The hearts of some of this country’s religious leaders are troubled by the recent spate of gun crimes, with one church leader lamenting that “the children of slaves are now killing the children of slaves” while another is describing the killers as cowards.
With three people shot to death within the last month, and another escaping with his life after being shot in the head in the wee hours of Monday morning, Rector of the St George Parish Church Reverend John Rogers is wondering what has gone wrong with Barbados.
“It is really troubling that as we are about to celebrate Emancipation Day [Tuesday] that is where we are: the children of slaves are now killing the children of slaves. Rather interesting,” Rogers said.
He bemoaned the number of illegal guns that fall into the hands of would-be killers, many of whom he said did not care about the sanctity of life.
“I do not know if there are more advanced guns on the street . . . . I think this has been coupled with a seeming lack of care or regard for the sanctity of human life amongst many of our young people. So it is just ‘live for today no matter what happens. If I need something I will just take it by any means possible’,” Rogers said.
While fellow clergymen sought answers to the rise in gun killings, Senior Pastor of Restoration Ministries on Gunsite Road, Brittons Hill, St Michael Dr David Durant felt the problem had its root in dysfunctional homes.
Durant, a Government senator, argued there were too many angry young people on the streets of Barbados, many of whom came from dysfunctional homes without father figures, and headed by females who did not have the time to listen to their children’s concerns.
While announcing that some of the churches would jointly organize a day of prayer on Kadooment Day against crime and violence, as well as for the island’s youth, families and the economy, Durant said the time had come to engage the young people where the live and hang out.
“I think we should have more town hall meetings so that the young people can express themselves and we can share strategies. We must outline our plans to help them heighten their respect for human life,” he told Barbados TODAY.
Meantime, St Barnabas Church Rector Reverend Mark Harewood said like most Barbadians he was distressed over the killings.
Referring to the murder of 58-year-old Colleen Beresdean Payne of Eden Lodge, St Michael who was shot while transacting business at an automated banking machine on University Drive, St Michael on July 18, the Anglican cleric said the alleged killers were cowards, even as he raised serious concern about the number of guns falling into the wrong hands.
“The whole question of guns has to be looked at. When guns are part of the equation they can go off at any time. A gun is very dangerous because you can get a fatality. If you are engaged in a fist fight someone may sustain injuries that can be addressed at the hospital. You have to get guns out of the equation,” Harewood said.
Within the last month, Payne, as well as Jerome Wild Geese Bovell, 44, who was gunned down in Goddard’s Road, St Stephen’s Hill, St Michael on June 28; and 34-year-old Closton Robinson of Parish Land, Christ Church who succumbed to his wounds after he was shot in the face sometime between 1:30 a.m. and 2:30 a.m. on July 28 while celebrating his birthday at the Soaliom Bar in Parish Land, Christ Church, all died violently from gun attacks.
This morning a Christ Church man survived a gunshot wound to his head after he was attacked outside his Fairy Valley residence.
He was treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and discharged.