By Anesta Henry
Former parliamentarian Hamilton Lashley is throwing his full support behind former gang leader Winston Iston Bull’s move to initiate a truce between local gangs to reduce the bloodshed from gun violence.
However, Lashley told Barbados TODAY Government and the private sector need to provide Bull with financial and other resources in order for the “truce” to be successful.
“What should happen now is a joint national effort where all of the assistance that Iston needs to really solidify that peace treaty is provided. I am amazed that some Bajans are saying it can’t work. Let us just give it a chance to work because the major thing in this is trust.
“You still have to credit these group leaders for wanting this and I don’t know if they signed a document or what. This is to allow Barbadians in the communities to be more comfortable in their homes or on the streets. It is a very good thing that creates a level of social stability in communities,” Lashley said.
Recently, Bull met with “over 200” gang members for discussions on ending the “war” and bloodshed.
The veteran community practitioner said it is unfair for Barbadians to call on Bull to encourage gang members to turn in their guns to authorities, when there is no law in place to accommodate a national firearms amnesty.
Lashley, a former Minister of Social Transformation, said that history shows that several so-called gang wars which took place in Barbados in the past were resolved through similar peace treaties.
He recalled that when gangs from the Pine and Chapman Lane were at war for an extended period, the leaders came together and visited the then Commissioner of Police office and signed a peace treaty which is still reaping benefits to this day. “The Pine and Chapman Lane are not at war anymore.
“Actually, I remember there were the warring factions in the Pine and I was MP and we met with them along with the police in a kind of social tripartite approach. And the leaders who attended that meeting determined this ain’t going on no more, we can’t keep having this civil war in the communities. They called a truce and for more than a decade there were no gunshots as a result of war.
“There was the occasional gun violence, but as for groups warring with each other that was discontinued. Up to now the two groups that met participated in positive activities like business ventures, football games through that peace treaty that worked,” he said.