Mopping up blood and wiping away tears were the order of the day at St Alban’s Primary School as the authorities attempted to clean up the physical and psychological trauma in the wake of yesterday’s execution-style slaying of a parent at the school’s gates.
Firefighters joined police officers in scrubbing the blood-stained asphalt at Taylor Gap, Weston, St. James, where Marlon Holder, 37, was gunned down in front of his six-year old son.
The stench of blood which filled the air after yesterday’s killing, was replaced with the pungent odour of bleach which was doused in the area where Holder ran in his attempt to escape the bullets.
But no bleach could cleanse memories of the spectacle from the minds of pupils, teachers and parents who sat inside the school with a team of counsellors summoned by the Ministry of Education to assist with the healing process.
In the early morning period, only a few students had been brought in for counselling.
Douglas Johnson, the father of four-year-old student was among them. He told Barbados TODAY the incident had caused tremendous trauma in the immediate aftermath.
Johnson said: “Yesterday she was definitely traumatised because she kept repeating what happened.
“Her teacher told me that given what had happened, it was best to bring her for counselling.
“We sat in a circle and the counsellor just asked us questions about our thoughts and our reaction to what happened yesterday.
“They wanted to know how our children had been reacting and what can be done to make our children feel more comfortable.”
Despite the incident, he expressed confidence in the school’s leadership and said he would have no difficulty allowing his daughter to return.
“I think this school is a nice school and security is good and the fencing is properly erected.
“After a certain time the gates are closed. It was just an unfortunate thing that happened but everything will be okay.”
Area MP Edmund Hinkson, the Home Affairs Minister, was also on hand to offer support to parents and teachers. He described yesterday’s shooting as “absolutely outrageous”.
The MP recalled lamenting on the spiralling crime situation the day before the shooting as he handed out electronic tablets to pupils at the school.
While thanking the Ministry of Education and other officials for their assistance, he said the problem of gun violence was much bigger than the Government and would require an all-of-society approach to combat “what has now gone beyond the ridiculous”.
Hinkson said: “Last year it was somebody shooting off in a mall at Sheraton Centre and now they have gone way beyond what is acceptable by shooting at a school with little children.”
He blamed a group of “100 to 150 men” for seeking to terrorise Barbadians.
The Home Affairs Minister declared: “We will not tolerate it.
“We as a people need to put our foot down and I am calling on people not to be frightened for their shadow, not to be frightened of what they feel might be repercussions to themselves and their families because this cannot go on.”