Concerned parliamentary representative for the City of Bridgetown Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic has offered to broker a truce between suspected warring factions in his constituency said to be responsible for a frightening upsurge in deadly violence in that area.
The most recent fatal incident occurred last evening on Baxters Road, when an unknown gunman emerged from the nearby New Orleans area of the City and riddled Corey “Yabba” Parris, 47, with bullets while he sat in a car near Jordan’s Supermarket.
But while Bostic, who is also Minister of Health and Wellness accepts that much of the violence involved residents of the City, he believes that outsiders have something to do with it as well.
He told Barbados TODAY this evening that while on previous occasions he found it easy to determine who the perpetrators were and was able to bring the violence under control, this latest flare-up was more complex.
“This particular spate of violence really is not as clear-cut in terms of trying to wrestle with exactly what is the root of the problem. But I would say upfront, I would urge all those persons who are engaged in this recent bout of violence to really, really, stop the violence and let’s come to a position where we can discuss to see exactly what the issues are from their own perspectives,” the City MP said.
Minister Bostic said there were some things which he accepted could be done to address the deeper social problems peculiar to the City, and he would shortly intensify the initiatives and programmes already started.
“The other thing though is that on this occasion, I am not convinced all of the action really relates to persons who actually live in the City, although perhaps, that is the case in some instances,” he told Barbados TODAY.
The trained soldier said while he did not intend to cross paths with the legitimate responsibilities of law enforcement, he was preparing initiatives to deal with the situation as best he could.
He explained that his approach would be to find out who the perpetrators of the lawlessness were and interact with them to have the issues resolved.
“But it is a serious concern and of course it is a frightening situation for those persons who reside in the communities that are being impacted by this level of violence that we are seeing displayed before our very eyes,” the City MP added.
“What I am working on right now, is a series of initiatives which would have to start with engaging those members of the various communities who are in positions of influence, whether it is through sports, through the church, any groupings that are within the communities to see exactly what we can do in terms of having a dialogue,” he declared.
Bostic, who is a product of the City and still has family connections in the Chapman Lane community, said he would be moving to ease the social situation by addressing the serious unemployment in the constituency.
“There has always been a level of unemployment among the City youth which is really not acceptable. So we are trying to deal with some of those issues by directing persons who are in a position to establish their own micro business, for example, through the trust loans,” he assured.
Bostic told Barbados TODAY that help would also be coming for those who want to enhance their existing businesses.
“That is a continuation of some work that was started before, even before the elections. The availability of the trust loans now facilitates that process.
“The other area is that I am waiting for the First Job initiative to start so we can get some of the young unemployed persons engaged in some meaningful activity,” Minister Bostic promised.
The ongoing gun violence in the City and elsewhere has already seen one Cabinet casualty with Home Affairs Minister Edmund Hinkson being stripped of the responsibility for the police. Those responsibilities were handed over to Attorney General Dale Marshall.