The Nature Fun Ranch (NFR) is embarking on a new initiative to reduce the island’s climbing murder rate.
Founder and ranch chief, Corey Lane announced that the farm charity for at-risk youth will be implementing the Direct Intervention Programme (DIP), for those seeking to be first responders in cases where individuals seek revenge on those who had hurt them physically.
“A lot of people estimate the murder rate in Barbados [will] reach upward to 60 by the end of the year. We are going to do what we can do in our very small way to make sure it doesn’t get past 45. We may not have any total control over that, but we are going to get directly involved,” Lane said.
He was speaking to the media at the presentation of $17, 700 from the Barbados Cultural Organization UK.
Lane revealed that the NFR had reached out to victims of violence as well as gang members who wanted to retaliate against those responsible for inflicting injury on them.
“We had two cases this month where a guy was chopped up, and we know once they recover they are going to go back with people and they are not going to stop until they kill the other side.
“One of the things these guys don’t do – we recognized this from prison – is think of the consequences and the ‘after’. I work with a lot of them in prison who say ‘I should have, I could have, but I can’t’ because they are incarcerated or their life has gone down the drain. So what we want to do is show them these consequences, bring them up to the ranch which is therapeutic in itself,” he emphasized.
The participants of the programme will be taught, by ex-gang members, conflict resolution and how to create harmony between feuding gangs.
Lane reiterated that gun-related violence needed to be promptly addressed, and he said it was the responsibility of not only the Government but also civil society organizations.
“We have to roll up our sleeves if we really want to tackle this problem. It has to be tackled in the short term, in terms of the court system, the bail and the other things the Attorney General is working on; in the medium term, in terms of programmes like the ranch and the Scouts and the Church; and also in the long term when we are looking at working with the schools and the parents. . . . We can’t do it alone but we will do the part we can do.”