Society Must Condemn Violence

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Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley??asks Barbadians to "condemn violence", today at a memorial??for the young women who lost their??lives??two years ago at??Campus Trendz, after it was firebombed during a robbery. (A.Miller/BGIS)????

A clarion call has gone out to Barbadians to condemn all types of violence in the society and teach their children that such acts have no place in a civil society.

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Overcome with emotion, this man holds a poster of the young women who lost their lives two years ago today. (A.Miller/BGIS)

This call was made today by Minister of Family, Stephen Lashley, as he joined the families and friends of the six women who lost their lives in the Campus Trendz fire two years ago in observing a minute’s silence at noon in Heroes Square. This year, September 3 was designated a Day of Reflection in honour of the women, as well as all other victims of violent crime in Barbados.

Mr. Lashley told the moderate gathering: "We need to, as a country, reflect on where we are and where we are going and we need to very firmly condemn violence in any shape or fashion."

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Family and friends mourn the deaths of the??young women whose lives were taken after??the store, Campus Trendz, was firebombed two years ago. (A.Miller/BGIS)??

He acknowledged that the firebombing incident in Bridgetown on September 3, 2010, which startled Barbados, should not have happened. "We should never be here mourning the loss of six of our productive citizens whose lights were taken away in a flash. And, it is the kind of violence in our society that we have to be vigilant about today; because since that incident two years ago, we continue to witness the ravages of violence, not only domestic violence, but violence in our wider community and the very worrying escalation of a certain type of crime, which we need to put a stop to…

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A Barbados Youth Service Recruit lays a wreath in the Westbury Cemetry today, amidst friends and family, for the young women who lost their lives two years ago. (A.Miller/BGIS)??

"Violent crime does not only affect one person… The pain that this particular incident has inflicted on all of us should tell us that as a country, as a community, we have to again become our brothers and sisters’ keeper. No longer can we sit behind the [burglar] bars of our homes or the fences or gates and feel that we are safe. We have to take a stand together," he urged.

The Minister said Government recognised its leadership role in this regard. "But, this problem transcends… government; this is a social problem, this is a community problem, this is a family problem and, therefore, anybody who thinks about inflicting pain and violence on anyone must stop and reflect that the target of your violence can be your friend’s friend, your sister’s friend, … in other words, our nation’s children," he argued.

He told the family and friends of the victims that he could not offer them any words that could wipe away their tears and grief, but said members of the public wanted to let them know they were not alone at this difficult time. "It is a lost that is very difficult to recover from, but I think we need to use this Day of National Reflection to pledge as Barbadians that never again will we be complacent to violent crime… I hope our words of comfort will add to the healing of the families touched by this national disaster," he said.

After the brief ceremony in Heroes Square, the group travelled to four of the grave sites which are located in Barbados – Westbury Cemetery, Christ Church Parish Church, Coral Ridge and St. Andrew Parish Church – to lay wreaths. Those women who lost their lives in the tragedy were Pearl Cornelius, Shanna Griffith, Kellishaw Olliviere, Tiffany Harding, Nikita Belgrave and Kelly-Ann Welch.

sharon.austingill-moore@barbados.gov.bb

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