Trigger happy

Govt minister, priest troubled by recent gun incident at Westbury cemetery

Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler today joined with a local Anglican cleric in expressing alarm over a recent gun incident at the graveside a funeral, which the senior Government official said underscored the problem of small arms entry into Barbados.

Speaking to Barbados TODAY on the sidelines of a private function held this evening, Sinckler said both as a citizen and a member of the Freundel Stuart administration he was deeply troubled that there seemed to be “a plethora of small arms in Barbados so readily available and so easily carried by individuals”.

Chris Sinckler
Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

“It is of very deep concern I know to the whole Government and to all of us as citizens. We don’t manufacture guns here so it means it has to be coming from somewhere,” said Sinckler, adding, “what is troubling to all of us is how easily it seems as though these deadly weapons can find their way into Barbados and then into the hands of the wrong people. So we have to be very concerned.”

The Minister of Finance, who as the minister with responsibility for the Customs department has oversight of border security, said the agency was working with the security forces “to try and beef our inspection and work at the borders, both airport and seaport, particularly where cargo is concerned to ensure we put some kind of halt to this seemingly free-flow of weapons in the country”.

Commenting on Monday’s publicized incident, which occurred at Westbury Cemetery in the neighbouring constituency, the representative for St Michael North West further admitted that he was “really bothered” about the incident, while noting that he attended “quite a few” funerals.

“The kind of things you see taking place at funerals nowadays, it really is very, very bothersome when you see what is happening with people drinking alcohol at funerals and pouring it into the grave and having fights [and] arguments, it really is quite concerning and it is something we have to address and nip in the bud. That is just not the Barbados we want,” he insisted.

In a separate interview, Reverend Michael Clarke also commented on Monday’s incident in which a Coast Guard Chief Petty Officer Ryan Selby was accosted by three young men after he took possession of a firearm, which was spotted lying precariously at the graveside at the funeral of late Leading Seaman Adrianna Sobers.

A video recording of the incident suggests that the gun had been misplaced by one of the mourners and the men, who snatched the weapon from Selby, were sent to retrieve it.

Reverend Michael Clarke
Reverend Michael Clarke

Describing the situation as “sick”, Rector of St Thomas Parish Church Reverend Michael Clarke said it should serve as a wake-up call to the Church, which he said urgently needs to re-examine its message and its relationship with the community.

He said as much as he was alarmed at the development, it was an indication that “certain things have gone unchecked”.

“We have held places like the Church off limits in many regards, but the fact is the Church is a part of the community and if the community is sick the sickness will come to the Church,” he warned.

“Any time those kinds of things can happen it means that we are losing sense of, or have lost sense of, who we are as individuals. And once you have lost sense of who you are as individuals or a part of the human family, it is a sickness.

“It is a spiritual sickness, but it is a sickness nonetheless,” he emphasized, “and we have to be aware of that”.

The Anglican cleric also sought to caution the Church that it should never seek to “fight” crime.

“In a sense it is a wake-up call for the Church to begin to look at the kind of ministry that it is offering to our community”.

“The whole idea of focusing on people getting to heaven, that is archaic now,” he said.

“We have got to begin to look more at how we relate to individuals and not just those who come to Church or work with us but individuals on a whole. We are all one,” said Clarke.

“So when it comes to our doorsteps . . . we have to ask what have we not done, what we were supposed to have done in this individual life.”

While acknowledging that it was a very difficult time for Barbadian institutions on the whole, he said the Church was particularly challenged, not just in terms of “the moral fabric but the whole spiritual dimension of our people.

“It is almost non existent now because we have bought into materialism,” he said.

However, Clarke said the recent occurrence would not cause him to alter his approach to funeral services involving non-members, pointing out that a funeral service was a prime opportunity to minister to them.

He suggested that while members of the Royal Barbados Police Force continued to offer protection at some funerals, it was also a time for everyone “to cooperate and make sure that if [the police] are not aware of something, we make sure they are aware.

“Beyond that it is a slow process. One of re-education [and] helping persons to discover who they are,” he said.

8 Responses to Trigger happy

  1. MariaMaria Angel
    MariaMaria Angel April 24, 2015 at 1:43 am

    Look enough now!! You mean every four hours a new article about a gun dropping at a funeral???
    The “Honourable” (and I being sarcastic as hell) Minister needs to go sort out my damn tax refund money, tha’s wah!

  2. jr smith April 24, 2015 at 3:56 am

    Just like the US , you all want , hoods and ghettos , this bring the drugs and the guns, so deal with it.
    Gun amnesty ,stop and search and stiff financial penalties or short prison terms , any and everybody. Who the hell is running Barbados.

  3. Louise King
    Louise King April 24, 2015 at 5:13 am

    One said Anglican —one said Roman — I say Hypocrites and parasites dwells in same place–which is Satan secrets–

  4. Alex Alleyne April 24, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Barbados is becoming a drug city . Where you find drugs , you will find guns .

  5. Olutoye Walrond April 24, 2015 at 8:39 am

    I have to disagree with you Mr. Clarke. I don’t think this has anything to do with the Church. We always implicate the Church in any decline in our social fabric, but the truth is that the Church is really only a body of people committed to a set of principles.

    They, themselves, may live by those principles, but they have no means of imposing those principles on the rest of the community. The people who go about shooting and robbing and fighting in public are probably not aligned with any church.

    My own view is that the society has become really soft on criminal behaviour. It began with the striking down of flogging with the cat, deemed cruel and inhuman punishment A man ambushes and rapes a woman and then it is considered cruel and inhuman to put some lashes in his tail. But it is not cruel and inhuman to beat children.

    So the criminally minded have decided that their day has come and they are doing dixie. Who can blame them?

  6. lester April 24, 2015 at 2:29 pm

    Truth be told Barbados as a nation have turned their back on the Lord that has been the people’s guide for the past 300 years.
    Truth be told we have adopted a gangster culture and pass it on to the children, Ah sinful nation a people laden with iniquity, barbados will pay dearly for its dirty attitude towards God, study it

  7. Maxine Hutchinson April 24, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly with what Dr Michael Clarke’s comments. In addition, I am saying that the church would need to assist persons to focus on their spiritual nature – at least help them to understand that each person is dual in nature – human and Divine and therefore must see to lift themselves spiritually to the Divine level which in turn would assist them in controlling their thoughts, words and actions in such a manner as to co-exist peacefully with their fellow citizens and be in awe at the wonders of Almighty God, as He functions in their lives and the lives of their family and friends.

    There are those of who who are aware that many of our young people are possessed with earth-bound spirits who use them as their vehicles to wreck havoc on their lives and the lives of others. Many of our young people need deliverance from forces of darkness. They have become easy prey to be controlled by such forces because many of them do not offer a word of prayer to God. They are of the belief that they would have to be going to church to do so.

    The most holy temple of God can the human body – not a wooden or clay altar. Teach our young ones to pray because one day the prayers may save their lives if they find themselves in a difficult situation in which they are unable to physically defeat their enemy.

  8. daseta April 28, 2015 at 8:01 pm

    Its the respectable business men with legal business paying their taxes bringing in these guns, its the white collar wearers bringing in these guns. its the men whose pocket deeps bringing in these guns. the men who above the law bringing in these guns. profiting both ways from the sales and the charges . these guns dont get find like d ganja u know…cause they coming in with the high grade cocain da ppl does see and dont see


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