We must truly be our neighbour’s brother

Waking up on Sunday morning to the ghastly news of an apparent murder-suicide was shattering.

The heart-wrenching cries of grief from the affected family and friends of Kimberley and Derek Lovell reverberated across the nation, and, to repeat the words of one distraught onlooker at the scene of the crime at Alleyne’s Land, Bayville, St Michael: “How many more? What’s going on in this country?”

Kimberley and Derek Lovell
Kimberley and Derek Lovell

More questions than answers linger behind, and perhaps will for a while; but the glaring reality remains: two families among us are left with the anguish and unwelcome task of picking up the pieces from the senseless tragedy that probably could have been thwarted.

Most of us have read before similar stories, listened to the details, and have eventually tried to shut them out of our minds. We probably shook our heads or fists, and thought: “That’s terrible!” And, then carried on with our lives –– until the next incident.

This is current story, tragic through and through, sends an unmistakable and compelling message to all of us: we cannot continue like this.

Trouble is stalking our communities. But who is paying attention to the overwhelming evidence?

A young mother has lost her life prematurely. A father has perished. Two children, ages five and two, have lost both of their parents.

We stay clear of speculating or prejudging the circumstances. The matter, as it should be, is now in the capable hands of the Royal Barbados Police Force. Our interest now must be support for those hurting.

The revelations of family members reinforce that we have to be our brother’s keeper, and not just for those who share our blood.

Fabian Sargeant, the brother of Kimberley, admitted there were worrying signs, but never once thought the unthinkable incident would occur.

“I did not think it would have got so far,” he said.

In no way are we pointing fingers or casting blame at the devastated sibling. The fact is, his sentiment can easily be repeated by all of us.
This is how we largely function as a society, even after a string of terrible events in recent times –– the death of six-year-old Jahan King and the suicide of Shamar Weekes, 12.

Jahan King
Jahan King
Shemar Weekes
Shemar Weekes

After the outpouring of collective shock and disgust, what have we done differently as families, friends, neighbours and colleagues to prevent these dreadful occurrences?

As a community we do not do anywhere near enough to prevent family violence, and we are not entirely competent dealing with its aftermath. Far too often, no one wants to think or talk about uncomfortable situations that stare us in the face. We are not willing to stand up or speak up about whom we know, who could  be involved, who could be a perpetrator, who could be a victim, or what goes on behind closed doors.

Some may argue we should not invade the privacy of others; but should we not at the risk of another pointless loss of life? Admittedly, it may not be within our hands to remedy the situation, but we can point the hurting to those who can offer professional help.

Violence is an epidemic. And like any epidemic, it cannot be controlled or eradiated unless it is addressed.

Authorities must seek to implement the most effective violence-prevention programmes and ensure such services are readily available.
As citizens, we need to be informed about what can and must be done.

We need to be brave and report violent and threatening behaviour, so we play our part in protecting the most vulnerable among us.

8 Responses to We must truly be our neighbour’s brother

  1. Peachesnaddy Brown
    Peachesnaddy Brown May 30, 2016 at 7:03 pm

    I use to see the young lady almost every day on my way to from taking my daughter to school my heart is hurtin over this I have felt this way over any other death since the start of the year I’m praying for this young lady family she is definitely gone too soon……as for the man I have no pity for him sorry!! May you rest in peace Kimberly….

  2. Wayne P Hoyte
    Wayne P Hoyte May 30, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    it is good to see an opinion from a local media house. Go to the story don’t let the story come to you. (y)

  3. Marva Lashley-Todd May 30, 2016 at 7:39 pm

    Well said

  4. Nikki Vs Nicksie
    Nikki Vs Nicksie May 30, 2016 at 7:57 pm

    Be our neighbors brother…but yet still the first thing everyone says is “mind ya own *badword* business”. #thatsbajansfaya

  5. Ashanda Coward
    Ashanda Coward May 30, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Nikki Vs Nicksie, you what they rather do DOA , spread rumors and mind what they aint to. Mind you sometimes malicious and jispy people help cause conflict because of what they may assume. No one can have a friend when your in a relationship, people always assume you dealing with someone. Our society is more of a gossip society than being a brothers keeper society.

    • Nikki Vs Nicksie
      Nikki Vs Nicksie May 30, 2016 at 8:29 pm

      You are so right. But in my comment, I meant that you can’t be nobody’s keeper because of the same things u mention. You can’t even tell your so called friends half of what going on in your life for fear of all your business being on the street.

  6. Maria May 30, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Mental health issues need to be addressed and should not go unreported. Please report so we don’t repeat this horrific scenario.

  7. Carlos Husbands May 31, 2016 at 5:06 am

    This is so true a story. As a community all of us have a role to play. Sometimes it just needs a word of encouragement .


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