Turn yourself in and say sorry!
This plea from Member of Parliament for St Michael West Central James Paul to the perpetrators of Monday shooting on Spring Garden Highway that left one man dead and at least 18 injured.
“Ask for forgiveness. They need to ask those people that they did those horrible things to, to forgive them. They must be willing to take stock of their lives. Put down those guns. At the end of the day, they are not going to benefit from them. Let us try to see if we can work a programme to help them,” he told Barbados TODAY, less than 24 hours after one of his Cabinet colleagues had suggested the perpetrators should pay with their lives.
Gunshots rang out on Monday during the climax of the Crop Over festival, sending revellers and bystanders scampering for safety.
Twenty-year-old Taried Junior Rock of 3rd Ave Chapman Lane, St Michael was killed and several people were treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for gunshot wounds.
Lawmen have since launched an appeal for any information to help in solving the crime.
Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith yesterday revealed there was enough evidence to link the shooting to gang rivalry, but he suggested it was a tough fight for lawmen, with more than a dozen gangs in the area surrounding the incident.
Paul’s constituency and St Michael North West, which Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler represents in Parliament, have both been named as problem areas.
But suggesting that he could neither confirm nor deny the commissioner’s information, Paul told Barbados TODAY his main focus was on individuals whom he saw, and not on a label.
“I don’t look for gangs. I don’t see gangs. When I go out there I speak to people as individuals. I try to understand what the issues are and try to deal with it. From that point of view, I can’t tell you that what I see in front of me are gangs. I know there are areas where people lime together in the community [and] there are some areas that are problematic.
“I will not to tell you that there aren’t, but that is up to the residents to sort that out themselves. That can only happen if there are programmes that allow you to go into the community and try to deal with these issues,” the Government backbencher stated, while calling for the introduction of more social intervention strategies.
He said the young people on the block were “quite rational, they’re quite educated and they understand what the issues are”, and they need to be respected.
“We have to respect them and understand that they have points of view and they are going through things and we have to aid them. Unfortunately, we have people coming to them now with alternatives and they are being exploited by these people for their own interest.
“That is why we cannot give up on them because at the end of the day, those persons are who are pushing the guns or the marijuana or whatever are doing it for their own purpose. They are the ones that are profiting at the expense of our young people and we have to have a commitment to work with them. I don’t think we should give up on them,” Paul added.