Robin Hood gangs

Husbands says gangs are taking care of some communities

In what could be described as a reprise of the Robin Hood practices of former Jamaican drug lord Christopher Dudus Coke or Pablo Escobar, the former head of the dangerous Medellín drug cartel in Columbia, a local pastor and social worker is contending that some of the worst gang members here are also assisting the needy with some of their very basic needs.

This is why, Roger Husbands of Empowerment International Ministries said, police are having a hard time getting a grip of the crime situation in many of the trouble spots.

“Some of these gangs even take care of some people in districts as well. Don’t let us shut our eyes on that because there are some people who are paid . . . they are given money by gang men to pay their bills – light bills, food bills – to keep their mouths closed,” Husbands told Barbados TODAY.

“That is why when police come to arrest a person or something happens, people are vex and want to fight because they are being taken care of by gangs.”

This is similar to what transpired in Jamaica where Coke, described by the United States at the time as one of the world’s most dangerous drug lords, was revered by people in the West Kingston slum of Tivoli Gardens, where he provided residents with services and protection.

“He made sure I stayed out of trouble and paid for my schooling. He was even going to pay for me to go to pilot school,” one teenager told the BBC in 2012, two years after he was extradited to the US where he was jailed for 23 years on drugs charges, after a bloody mission by lawmen to capture him.

Some 60 people, some of them women, are believed to have died trying to prevent his arrest.

In Columbia, Pablo Escobar was leader of the Medellín Cartel which at one point controlled as much as 80 per cent of the international cocaine trade.

While he waged a violent war against the authorities, ordering the assassination of countless individuals, including police officers, journalists, and politicians, he was also well known for investing large sums of his fortune in charitable public works, including the construction of schools, sports fields and housing developments for the urban poor. Therefore, he too was regarded in Colombia as a local Robin Hood. Husbands did not suggest that the situation is the same here, but he said he had begun to notice a similar pattern.

“I am not saying that it is all over Barbados, but we are seeing it in small pockets. I will say again, we are having a big problem with gangs in this small nation of ours, and a lot of our young fellas and young girls are not going towards the academic areas. They are coming out of school and going onto the blocks,” he said.

Husbands, the director of Drug Education and Counselling Services (DECS), painted a troubling picture of the gang situation here, contending that they were changing their method of operation, with some merging to form super gangs.

He described encounters with young gang members who say they were in a state of war, hence the number of illegal guns on the streets, he said.

“As one young man said to me, ‘we gotta carry de guns because the issue is that there is war and wherever there is war you gotta take a gun’. They don’t want at the end of the day to get shoot. They prefer to shoot the person first. Right now, within the gangs, districts and communities you are finding a lot of young people coming to the place where they are defending themselves. That’s why they carry the weapons.

“That’s why they carry the knives [and so on] . . . so that if anybody comes around them from another territory that they have a war against that they would use the weapon. In so far as some children who have to come here [DECS] for counselling do not want to come to town because they have war with some people in the town area. We have a situation in Barbados that needs addressing,” he stressed.

Following the Kadooment Day shooting along Spring Garden Highway that left 20-year-old Taried Junior Rock of 3rd Avenue, Chapman Land, St Michael dead and 18 others injured, Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith had said that there were 16 gangs operating in the Black Rock, St Michael area alone.

The country has been experiencing a wave of crime, with 25 murders so far this year, 21 of which were gun related.

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on Sunday promised  “a suite of legislative and other measures” to combat the rising crime, but gave no details.

22 Responses to Robin Hood gangs

  1. Glenroy Gaskin Green
    Glenroy Gaskin Green September 6, 2017 at 12:22 am

    This is a sad that time has come to this,when drug runnings and criminal activities are taking care of neighborhoods.

  2. jrsmith September 6, 2017 at 5:15 am

    Trust this that a so call man of God , seems to know more of the criminal problems in barbados than our police ……….. We are a small island with a massive non productive failed political set up..
    Are we to judge our police as like our failed politicians , if this is so its scary…………………….
    In our barbados this is more clear than before , that lots of criminals is being protected , could be by some religious organizations they then cannot call themselves Christians , because lots of people as I always say have blood on they hands..
    …………………Our politicians have failed our black masses, they cannot be trusted because they haven’t done anything for the benefit to any one but themselves , what direction is our barbados heading in , everyday seems to be hurricane day from this government to our people ……………………………

    • Jennifer September 6, 2017 at 6:30 am

      @Jrsmith – True but you need to stop falling short. It is so ridiculous that a pastor would be coming with information like this about some communities with gang penetration. What does this actually say about ALL OF THE SYSTEMS set up in this place??? And this happening is probably regional also. This information says a lot about our whole pepperpot set up including the police, education system, religious system, and the political system also. You lot followed the one appointed the sword to live by (the pastor should know this one) so no surprise here, stay tuned for more to come.

  3. Santini More
    Santini More September 6, 2017 at 5:15 am

    If this story is true then it would indicate just how desperate life has become in Barbados?

    • Ras Small
      Ras Small September 6, 2017 at 6:51 am

      Whole World, wid probable exceptions of Denmark, Switzerland and maybe a few uddas.

