Daily Archives: September 8, 2011

BFP’s Opinion: No jail sentence necessary for Johan Bjerkhamn, but larger issues ignored

UPDATED December 21, 2011: Bjerkanm sentenced to 240 hours community service

(pinned to top – scroll down for newer stories)

As expected, Johan Bjerkhamn will not go to jail over the accidental shooting death of his son. Instead he will do 240 hours of Community Service. That’s fine with BFP, but as we point out in this post, citizens have no answers on the important questions raised by this shooting.

Same old, same old ’bout hey.

Our original story first published Sept 8, 2011…

Bjerkhamn to be sentenced December 21, 2011

The Nation is reporting that Johan Bjerkhamn will probably receive “community service” as his penalty for accidentally shooting and killing his 11 year old son Luke.

No court can impose any penalty that is greater than what he is already under. The larger questions remain unanswered, as we said in the below post originally published on September 8, 2011…

No sentence can exceed the father’s burden

The manslaughter charge against Johan Bjerkhamn was withdrawn last Tuesday by Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock. Bjerkhamn now only faces a charge that he “willfully exposed” his 11 year old son, Luke, “in a manner likely to cause injury to his health.” (Nation article here)

There was supposed to be a continuation of the court hearing today (Thursday September 8th) but I haven’t heard any results. The hearing and sentencing may be over as I write this post.

By all accounts Johan Bjerkhamn accidentally shot his son to death as he was handling a Glock pistol with the boy present. Bjerkhamn violated the first rule of gun handling and pointed the pistol at another human being that he did not intend to shoot. Whether the gun is empty or loaded that is the rule and it’s a good rule for tragically obvious reasons.

The pistol went off and the bullet passed through Mr. Bjerhamn’s hand before striking Luke in the chest.

The published sections of his statement to the police are heart-wrenching. Any father, any mother, can only imagine the horror upon realizing that they killed their son through their own carelessness.

As we commented in a previous post

“Mr. Bjerkhamn should probably be banned for life from owning weapons, but other than that we can’t see anything to be done. No penalty can be worse than the burden he already carries.”

We agree with the DPP’s decision to drop the manslaughter charge, and we are pleased that this is being done in a public court and reported in the local news media. As recently as July 7, 2011, BFP criticized the authorities for failing to be transparent with the public about the Bjerkhamn case. We hope this newly-found will to keep the public informed continues.

Firearm dealer licenses primarily handed out to elites

There is an outstanding issue revealed by Luke’s death that is being ignored. It was rumoured that Johan Bjerkhamn had a firearms dealer license but was not a genuine dealer. Bajans believe that Firearms dealer licenses are primarily handed out to the upper class and political elites as a matter of convenience to allow people to get around the law restricting the number of firearms that one person can own. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Police

High-wire Robbery by Barbados Light & Power

By Orlando Burke

My most recent electric bill showed a significant increase. My energy charges totaled $252.50 while the fuel charge was $549.16. If paid before the discount date, the Barbados Light & Power (BL&P) would reward me with a discount amounting to around $30.00. I will not be hooked by such insignificant bait.

Originally, fuel was an input in the production process of the BL&P; now it is both an input, and an add-on. An apt analogy would be the case of a baker selling a loaf of bread and charging extra for the flour used to make it.

Currently, Barbados is experiencing challenging economic times. A period characterized by lay-offs, calls for Unions to exercise wage restraint, and the common sight of persons having to leave items at the cash register in the supermarket.

I am concerned that in such an environment, the BL&P, a private monopoly appears comfortable in recording a profit of $54 million. While it is accepted that investment in a new plant facility, as alluded to by an official of BL&P in the Nation Newspaper, Sunday Sun edition of 28th August, 2011 maybe necessary over the long term, there is still no justification for the super-profits recorded by the Company. Continue reading

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Filed under Barbados, Consumer Issues, Energy