Illegal gun activity is no longer exclusive to urban areas, impoverished communities or a single gender, according to Attorney General Dale Marshall.
He is concerned that a growing number of people not actively engaged in mainstream criminal activity were attempting to acquire firearms for protection.
Speaking during a weekend Barbados Labour Party (BLP) branch meeting at Grantley Adams Memorial Secondary School, the St Joseph Member of Parliament said: “Everyone seems to want a gun. I don’t know why people feel that they should have a firearm. But you know what, it is becoming more and more a situation where average people, including women, believe that with this kind of violence in society, the only thing left to do is to arm themselves. I don’t quite subscribe to that,” he said.
The AG added that even those seeking weapons to ensure their own safety were aggravating an already dangerous situation and urged Barbadians to maintain their trust in the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF).
“I was speaking to a businessman recently . . . he arrived home and the fellas [criminals] attacked him with a knife and carried away his gun,” he revealed.
“Now the next person they attack, they will attack with the gun. So all the gun that he said he wanted, he never got the chance to use it, didn’t know how to use it or was too scared to reach for it.
“I try to make the point that we are beginning to feel that we need to resort to that kind of stuff. But I know that the police force, if given the opportunity, the equipment and the resources will get to the bottom of this. It doesn’t happen overnight. It took years to reach this point,” he said.
Marshall also warned that gunplay was swiftly making its way into the country’s rural communities.
“In case there are some of us that think this thing only happens in Wildey and the Bayland, in Chapman Lane and in Silver Hill.
“ . . . But even in places like tranquil, peaceful Bathsheba, we are beginning to see the influence of firearms coming into our communities. Shootings were all in town before and then last weekend we had one in the Newbury, Vauxhall area.
“I’m sure that 30 years ago, the Crab Hill that you know today was very different. So we have to move to protect all of Barbados. We also had situations in the Horse Hill area, so when we talk about these things we have to recognize that there’s a risk that being small exposes us all to.
“Your society is not immune from violence… whether it is Sandy Lane or Sweet Bottom or Sugar hill. All of them are still susceptible to that kind of activity,” he said.
Marshall also urged Barbadians to better fulfill their obligation to the fight against crime.
“I know that they are some people who want the police to solve the problem, but they don’t want the police to do their job. They want the police to find the firearms, but not if it means they have to execute a search warrant at them…they don’t want to accept that my son or my daughter might be an instrument for this kind of illegality. But that can’t work.
“Each of us has a vested interest in what is going on in our society simply because when gun violence breaks out . . . there’s no family in Barbados that is immune to the violence,” said Marshall.