  4. tom September 6, 2017 at 6:20 am

    that is very true, also because the gangs and drug dealers have so much control over the neighborhoods, everyone wants to be their friend, so although these gang members and drug dealers, are tearing up the neighborhood, some of the people in the neighborhood over look the bad things they do, because they dont want to be harrassed by these gang members or drug dealers. You have to stand your ground and let them know, they cant be doing drugs on your property, because they look for abandon or homes that are under construction, and most of the time the owners are over seas. They plant and do their drugs in the constructed homes, and the adults in the neighborhood look the other way. Also its also a case where if mary is my best friend in the neighborhood, and mary knows everyone’s business, but mary two or three kids is drug dealers, I will keep my mouth close because i want to be mary’s friend. Its a tangled confused weave, then when mary and you not speaking anymore, mary’s kids will bully your kids, or sit alongside the street, and spill all your secrets. Its a horrible association, but you the homeower, have to be courteous to your neighbors, but soon as they gather in or at your house, you cant get them to leave, and thats how they know all your business.

  5. tom September 6, 2017 at 6:28 am

    its so sickening, if an innocent person go to another neighborhood, but both neighborhoods have turf wars, that innocent kid would be beaten. These young men and women got that mentality from countries such as US, England or maybe Canada. Young people need to stay to themselves, and dont associate with gang members, but you dont know who is who. Also gang members associate in neighborhoods that encourage them, so you see lots of them gather in one place from morning until night time, and most of them dont even live in that neighborhood. They are looking to see where to harvest and plant their drugs, and police need to have some talk with them, so they will not be too comfortable in that neighborhood.

  6. Bonita Weekes
    Bonita Weekes September 6, 2017 at 6:29 am

    Stop making excuses for people’s wickedness, times have always been tough but yet we made it. You encouraged a bunch of entitled, selfish, lazy human beings who have no plan for their lives a nd who thinks that the world revolves around them. When most parents ruled their households things were different, can’t plant cassava and reap yams.

  7. Guto Owen
    Guto Owen September 6, 2017 at 6:52 am

    Gangsters and governments really aren’t much different to each other anywhere in the world!

  8. Ras Small
    Ras Small September 6, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Blaming Robin Hood ( which is also a bk & movie(s), music, neglected up bringing and poor education will CONtinue, whilst no Wholistic solutions are implemented.

  9. Roger Headley September 6, 2017 at 6:56 am

    Whatever Husbands and tom know, the police and those in authority know as well. It hasn’t presented itself at their doors as yet, but me today and you tomorrow.

  10. Thunder September 6, 2017 at 7:59 am

    What is wrong with what Pastor husbands is saying?he works with young people as well as gang members,so he knows what he is saying,the biggest problem is that we have a society that is in denial,we want to criticize other nations,but you can’t speak about the problems in our country.
    Homes are failing because we spend too much time at work,and by the time we come home,we have no time to raise our children, the schools have failed because they only care about ‘the high flyers’ and unless you can get 60% and up,your labelled as dunce and remedial,there needs to be alternatives from the primary level.
    The church has failed because the only person whose needs seems to be important is the Pastor’s needs,while loyal members come to church to pay thithes,but struggling to pay their bills.
    The court system has failed because unless you can get afford a good lawyer ,you waste precious time in jail.
    The government has failed because they willfully ignore the cries of the people,while greedy politicians accumulate millions to take care of their needs and their families needs.
    I think it is a disgrace when gang leaders, do more for the poor than the elected government,we can sit and judge all we want to,things change when the shoe is on the other foot,we need to listen to what Pastor Roger is saying, because by the time we are
    willing to listen,it will be too late.

  11. Ashanda Coward
    Ashanda Coward September 6, 2017 at 8:10 am

    I believe some of you who read the article read it to respond and not understand, as usual most people don’t read to get the knowledge as what’s being said and create they own fb/social media war. Some post people should just pass and not say anything.

    • Corey Clarke
      Corey Clarke September 6, 2017 at 8:37 am

      So tell me what do u take from this statement then…

  12. Rawle Spooner
    Rawle Spooner September 6, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Bajans gine shout down the messenger but he makes some very good points.Listen folks the good ole days done so deal with new reality and learn to adjust and deal with it before it get worse.

  13. Sue Donym September 6, 2017 at 8:41 am

    “Husbands… said he had begun to notice a similar pattern” and of course he would have shared his observations with members of the clergy, religious affiliates and community leaders in their effort to bring relief to the affected. For what is the good of tithes and collections, if not to help the poor and most needy.
    Does it say anything that those in difficulty find it easier to turn to perpetrators of crime than to approach the church? Have they not convinced their attendees, by their deeds, that they are true followers of Jesus? Do they no longer seek out the ill and struggling to offer physical and moral support?

    True, our local churches are unlikely to match the structures provided by an Escobar but surely helping communities to regain some dignity would give people the confidence to become activists in their own areas, to demand that politicians redirect funding to community centres and training facilities. The difference between giving a fish and teaching to fish, remember?

  14. Kevin September 6, 2017 at 9:29 am

    I said this before in another article. The family and people in the communities know who the criminals are, they know who deals in the drug trade and they know who have the guns. People in the communities where the gangs are located are not willingly going to ‘sell-out’ their criminal neighbours These criminals are their school friends, their neighbours, or familys’ friends etc. It would not be so easy.

  15. Alex Alleyne September 6, 2017 at 9:35 am

    You people call such fellers “Block Leaders”. Are you all serious ??????.

  16. Milli Watt September 6, 2017 at 9:47 am

    bumba ccllllaaaattttttttttttttttttttttttttt

  17. Jennifer September 6, 2017 at 10:51 am

    @Thunder – well said. I think that some of us really do not UNDERSTAND the impact which can occur from the implementation of poorly structured systems or well structured social systems. This can make or break a people. Division is the foundation of a poorly structured system. Division is in all of the systems mentioned by thunder.

  18. Meakai September 6, 2017 at 4:47 pm

    I need to find and read a copy of Robin Hood. My memory chip seems to be failing. Either that or some files have been changed since I fist read that story.


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