The majority of murders committed in Barbados in 2019 have been targeted, execution-style killings.
This was revealed today by the island’s top cop Tyrone Griffith, who admitted the trend was proving problematic for police.
In seven days, four young men have been gunned down. In total the number of murders for the year now stands at 30, two more than the 28 recorded in 2018. Of the 30, 19 have been gun-related.
On June 10, 32-year-old Dave Archer was shot on board the MV Dreamchaser where he worked security. Three days later Warrick Whitright, 51, was shot in Jezreel Road, Ruby, St Philip. Orlando Forde, 38, was pumped with bullets while at Vauxhall #2, Christ Church on June 14 and then on Sunday, 28-year-old Emelien Peter of Meadowville Heights, Prior Park, St James, was found lying in a pool of blood in Well Gap, Cave Hill, St Michael following a loud explosion.
The annual record for the most murders in Barbados is 35, recorded in 2006.
Speaking at a hastily-called press conference this afternoon at police headquarters Roebuck Street, The City, the Commissioner Griffith maintained that the island remained a safe place for locals and tourists alike, as statistics showed overall gun crime in the country was down when compared to 2018.
He said even though there were still six months remaining in the year, he was confident the Royal Barbados Police Force would be able to slow down the murder rate.
“Obviously on that trajectory it would seem as if it would go past 60 for the year. However, we would think that that would be abated with our efforts, and also with more support from the public I’m sure we will go a long way in reducing that number,” Griffith said as he sat flanked by the force’s top brass.
“Our intelligence points clearly to many of these murders being the result of individuals choosing to settle disputes themselves. These were not random killings, many were targeted.
“The crime though is somewhat different in that they are execution-type crimes for the most part, which creates some difficulty,” he added.
Griffith also revealed police had foiled five planned executions due to intelligence.
The top cop said while police had managed to control the number of murders in St Michael and surrounding parishes, St Philip had become a headache.
Three of the last seven murders have occurred in the southerly parish.
“St Philip is becoming a problem parish and we’ve put similar measures in place to address the issue of why it is becoming so.
“Clearly there are individuals within the parish who have disputes to settle and they are choosing the gun to be the way to address those things,” Griffith explained.
The commissioner said while he understood the killings had driven fear into Barbadians, he gave his assurance that police would “respond with force” and would be doing everything in their power to apprehend the culprits.
He said police would, among other things, be further increasing their stop and search patrols and would soon be introducing the use of dash cams and body cams.
“We are doing a lot in the areas that are challenged, that we are getting most of this criminal activity and we are sure that is bearing fruit. If you look at what is taking place in the St Michael area you will see there was a significant slow down in terms of gun violence, especially in the areas like the Orleans and Baxters Road,” he outlined.
Griffith said police had already arrested persons in connection with 15 of the murders.
A 16th man, Rommel Cummins, 27, of Vauxhall #2, Christ Church, was subsequently charged with Archer’s murder, later in the afternoon.
Griffith also called on the public to report any information which could either prevent shootings or lead to the capture of the perpetrator.
He said in too many instances persons were aware of what was going on, but chose not to inform police. [email protected]