Following the recent shooting death of his friend of over 30 years, 96 year-old stalwart of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Astor B Watts is urging Barbadians to point out society’s criminal element to the police.
“I think the police department is doing a reasonably good job because they are able to capture and bring most of these criminals before the law courts. But what I think that we need are individuals who live in the communities to make sure that if they have information about people with the guns to pass it on to the police,” said Watts.
He also urged young people to turn to God instead of going down the path of violent crime, warning that such activities will always lead to a bitter end.
“Young people need to turn that negative energy to positive thinking because these persons have descended to the low road and are now even attacking innocent persons,” he contended.
Chaos broke out on Friday evening in the City as Christmas shoppers were sent scampering around bustling Marhill Street after gunshots rang out in the area close to Parliment just after 6:30.
Those stray bullets found pensioner Oscar “Nard” Hamblin who was shot in the head while drinking a beer and liming with friends during a game of dominoes. A doctor who was nearby rushed to resuscitate Hamblin but he died on the scene.
Hamblin, a longstanding DLP supporter and a member of the RM General Services’ dominoes team, was playing a game at the time the shooting broke out. Team captain David Alleyne, his friend of 42 years, was a mere five steps away from him when the shooting started.
This morning Watts told Barbados TODAY that the senseless death of his friend has not only filled him with sadness but also fear. He explained that Hamblin’s death brought into sharp focus, the reality that not even senior citizens were safe from gun violence.
“I am so fearful that I take instructions from my daughter and good friends who tell me that when anybody comes to the home, I must not open the door unless I know them. So I don’t open the door, I speak to persons from the flaps. I do not go out by myself even in the evening. I used to go out in the yard and have a little exercise but with what is happening I don’t go anywhere and I have to ask God to keep me safe from harm and danger because not even innocent people are safe,” lamented Watts, who described the 83-year-old Hamblin as a man who “did not interfere with a soul”.
He also revealed that along with hanging with friends, Hamblin lived for politics and took part in all activities related to the DLP, going back to the days of Errol Barrow.
“Nard and I canvassed together over the years. He supported all of the policies of the DLP and always gave of his best. In the 30 years I have known him, I have never heard him get into a dispute or anything or that sort. He was always polite,” Watts said.