EDITORIAL – Hanging by a rope of sand?
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;Mere anarchy is loosed on the world.– William Butler Yeats
IF THE PERPETRATORS of this heinous crime were found guilty, says Minister of Health Donville Inniss (and there is no logical reason why actual perpetrators shouldn’t be guilty), they too should face death.Mr Inniss’ colleague Minister of Family and Youth Stephen Lashley, though “really, really” saddened by the “lawless act”, was less specific. He was content to have the culprits who set fire to the Campus Trendz store in Tudor Street on tragic Friday night “brought to justice within the swiftest time”.Brother Andre and uncle Roger of Tiffany Harding, one of six young women who perished in the Campus Trendz blaze started by two heartless robbers, too cried out for justice: Andre desperately for “action and not talk”, Roger angrily for “revenge”.The vast majority of NATION online readers were nigh as outraged by the horrific events of Tudor Street last Friday. They wanted a neck. Two thousand, two hundred and twenty-seven of them – up to press time.But Attorney General Freundel Stuart himself, measured as he almost always is, is not “satisfied . . . that swinging the gallows changes values in a society”.“When we hang,” reasons Mr Stuart, “we get rid of that particular perpetrator, but the values issue remains.”We are not joining the proverbial lynch mob, but we feel constrained to impress upon the Attorney General that the families of the victims of the Friday The Third Tudor Street tragedy – and astonished Barbadians at large – need more than philosophizing and calm. They deserve more than Mr Stuart’s optimism that “this crime will be solved sooner rather than later, and that the perpetrators will be ferreted out and brought to justice with haste”.The victims’ families and all decent right-thinking Barbadians long for the assurance that the barbaric deeds of last Friday are never repeated; that the criminally-minded are not emboldened by such drama.Mr Stuart seems to conjure up no such imagery as the Minister of Health’s: that those responsible for the demise of Shanna Griffith, Pearl Cornelius, Kellesha Olliviere, Kelly-Ann Welch, Tiffany Harding and Nikita Belgrave should also face death.Mr Stuart appears consumed by “a standing issue” with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights: its desire that Barbados remove from the law books “the mandatory death penalty”.Still, for all of it, the Attorney General declares it is a decision the Barbadian society will have to make.If the society must make the call – and we were of the impression it had long done so – then what is Mr Stuart’s real challenge, and by extension the Government’s?Or have we already fallen victim ourselves to the conscience of this Court of Human Rights?The society, Mr Stuart, has every right to know – now!