Even during Christmas, the one time of the year whose main theme is spreading peace and love, there was no end to the bloodshed in our country.
In no fewer than five incidents between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day, several people were shot or stabbed.
While peace-loving Barbadians were gearing up to celebrate Christmas, a group of limers on Perfection Road, Bush Hall, were sent running for their lives when two armed men approached them and opened fire, wounding two young men.
Earlier that same Tuesday, a young man was stabbed in The City and had to seek refuge inside a business after he was attacked and assaulted by a group of men.
And on Boxing Day, a bank holiday more associated with relaxation than with violence, two more men were injured.
A teenaged boy was stabbed in the abdomen while hanging out with other friends at a popular spot on the South Coast.
Shortly afterwards, a man was counting his lucky stars after he was shot in the face by an unknown assailant while in Chapman Lane, St Michael.
With the murder toll in Barbados already sitting at 48 – a record number – it is still shocking that incidents such as the Yuletide bloodletting carries on apace like any other day.
At a time when the birth of the Prince of Peace is being celebrated, gun-toting criminals still see the need to be shooting as if it were the Wild Wild West.
There can be no more perfect example of this island’s precipitously declining values and morals.
For as long as can be remembered, Christmas has been seen as a time to put on our very best – change curtains, rearrange the furniture, bake great cake, ham and turkey. It was a time to exchange gifts, not gunfire. The end of December marked a time when family, friends and loved ones could count on a few to catch up on old times and spend quality time with each other. But it seems as though those humble practices are under threat.
Those violent acts have now cast a bleak outlook on the upcoming Old Years Night and New Years Day celebrations.
Many people may be even more sceptical about ushering in 2020 at a fete, on the beach or at any other outdoor event, in fear of falling victim to the gun or a knife, especially as an innocent bystander.
Such feelings are justified.
Barbados has gone from 28 murders in 2018 to almost double that number 12 months later and it seems as if there is no end in sight to the violence.
No one is safe, not “the young, the old or the li’l pickney”.
And as the year draws to a close with nothing to suggest that the high number of killings was just a ‘fluke’, there is frankly not much optimism that things will get better.
In fact, many have predicted that things will get worse, with some suggesting that 2020 may see even more slaying and maiming.
Yet, arming ourselves with nostalgia is futile. We need to see a coherent strategy towards the creation of a safer society. We applaud the community programmes which have been created, with the fervent hope that these efforts become the norm across the island. We cannot lapse in our efforts to remind our youth that a life of crime does not pay, and that violence is not an answer to a lack of material comforts, neither is the absence of conflict resolution.
The joy, peace and love usually associated with this season must serve as a guiding light to continue our fight for the nation we so dearly love.