Updated: September 3, 2012
The end result for the Campus Trendz fire deaths turned out pretty much like we predicted two years ago: murder charge, guilty plea to manslaughter – but no real changes at all.
Bajan daughters and sons still work in downtown death traps with no way out, we still don’t have a Building Code as law and the equipment deficiencies at the Fire Service mean that if Campus Trendz happened again today, the same brave crying raging men who had to use manual sledge hammers to beat through the brick behind Campus Trendz would still be using manual sledge hammers – because it’s all they have.
UPDATED: September 13, 2010 – Murder Charges laid, accused named
Jamar Dewayne Orlando Bynoe, 19, Headley’s Land, Bank Hall (left)
Renaldo Anderson Alleyne, 21, Prescod Bottom, Hindsbury Road. (right)
Both young men are charged with the Murder of six young women at Campus Trendz, wounding with intent and arson in relation to the same happening. (Photos of accused courtesy of Barbados Today unless we hear from them otherwise)
Also charged with earlier petrol bombing of Chicken Galore
Bynoe and Alleyne are charged with aggravated burglary and arson at Chicken Galore at Bank Hall, St Michael, on August 13, 2010 three weeks before the September 3rd Campus Trendz murders.
Here is our original story published September 11, 2010 at 11:33pm Bridgetown time…
Barbados is still a small island with no place to run
Reports on radio and on the website of The Nation indicate that two men from Barbados are “assisting the police with their investigations” as of Saturday afternoon.
If we had to lay a bet on how this came about, we’d say that someone knew something and made a phone call that broke the case. A name, often given anonymously, is all it takes. That’s just our speculation at this point, but as we’ve said before, Barbados is a small island and smaller still if a normal criminal* is on the run after committing a horrific crime. That’s one of the things that helps to make this island relatively safe and much safer than many other countries.
If the two under arrest are the ones who robbed, chopped and then set the Campus Trendz shop on fire, their capture is some small comfort to the families of the six victims and the community – but really just one of the many steps that should happen in the coming months and years.
That’s “many steps that should happen”, but you know how it is here and so do we.
Our predictions for the Campus Trendz murder case…
The first concern now is the fear and hope by every rational person in Barbados that our under-funded, under-trained, under-staffed and less-than-professional police force won’t blow the case (or haven’t already) through mishandling of evidence, lack of professional resources or knowledge – or even (Lord help us) amateurish Keystone Cops actions. That’s always a worry.
“There will be no real inquiry into the other factors that set the stage for six young women to burn to death in the rear of what should have been a safe workplace.”
The next concern is that the public will never be told the truth about the many factors that led to the deaths of our relatives, friends and neighbours. There will be a “sub-justice” clamp on any real facts by the news media so as not to taint the criminal trial of the two accused and that is understandable and normal to an extent.
Sadly though, what is also “normal” (as most thinking Barbadians know) is that after the trial and sentencing, there will be no real inquiry into the other factors that set the stage for six young women to burn to death in the rear of what should have been a safe workplace.
Time works in favour of those who want a nice quiet resolution that focuses entirely on the evil actions of two “youths” as they will probably be called in the press to prepare the public for a soft approach. Remember that only a few months ago the Barbados Advocate called the 25 year old career criminal who murdered Canadian tourist Teresa “Terry” Schwarzfeld a “youth” to prepare us for a plea bargain? (See Murderous 25 year old career criminal described as “Youth”)
There will be lots of political posturing and promises (there already have been), but in three or four years no changes will have taken place. The victims will have died for nothing and the factors that resulted in their deaths will remain – waiting for the next confluence of circumstance to cause more preventable deaths.
Remember the Arch Cot cave-in deaths of a whole family as they slept over three years ago? Remember the promises for changes, implementation and enforcement of a building code, mapping of caves and full answers about who was responsible and how the deaths happened? Remember all that?
So here’s our predictions for the Campus Trendz robbery and murders of six young women.
1/ Charges laid – probably murder, maybe manslaughter but we’re betting murder for at least one of the accused, based upon turning one against the other if they didn’t both throw petrol bombs.
2/ No trial. After a couple of years, a plea bargain down to Manslaughter, backed up by a public relations campaign by the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Attorney General about why the decision was made etc. Easier for the government to handle the fallout years later than to have a public trial where the authorities lose control.
During a trial the defense lawyers will undoubtedly claim that the accused didn’t mean to kill anyone but set the fire to prevent someone following them – thinking that the girls would make it out the back fire exit. That would raise many of the issues that people want to see raised at an inquest and the authorities don’t want that. Bad for them, bad for the country’s tourism business where so much is based upon image and not reality. Same anywhere, really.
3/ Public Inquest? Not a chance. Not going to happen. No way.
The most common response and ‘solution’ to incidents of mass death in Barbados – whether caused by crime, neglect or lack of proper standards – continues to be political promises for future change made to a population that is conditioned to expect and accept low standards and low performance.
* Our reference to a “normal criminal” being easy to catch on this island is in contrast to, for instance, a criminal who conducts a professional assassination such as the murder of retired Barbados Immigration Chief and former Assistant Superintendent of Police Kenrick Hutson at his home. That crime remains unsolved.
Photo credit – The Nation: Two suspects nabbed in Tudor Street blaze