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Living in fear

Ivy residents worry about gun violence

Residents in The Ivy, St Michael, say they are living in fear and are anxiously awaiting a promised police plan to arrest crime in their neighbourhood. 

A Barbados TODAY team visited the district today and spoke to several residents, two of whom were shot in the last three weeks. A visibly shaken Ercilla Grazette, whose pregnant daughter Crystal Cottle was shot in the leg last weekend, pleaded for the perpetrators to put their guns down and let peace reign in the community.

Ercilla Grazette

Ercilla Grazette

Grantley Oliver

Grantley Oliver

Their calls come a day after Assistant Commissioner of Police Erwin Boyce told Barbados TODAY that patrols in The Ivy were being stepped up and a plan was in the works to establish a sustained presence.

“I would hope that the Royal Barbados Police Force places a police outpost in the area because the situation seems to be getting out of hand. My children’s and my grandchildren’s lives are in danger,” she said.

“It is getting worse and it is time for it to stop. Just today, my daughter . . . returned to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital for dressing and one of the same fellows who hang out by the tamarind tree on The Ivy Road accosted her.

“This is the third time that they sprayed my house with bullets. My daughter got injured when she returned to drag the children off the bed. This thing does not intend to stop . . . . This thing does not appear to have an end,” Grazette lamented, as she insisted that the violence had nothing to do with illegal drugs.

Some members of the community claim that the gunplay was a result of a “war” between two families. Grazette said the man who threatened her daughter was not the first member of his family to accost her or her relatives.

“I would like any assistance to have the problem settled,” she said.

Her daughter lamented that she did not feel comfortable staying in The Ivy. She told Barbados TODAY she still has flashbacks of the shooting on Sunday.

“I am fearful for my life. At nights I do not stay in the house in The Ivy because I am afraid and cannot sleep in the front bedroom. I tried to have a rest earlier this week and I began to relive the time I was shot in my leg. I cannot sleep home with my children,” she said.

Grantley Oliver, who has been working at the Sanitation Services Authority for the past 15 years, recalled the night when he was shot while at his birthday party in front of Grazette’s house.

“I was eating some roast fish when I noticed two hooded men approaching and they started to shoot at us. I was not caught up in any dispute with anyone,” he said.

“I feel the police should intervene because shooting takes place every week in this district. There are little children and elderly people who live in the area. I would like the police to clean up the mess which is taking place because it is very dangerous.”

Meanwhile, shopkeeper Leon Sargeant claimed that since the gunplay began over three or four weeks ago he has lost considerable business with regular customers fearing for their lives.

“I had a good business here at this location and since there was the shooting . . . [the number of customers] dropped from 50 to 17 and 14 and last night it was out of the question. No one turned up because people are scared for their lives. Right now the gunplay has destroyed my business. We had a lot of events going on here . . . but everyone is scared of coming into The Ivy.”

Young men gathered under a tamarind tree on The Ivy Main Road declined to comment, saying that they were not the aggressors in the dispute.


5 Responses to Living in fear

  1. Gregston Griffith
    Gregston Griffith June 19, 2014 at 1:26 am

    the people in the Ivy know who are they enemy and need to tell the police but these people dont need the police. They curse the police and now want help from the same police. Dont go until some of them are kill.. and they would “NEED” the police and thing would be better after some is dead

  2. Anfaani June 19, 2014 at 2:38 am

    I hope something is done soon. I have family who live near there in the Ivy. Too much violence and shooting going on in Barbados.

  3. Jon Near
    Jon Near June 19, 2014 at 3:35 am

    OK guys.. My bajan friends. We’ve been coming over now for over a decade. We’ve always felt secure over there. I’m bringing my family over Christmas time and staying on the east coast. Flights booked but I’ll be honest I’m thinking of cancelling. Is it that bad guys? Will we be unsafe shopping round the likes of 6 roads? My family are my world and I don’t want to take my little boy over there if there’s a chance of him being threatened. We know to stay clear of st Michael its always been rough over there but are other places becoming no go zones for tourists? I know 99.99999% of bajans are good honest hard working people and your island holds many beautiful memories for us. I’d hate to think we couldn’t come anymore. Please be honest is it safe for visitors?

  4. jr smith June 19, 2014 at 9:14 am

    The people in the area are behaving like fools,crime is a criminal, act whoever commits it, the police need to stop messing around, most bajans only bother about crime when it effects them, we need zero tolerance.
    The police needs to blitz the area at random, stop and search, who ever is carrying weapons is arrested and brought before the courts also the cowards obstructing justice be taken to court as well.

  5. Don Roach June 19, 2014 at 10:35 am

    @jon Near, like any place in the world they will be trouble areas however Barbados is the very peaceful and safe. There is no reason why you should cancel you flight trouble is only concentrated in the areas highlighted in the media. Barbados is one of if not the safest countries in the Caribbean.


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