A fire believed to have started by two men who robbed the Campus Trendz store in Tudor Street, The City, engulfed the two-storey building along the busy shopping street, trapping the hapless victims within the inferno...........According to police, the two robbers, in view of shocked customers, threw an incendiary device into Campus Trendz just before 7 p.m., after taking an undisclosed amount of cash.
I spent parts of the last two days thinking about what I could say in response to this tragic event and to be honest I was coming up totally blank.
The shock of six young lives cut short, the absolute devastation that the families of the deceased must feel and the grief shared by bajans at home and abroad means to me that nothing that I really have to say, to me seemed significant enough to actually share. I'm not sure the feelings I have can be put into words truthfully.
Six young females all between the ages of 18 and 24 snuffed out suddenly in such a senseless manner. May they rest in peace.
What can be said though, what thoughts do I have. Its all a jumble in my head.
For one I wonder what is going through the black hearts of the criminals who did this? It was not enough to rob the business but they had to firebomb it as well. It wasn't as if the workers refused to hand over the money either, they had what they came for why attempt to burn down the business and take lives as well?
I truly hope the correct culprits are found and made to pay for this crime.
For another, I think if only we followed a fire code back home and businesses had to have alternate exits the 6 who died would have been rattled somewhat over the incident but still alive at this moment. Its time that the Barbados government do something about this. There are potentially tens if not hundreds of businesses who are in this same predicament and I hope that this tragedy, while we cant bring back the lives lost, will serve as a catalyst to spur our authorities into action to make sure that businesses are brought up to some fire code or standard where this can never ever happen again.
Third, I've seen comments online and in the local bajan press alluding to the possibility that the murderers were not bajan or that even if they were it is foreign influences that have caused us to become like this. When something like this happens the shock of the situation usually leads us to believe that outside forces are the reason for such an event happening in our community. We'd like to believe that everyone in our community is an upstanding citizen with pure intentions. Alas this is never so. I dont know if the perpetrators are local or foreign or what influenced this act but all I do know is that we have recently seen some senseless violence perpetrated in various Caribbean countries; beheadings in St Vincent, murders and outrageous violent crimes against small children in Trinidad etc. The time has come to realize and accept that our small islands aren't what they were 20-30 years ago. Like Biggie says "Things dun changed". Accept that and then maybe we can move in the right direction to fixing what is wrong. Its not likely that things will return to what they were but there are things we can do to fix these things.
One of my friends says we only have ourselves to blame because we have sat back and allowed our morals and our rules and regulations to be infringed upon while we sit back and just watch and did nothing. I agree with this to some extent but at the same time I believe that most of us realize that things aren't the same as they were and there is some fear in confronting the crime and criminals, hell there is even some fear in confronting small children who you could have once corrected for wrongdoing further less big adults committing wrongdoings.
I don't have a simple solution, I'm not sure anyone does. Maybe it starts with the children, maybe it involves education, maybe it involves finding useful outlets and employment for idle hands, maybe it involves full enforcement of the law and respect for our lawmakers, maybe it involves instilling a renewed sense of community in our youth, maybe it involves the church, maybe it involves communication across age and gender divides and political and social status affiliations.......... maybe it involves all of those things or none and maybe that's all too grandiose and Utopian and its really much simpler. Like I said I don't know.
The fact is though, lives were lost in a senseless incident, lives that didn't need to be lost. One of the most tragic events in the history of Barbados has taken place and I would be remiss, actually we all would be if we didn't stop and take stock of where our nation is, the direction its heading in and what we can do to make things better.