Member of Parliament for St Philip South, whose constituency was hit by a recent double murder, is asking Barbadians not to become hostages to criminals.
Delivering a defiant message at a candlelight vigil, held last night at the Rices Methodist Church, MP Indar Weir stressed that Barbadians need to stand united.
“We have to press on and you have the support of your Government to help you to press on. Do not become hostages. Do not be afraid to live your lives. I want to tell you that we as parents have a big role to play in this day and age. The church has a major role to play; the teachers in the schools have a major role to play; we the politicians have a major role to play,” Weir said.
The vigil was held in memory of 52-year-old Betty Mayers, and her son, 32-year-old Jamal, who were shot dead by masked men last month at Mayers’ home in the Rices community. For close to two hours, those gathered at the sombre ceremony, sang hymns and church leaders delivered powerful prayers amid special tributes at the event organized by the Churches Together St Philip group, which is made up of church leaders from that parish.
Pastor of the Church of God of Prophecy Community Worship Centre to St Martin’s, St Philip, Bishop Mark A Payne, said the group sought to identify with the family members and relatives of Betty and Jamal, share in the grief and loss the family has experienced, to fulfill Christian duties to “weep with them that weep” and to call attention to the important issues and events taking place in communities and across the nation.
He noted that the vigil also serves to unite churches around a common cause, and to lead healing.
“The events of March 17 have so impacted and traumatized our communities in St Philip that the pastors, ministers and churches of our parish have intentionally decided that there must be an urgent response to the crisis we are experiencing and have sounded the clarion call to help rescue the youth, especially the young men of our communities and our nation.
“An all-out effort must be made to rescue our children and youth from the destructive forces of evil which seek to destroy our future nation builders,” Payne said.
The bishop, who spoke on behalf of the group, also indicated that they took a stand against criminal activities that are causing the untimely and violent death of young men.
“Since January our small island has seen 20 murders – unprecedented events that have shaken and traumatised our population. Government has responded by calling for national prayer. We Churches Together St Philip laud that response but tonight we made a declaration.
“In addition to praying we will endeavour to go a step further to intentionally pursue a range of activities, events, and programmes, implementing measures to positively and practically impact our youth thereby turning them away from the path along which the forces of evil are careening them,” the Bishop said.