Attorney General Dale Marshall has flatly condemned Saturday night’s callous home invasion which sent a Canadian visitor to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) nursing gunshot wounds.
It has again left the high-ranking minister again pleading with citizens to do more in the interest of saving their communities and the tourism industry which cannot afford the types of negative attention associated with crime.
While addressing a branch meeting of his St Joseph constituency, Marshall declared that while the incident is a bad look from a tourism standpoint, it is also a clear indication of the lengths to which the criminal element would go to achieve their unjust ends.
Around 9:25 on Saturday night, 65-year Kenneth Elliott was shot while at #161 Diamond Close, Ealing Park, Christ Church after the house where he was staying was stormed by armed men.
A video surveillance video that captured the struggle between the visitors and at least two attackers was later released by police from the Southern Division.
“Tourism is our bread and butter and Barbados cannot afford to have any negative references about how safe or unsafe it is. In fact, Barbados was always felt to be a safe place for visitors and this kind of callous conduct on the part of a few hooligans can threaten the livelihood of our country,” said the AG.
On Sunday night, he revealed that the family whose vacation was “completely ruined” as a result of the shooting had returned to the island for the first time in 23 years.
“[Elliott] was here on holiday. He and his family came to Barbados 23 years ago and they had such a wonderful time that they decided to come back as a family and that family vacation was completely ruined because of villains who feel that it is alright for them to break into a house – one with a gun, another with a cutlass – and attack the people,” he added.
Of even greater concern to the senior Government Minister was the fact that the house which was targeted was not in the traditional tourist belt, but in a residential community in Christ Church. He took this fact as an indication that the brazen attack may not necessarily be targeted at tourists and represents a clear indication that all communities are at risk.
“It is clear that these people are happy to go anywhere to perpetrate a crime. So I want to tell you that while this happened to tourists, it could have happened to you or me. It didn’t happen in a tourist belt, it happened in a residential area.
“I have seen the video and those guys walked into the home with a gun,” noted the AG.
Repeating his repeated appeal, Marshall asked that communities adopt a more proactive approach to tackling crime by engaging the police force before criminals strike.
“I am told that when you are looking at a gun and it is in somebody’s hands, your life could be gone in a moment…so I am not asking Barbadians to be brave or to try to be heroes, but the kind of heroism that we need is for Barbadians to say ‘I do not accept this kind of behaviour’.
“And I know that we seem to have a code of conduct relating to loyalty that means more to the criminals than it means to the average Barbadian but if we as individuals do not step up and help to save our communities, we will have made a big mistake,” he said. [email protected]