We carried a headline on the front page of our August 30 edition which read, Terrible Tuesday: Two dead, one injured in three separate shootings in St Michael and St James.
In instances such as this, the media is often berated for what some see as being sensational. However, by the time this news had made rounds Tuesday night into Wednesday, we were recording two other shootings, this time in Christ Church.
According to the Barbados Police Service, the details of Tuesday night’s incidents are as follows:
Around 6:25 p.m. 21-year-old Jarad Trismal Jones-Cox was shot and killed while in a car outside his King’s Gap, Eagle Hall, St Michael, home. At 6:30 p.m. at Endeavour, St James, a 25-year-old man was shot about his body by another man while standing outside a house in the area. He was transported to a medical facility by private transport. He was reported to be in stable condition and was receiving surgery. Then at 10:06 p.m. Rommel Trotman, 43, of Redman’s Gap, Westbury Road, St Michael was gunned down near his home.
The Wednesday shooting involved a man, who died on the scene, and a woman and happened at Endeavour, Enterprise, Christ Church.
In two days, there were a total of four shootings incidences leaving three dead and two critical in three different parishes. So the myth that gun crime is an urban issue should be dispelled.
This senseless taking of human life has been affecting families all across Barbados.
Distraught family members of Jones-Cox were on the scene. A person close to the family said Jones-Cox had only recently returned home from the hospital after surviving a shooting incident earlier this year. He was reportedly shot 17 times in that previous incident. The source said his death would be devastating for his mother.
But sadly, this has been the case on an ongoing basis for at least the last two years. It seems as though a week – now a day – cannot go by unless a gun-related crime is recorded.
There has been press conference after press conference. Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has spoken and sent a warning that clearly was not heeded when she said to the criminal element: “Not bout hey!” Attorney General Dale Marshall has been firm and Commissioner of the Barbados Police Service Richard Boyce has also said his piece.
But as each week passes, Bajans have become weary of talk, and on social media, call-in programmes, and wherever they have a voice, have been calling for the bad element to be dealt with swiftly. Like clockwork, almost every interview conducted by the media has a family member, friend, or neighbour calling for tougher measures to deal with the criminal element.
And while the Police Service boasts a high rate of solving crime after the fact, it is the prevention that most seem concerned about.
So, Barbados TODAY, like most Bajans is heartened to hear Commissioner Boyce say that they have identified the root of the gun menace plaguing our small island.
The top cop told Starcom Network they had zeroed in on the issue.
“We know that there are some groups, two to three groups which are creating most of the problems for us. We know who they are and we are working tirelessly, assiduously in dealing with those groups. Once we get to the bottom of it, once we are able to dismantle those groups, I think that we will be able to go into public spaces without that fear.”
But this is where the Commissioner’s comments get more interesting.
“We know who they are but it is a time-consuming thing so we ask the public to have a level of patience and give us their confidence and we can also reassure them that we can make the necessary inroads to bring those persons to justice.”
FYI Commissioner, Bajans have been more than patient as the hoodlums drive fear into their hearts. They, like us, want action. People are dying, communities are on edge, families are living in fear, and action has to be decisive and swift, especially given what you are up against.
Reporting that the Police Service seized six Glock pistols at one of our ports of entry last weekend, Commissioner Boyce admitted the harsh reality of the gun ring.
“Firearms, not only locally but regionally, is what we call very organised . . . . Organised in that people are just making it an industry in terms of firearms strategy . . . . They are very structured, very organised. You will find that even though we make headway at some point in time, there is always the person with the mammoth resources,” the top cop said.
He added that there are people “with large pockets, deep pockets, who are organised in this business of firearm trafficking.
“That is why while we are able to seize a large number of firearms we find that they replenish themselves within a month or even less sometimes, so the battle is an ongoing battle for us.”
We commend the Commissioner for knowing the groups that facilitate this gunplay.
We commend the Commissioner for acknowledging that the criminal activity goes beyond the “boy on the block” but stems from the person with the “deep pockets”.
We commend the Commissioner for admitting that it is organised crime run not by a few rascals or high school dropouts but by big brains.
We commend the Commissioner for all of this insight and intel.
However, we now challenge the Commissioner to take all of what he has reported to us, that which we know he can’t report to us, and ensure that the long arm of the law reaches those quarters that have appeared untouchable for far too long.