Amidst the eating and drinking, squeals of playing children, adults in dominoes and card contests, Whim Cricket Club players hosted their Newbery neighbours on whom they dealt a sizeable licking in a T20 cricket competition, much to the delight of some St James North community residents.
The occasion was the Whim Fun Day Sunday when the home team scored 141 runs in 19.5 overs and Newbery managed only 104, thanks mainly to devastating bowling by Man of the Match Romain Bend who took four wickets for eight runs.
But during the awards ceremony and other festivities following the game, it was difficult to identify the victors, as players and supporters from the neighbouring St James North districts celebrated with each other.
“This is what we need in Barbados—this community spirit,” said constituency representative and Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson.
The Member of Parliament pointed to the abundant laughter and camaraderie across the breezy Whim cricket ground and used the scene as a backdrop for a plea to the small number of deviant Barbadians to end the violence and murders.
“I continue to appeal on behalf of the Government and people of Barbados for the few bad men, thugs in this country, to lay down your guns. We can resolve conflict through peaceful means,” he said, noting that violence and reprisals do not make sense. “This is not the Barbadian way.”
“Use the Whim as an example, the Sion Hill community, all one family. It can be done. Let us keep focused. Stay the course.”
With the island’s 20th murder for the year, recorded last week, still fresh in the minds of Barbadians, he said, “shooting off a gun in the middle of the day in a mall cannot be tolerated . . . . It is affecting everybody, including families and friends of those who are involved.”
Hinkson then directed his appeal to the women of this island, whom he insisted are capable of convincing rogue relatives to change their ways.
“I call on families, especially the females in the family—mothers, grandmothers, aunts . . . [to] tell them to lay down the arms. You have influence over them.”
“A dead man has no future,” he bluntly said in reference to the fact that most of Barbados’ murder victims are young men.
“Give them an opportunity to survive. It is better that they do that; that they turn themselves over to police if they are on the run, and live to fight another day, rather than next month you go and identify their bodies in a pool of blood. At least alive they can be reformed, rehabilitated, turn a leaf and have an opportunity in life.”