Opposition joins residents in decrying gunplay
Fifty-eight-year-old Harriett Stuart is counting her lucky stars after she came close to being hit by stray bullets Tuesday night.
Stuart of 9th Avenue New Orleans was lying in her bed around 9:30 p.m. when she heard gunfire that resulted in two bullets piercing the walls of her bedroom, including one that bounced and passed close to her hand as she dropped to the ground.
Sitting in her verandah this evening, a still shaken and fearful Stuart told Barbados TODAY though the bullet did not graze her, she definitely felt the heat.
She said she immediately made her way into a bedroom at the back of the house, and was eventually ushered from there by her children who live not too far away.
Public Relations Officer of the Royal Barbados Police Force Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police David Welch said lawmen were investigating the shooting, which occurred in the nearby Pickwick Gap, St Michael but saw bullets ricochet to 9th Avenue New Orleans.
So far no injuries have been reported but police said they were summoned to the area around 9:30 p.m. where they found a number of cartridges.
Bullets also pierced a paling located close to Stuart’s home, leaving several holes in it. The occupant of that house was not at home Wednesday afternoon when Barbados TODAY visited the area.
“If I was standing up it would have probably hit me, but I was lying down. All now I still ain’t sleep yet.
“I was at the police station until two o’clock this morning,” said the resident who was thankful to be alive.
Stuart, who lives at the house with her son, daughter and two grandchildren, said while she would occasionally hear gunshots, this was the first time any came into her home.
“Somebody shoot up the place like them shooting in the wild, wild west,” she lamented.
She said while she was fed up with the gun violence taking place in the area, going to live somewhere else was not an option since she owns her home and would not be able to pay rent.
In the wake of last night’s shooting and the police killing yesterday of 20-year-old Romario Lashley who was wanted for a number of crimes, including the shooting and wounding of a police officer, Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) hopeful for Christ Church West Dr William Duguid is placing the blame for the level of crime afflicting the country squarely at the feet of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP).
Dr Duguid recalled that during the 1999 general election campaign then Opposition Leader David Thompson had blamed the governing BLP for crime and violence.
Now, he argued, the shoe was on the other foot.
“Well right now, crime and violence is at an all time high, particularly gun violence, and I will put that squarely at the doorstep of the Democratic Labour Party,” Dr Duguid, who represented the constituency from 2003 before quitting elective politics ahead of the 2013 poll, told Barbados TODAY.
After just over two weeks on the run, Lashley, of Arthur Seat, St Thomas, was shot and killed by police at September Square, 4th Avenue, Harts Gap, Christ Church, part of the constituency being held by the BLP outcast Dr Maria Agard and which Dr Duguid is seeking to retain for his party.
Residents were tight-lipped today, refusing to discuss yesterday’s incident.
“I ain’t getting in that. I ain’t know nobody was here. I ain’t putting my mouth in what I don’t know about. I ain’t hear nothing, I ain’t getting in that,” one female resident said this afternoon.
“I din here and I ain’t want to know,” a young man added.
However, as police continued their investigations in the area just after 3 p.m. today, Dr Duguid revealed that he had spoken with residents about the incident and they accepted that the police had to do their work.
He said while he was worried about the crime situation, he was “very surprised and a little disappointed” that the Freundel Stuart administration had held a consultation on the society “in a nice, air-conditioned conference centre [Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre]” instead of visiting communities and talking to residents to find out how they felt about what was happening in the society.
He urged Government to put programmes and policies in place to provide young people with opportunities “to make something better for themselves [so] they wouldn’t have to resort to crime and violence.
“I think that is a big problem that we have in this country and we have to find ways to get the young people employed again. We have to find programmes to get the young people having a sense of hope and faith in their Government and in their country that there is something for them. If we don’t do that we will continue to descend into the violent situation that we have,” Dr Duguid warned.