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.
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.