after residents of Deacons Farm, St Michael got a rude awakening as the sound of unbridled gunfire took hold of the community in the dead of the night. At the end of the worrying gunplay late Wednesday, no one was injured but several power lines were affected, throwing sections of the community deeper into darkness.
Residents also expressed profound fear over the incident, even though some suggested that the firing off of some 1,000 rounds of M16 and AK 45 ammunition in Deacons by unknown shooters was in celebration of the release from jail this week of convicted killers Richard Haynes and Vincent Edwards, whose death sentences were overturned by the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) on Tuesday.
The men, who have been linked to the area, were set free after the CCJ, which is Barbados’ highest court, ruled that the Director of Public Prosecutions could not uphold Edwards and Haynes’ convictions due to the presentation of insufficient evidence against them.
“They [Edwards and Haynes] got freed, so they [gun-toting residents] had a celebration for them, so probably that is what it was all about,” one resident told Barbados TODAY, adding that he thought he heard at least “a hundred shots” on Wednesday night.
“They had a huge party up there [in the area of the Red Sea] and get and do bare foolishness. Them shoot up in the air and the shots hit the power lines . . . . Man we feel it’s cause the two men that come out yesterday,” an angry female resident added.
In light of these concerns, police have launched an investigation into Wednesday night’s incident.
However, in the video addressed to “Government, citizens and Babylon [a derogatory reference to the police]”, a warning was issued that “las nite was a tas[te] a wha[t] comin[g]”.
While conceding that the police may have collected the spent shells, the unidentified messenger also signed that “we run tings now”, adding that “we got de guns . . . M16, AK45”.
Speaking on behalf of a group, whose identity was also not revealed but was seemingly in control of the underworld and scores of high-powered weapons, the video poster specifically warned that they knew where officers in the Task Force, the Criminal Investigation Department and Special Branch lived.
They also expressed outrage that law enforcement officers had somehow attempted to spy on them while declaring war on “Babylon”.
“We men every where up in all ya bizniss . . . know where yuh live . . . got lists and records. Feel Babylon is only people dat could peep ‘bout. Yuh feel Babylon [is] only people got tings? We know yuh top men and de ones peeping ‘bout,” the post continued.
They also cautioned officers not to come around their places, “else we gotta example one a yuh”.
The gunmen further warned that they were now in charge of “Bim” and that politicians were already aware of this.
“Time Babylon know de ting [or] wunna gine get hurt,” the message declared, while making it clear that there were young men who were not afraid of police or anyone else. “Young guns tek over,” the messenger added, while emphasizing that “we know who wunna is. . . [and what] wunna got”.
Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs Adriel Brathwaite could not be reached for comment Friday.
However, the police high command met behind closed doors Friday afternoon to discuss the situation.
When contacted tonight all that Public Relations Officer Acting Inspector Roland Cobbler would say is that the video had been drawn to their attention but he declined to say whether it was the subject of an official investigation.
In the meantime, the BDF has stepped up its alert level from yellow to orange with one high-level source explaining that at the current level officers carry their weapons cocked with a round of ammunition in the chamber, but with safety catch on.
“If anything happens, you move to stage 3, safety off and you pick up aim, you fire only aim shots,” the officer explained.
However, the only comment which BDF Public Relations Officer Captain Maria Moore would make was that “the Barbados Defence Force is mandated to assist the civil power with the maintenance of public safety and national security”.