Few of our neighbours in large countries or even large cities can truly understand the impact of the tragedy that is visiting Barbados at this moment. We have six people dead and, if the talk is true, more than a few others who are barely holding on. Dozens more were injured to various degrees but will recover.
Everybody we have spoken with knows at least a few of the dead and the injured. Everybody. That’s the way it is on this tiny island.
At times of mass injuries or deaths, there is a tendency for some folks to say “This is not an appropriate time to discuss the hows and whys of the situation. Leave that until after.”
Others say that at the time of the tragedy is exactly the moment to discuss what happened because – whatever the causes were – nobody cared enough about them the day before the accident, and in a few weeks the discussion will fade from the front pages and our daily conversation because life goes on.
We can see both sides. Even families in the midst of tragedy are torn between their need of privacy and comfort with loved ones – and their realisation that if they don’t demand accountability, there may be none.
Injected into all this is a reality that many – perhaps even a majority of citizens – have doubts about the integrity of some in the police and the government. They believe rightly or wrongly that some officials will fail to make full enquiries – that they will attempt to protect those special folks who can do no wrong on Bim. This lack of trust in our public officials makes things more difficult for everyone, even the police and public officials who are earnestly and honestly attempting to bring order and provide answers so that this never happens again.
Some of our readers are already discussing possible causes, and some are being very quick – way too quick – to assign various levels of blame to named persons or the government.
As Barbados mourns, let’s take a few days and concentrate on the victims and their families and friends.
Barbados Free Press, and I’m sure the other blogs on this island, will not let this issue fade from memory. Barbados deserves answers and the truth, but for now let’s mourn and pray – and trust that the good men and women who have dedicated their lives to helping others will do what is necessary to first look after the victims and their relatives, and secondly – to start the process of accountability and understanding in a professional and honest manner.
Marcus, Shona, Robert, George, Cliverton and Auntie Moses