Pearl Cornelius’ family displaying her photograph in Heroes Square.

I look to you,

I look to you

After all my strength is gone,

In you I can be strong.

I look to you,

I look to you,

And when melodies are gone,

In you I hear a song

I look to you

— Whitney Houston.

by Latoya Burnham

It was a song that echoed from grave site to grave site this afternoon as a convoy of relatives, friends and officials journeyed to pay respects to Tiffany Harding, Kelly-Ann Welch, Shanna Griffith and Nikkita Belgrave, and remembered as well Kellishaw Ollivierre and Pearl Amanda Cornelius, whose bodies were taken to their homelands in St. Vincent and Guyana respectively.

The day was September 3 — one that has become etched in the minds of Barbadians because of the tragedy that claimed the lives of these six girls two years ago, in the Campus Trendz store on Tudor Street, the City.

The sombre and yet somewhat uplifting song blasted through the evening air, sometimes taking a bit of the pain, and at other points seeming the appropriate release as one of the relatives played it over and over at each of the cemeteries at Westbury, Christ Church Parish Church, Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens and finally, at St. Andrew’s Parish Church.

The day of observance, organised by the September 3rd Foundation, began with a gathering in Heroes Square at 11:30 a.m., ahead of the midday hour when the organisation had asked for all to stand still and remember the lives of the six women lost in a foiled robbery.

Even as masses paused in the middle of the square in the City, others stopped on Broad Street, in places like Cave Shepherd and other stores, and even at the fateful site of the still burnt out shell of the Campus Trendz store on Tudor Street for the minute of silence.

At Tudor Street, Perlene Jones, who gathered with her colleagues from W. H. Brydens & Co nearby, recalled going into the store on a number of occasions and encountering the girls at work.

“They were nice girls and I wouldn’t want this for anyone whether they were nice or not. I think it is very commendable,” she said of the island’s observance of the day in their memory.

Another man noted: “I think it is very important because crimes like these you can’t just let them go ‘long and not recognise, you know? I think it is a good thing. I was just there and I paid my respect by doing that one minute.”

But after the minute was over, it was time to head to the various cemeteries where the families again got to pay their respects by the laying of flowers and mementos, and even pictures and signed posters of the girls in some instances.

The grief that encompassed the day was heavy, but even as the tears flowed and the wails of sorrow echoes, Whitney Houston’s soothing voice seemed to provide the balm from which the families drew the strength to comfort each other even in the midst of their own hardships.

And while they released their pain into the atmosphere, the September 3rd Foundation promised that the memories of the girls would be kept as a symbol of love and peace for all of Barbados.

One Response to Remembered

  1. Peter Sheppard September 4, 2012 at 8:26 am

    This terrible crime and the victims should never be forgotten, but has anything been done to ensure that ALL business places in Barbados have an unobstructed and unlocked Fire Exit during working hours?The answer is no. So, after all the speeches and photos have been published, our workers (and shoppers) are no more safe than before.I really thought that a tragedy like this would have resulted in the immediate attention to basic safety rules for retail establishments.


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