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EVERYTHING BUT: To be a shrine

Ridley Greene

EVERYTHING BUT: To be a shrine

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There are scores of words for it: among them violation, debasement, defilement, debauchery, degradation, abuse, misuse, ill-use, maltreatment, irreverence, profanation, desecration!
It’s the obscene besmirching of the facade of the place of death on Tudor Street – where two years ago six young women perished in a small store where some worked and others shopped.
No wonder the September 3rd Foundation group didn’t even include the site, which ought to have remained a shrine – at least, of sorts – in their itinerary. The ill-fated and now closed Campus Trendz boutique, stripped of its solemnity and originally assumed piety, now sticks out, with all its glued and pasted dance notices and other showbiz posters, like an uglily plastered sore thumb.
At best, the Campus?Trendz front door strikes one as an emblem of burnished depravity.
One may attribute quiet-storm social programming to David Comissiong as far as the Campus Trendz tragedy and its aftermath are concerned. But one cannot accuse him of not so motivating the country that its people would not have wanted to stop for a minute on Monday and reflect on the ungracious snuffing out of the lives of Nikita Belgrave, Pearl Cornelius, Shanna Griffith, Tiffany Harding, Kellisha Olliviere and Kelly-Ann Welch – and extrapolate such indignity on and demise of their mother, aunt, sister, daughter, niece in similar and inexcusably criminal circumstances.
Clearly, Mr Comissiong has reflected longer and more than most, if we will go with his publicly and passionately vented feelings on that grievously sad affair. But he has even considered more.
“Maybe the time will come,” the September 3rd Foundation founder says, “that because these six young ladies died, something will come out of their living that was able to touch Barbados in a special way.”
It may have been unintentionally cryptic, but its mysterious feel drives us to reflect on the highest sacrifice that can be made – and so done when it was not expected of you, and for no ostensibly good reason to boot.
Attorney Comissiong has hopes that Monday’s Day Of Reflection will have stirred Barbadians to sit up and take notice of the violence and crime that now encircle us more than ever before. Some of us are laden with the very same wishes, but are not unmindful that the criminals themselves seek solace and take comfort in the arms of equally eager legal minds. After all, everyone is entitled to legal representation; and therein is the conundrum.
So, after the anniversary church service last Sunday, and Monday’s noon minute of silence and graveside visits, what now? Will it be business as usual until next September 3?
For sure, the families and close friends of Nikita, Pearl, Shanna, Tiffany, Kellisha and Kelly-Ann will continue to ache deep within their souls and David Comissiong with keep championing the cause. Among his challenges will be getting the City folk to display a little more – no, a substantial degree more of – respect for those departed six young women by allowing the place where they died to be a shrine to their memory.
In an age overshadowed by inappropriateness and ruthless rudeness, there is no better place in the life of this country to begin to show our sincerity in the expressed love and concern for the trapped and helpless six who had their lives taken from them in what must have been to them long agonizing moments.
In a manner of speaking, their agony is over now. As grandma Cicely Harding said of her Tiffany, her “consolation is that she is in the hands of the Almighty. She is not in no suffering. She is not in no pain. We are in the suffering now; not her. We are the ones facing this”.
This will be illustrative of the feelings of all the grandparents, parents, siblings, other loved ones and friends of Tiffany’s fellow victims. It may be as well indicative of a sentiment shared by those of us farther removed from the affected familial circles, but no so distant that the painfully grim imagery is fleeting for us.
Indeed, if something good will come out of the dying of Nikita, Pearl, Shanna, Tiffany, Kellisha and Kelly-Ann, Mr Comissiong’s dream will not have passed similarly.
• Ridley Greene is a Caribbean multi-award-winning journalist.