Tragedy a ‘wake-up call’ for country
Last Friday’s robbery is a true “wake-up call” to just how violent this country has become.
And the fiery images of the six who died will burn in the memories of Barbadians for a long time, a leading psychologist and counsellor has told the DAILY NATION.
Anderson Kellman, a pastor with the Nazarene Church of Barbados and a psychologist who was on the scene at Tudor Street where six young women died in a fire at the Campus Trendz store, believes parents in Barbados can no longer keep just how bad this society has become under the rug.
“Our children are exposed to a lot of things on television which are not necessarily true, but this tragedy is completely different. It has hit home, and every parent in Barbados should be talking to their children about proper virtues and the possibility of taking the wrong turn in life,” Kellman said during an exclusive interview.
Kellman said that last weekend’s tragedy had made Barbadians angrier than he had ever seen. “We have to be very careful how we deal with this as a society. I have heard people even talk about arming themselves, and that’s not what we want.”
The psychologist of 14 years’ experience counselled a number of Campus Trendz staff who survived the blaze as well as families of some of the victims.
And he believes the incident was so tragic that even members of the Police Force, the Ambulance Service and the Barbados Fire Service should go through some form of counselling over the next few weeks.
“This particular crime has really created a new awareness of how serious crime in Barbados is at the moment. It has heightened the way we truly feel about people refusing to live within the country’s laws, and what we feel should be done with them when they are caught,” the Bank Hall, St Michael church leader said.
According to Kellman, many people were still not dealing with the situation well, and should seek additional counselling.
“The average Barbadian is angrier than ever before. We need to talk about this as a country, to really vent our feelings. The intensity might diminish over the next few weeks, but this is something Barbadians definitely need to talk about,” the psychologist said.
Kellman added that because of how sudden the deaths of the six were, family and friends would have to seriously consider seeking professional psychological help.
He feels that even more emphasis now should be placed on institutions such as PAREDOS so as to foster the right kind of value systems among Barbadian youth, so they do not become entangled in criminal activity.
“We have to connect with our families. Even schools need more counsellors to get the message through forcefully. It can’t be just lip service anymore when it comes to our society. There must be a commitment to make this society better and safer,” Kellman said.
He added that because of the robbery, fire and deaths of the women, many Barbadians were now truly “scared” of their environment.