One of the country’s most prominent businessmen is recommending the biblical law of retaliation as a means of fighting rising crime.
With the country recording 25 murders for the year so far, and with shootings virtually becoming a normal part of life in some troublesome communities, the founder and chairman of Williams Industries Ralph Bizzy Williams is advocating “a life for a life”.
Williams, who is never shy to make it clear he has Barbados’ best interest at heart, told Barbados TODAY he was “a bit of a radical” who believed that the majority of people on the island were good, but there were “a few bad people and we can’t allow them to take us all down.
“I believe if you take somebody’s life, the state has the right to take your life. So it is a life for a life. We can’t be messing around with people who come up and shoot somebody just bam so,” Williams said.
Barbados has witnessed some of the most shocking crimes this year, including the shooting during Grand Kadooment, which left one person dead and 18 others nursing injuries, and the killing of 58-year-old Colleen Payne of Lodge Hill, St Michael, who was attacked by gunmen at an RBC automated banking machine.
With each killing the cries for action grow louder, while the level of fear increases.
Worried that the increasing crime levels could further destabilize the struggling economy, Williams attributed much of the violent behaviour to some of the “hoodlum-type programmes” on television.
“The crime is being promoted by the showing of television programmes that should not be aired in the island. We do not need all this violence and hoodlum-type programmes showing on television here, and in my opinion they should be banned.
“We don’t need them. This is depicting people who shoot other people point blank and getting away with it. I don’t believe we should be having that shown on television in Barbados. We should block any channels that are imported to show that and put severe penalties, because a lot of this foolishness going on is just copycat stuff. They are just copying what they see done on television, which is very unfortunate because our country depends on tourism,” the business mogul said.
However, despite his promotion of ‘eye for an eye’ form of justice, Williams also said “strong, honest” leadership was needed to help stem the violence, while also stating that the media also had a greater role.
“Barbadians have a right to safety. I think that we need strong, honest leadership. That is what is essential for a country like ours to remain stable and safe. I know that everybody is trying. The police are trying their best but a lot of it comes from glorifying reckless gangster behaviour. The media is guilty as well for glorifying these clowns who are going to destroy the island’s economy if we don’t stop it,” he said.
Williams also weighed in on the recent violent incident in which a man is alleged to have chopped his ex-girlfriend and her cousin, reportedly because of a breakup.
Police were summoned to Road View, St Peter last Thursday where the two women were discovered with chop wounds.
Saying that he abhors “the concept of somebody belonging to somebody else”, Williams described the incident as nothing but “madness” while calling for perpetrators of such crimes to get a taste of their own medicine.
“If these men don’t treat their women good and the women horn them or whatever they don’t have any right to go chopping up a woman. That is absolutely madness. When you chop up a woman and so on, put you out there and let the woman chop you back up. That is the truth. You can’t fool around with these kinds of clowns,” Williams said.
First Vice President of the National Organization for Women Michelle Marshall had described the incident as an indication that gender-based violence remained a major concern in Barbados.