Ministers console residents following shooting deaths
Area ministers walked through the Pembroke neighbourhood where two men were killed in a shooting this week.
Their aim was to talk and share fellowship with residents, after a lone gunman shot Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge dead in Belvins Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke
Reverend Nicholas Dill, of St Johns Church, was joined by Reverend David Lambe, of the Faith Deliverance Centre, and Reverend Oral Barnett, co-pastor of Cities of Refuge Ministries.
Speaking about Wednesday evenings double shooting, Rev Dill said: When I first heard about it I was just absolutely blown away with how awful that was. We know the people who were either murdered or their families because they come up here every Wednesday.
St Augustines Church family hosts a free dinner every Wednesday for families who live on the Curving Avenue. They have been serving hot dinners in the community for the past 18 months.
They just dont know how to live their lives in such a way that they can be free of this. As soon as I heard that this happened, I knew that there were going to be ripples going through this neighbourhood because its a very close-knit neighbourhood.
Everyone knows everybody and theres a lot of mixed-up relationships and things like that and these are people who are having a really hard time.
Theyre struggling with huge unemployment issues, a lot poverty issues and all that goes with that and it hits them.
The irony, he said, is that a lot of the guys who are hitting on each other are related to each other, or at least thats what hes been told.
The problem is that you are guilty by association, everyone hangs out with each other and gangs are not so clearly defined as they might be in other places, he said.
Im sure that there is a core group, and that will have a drug element to it, but its just this anger and frustration and powerlessness, What have I got to live for?
I was just speaking with a young man and I asked him what his plans were, what does he want his life to be, his hopes and dreams. And he said I dont know, I dont have any, I dont even know if Im going to live to see tomorrow.
I think were dealing with desperate situations. Someone just said to me if we didnt have illegal drugs in this country there would be people breaking into homes because theres a whole group in society that have no job or no prospect of a job.
Theres an educational component to it, theres socio-economic component to it and people need to make ends meet. You have to be able to live and you have to eat everyday whether you have a job or not
When you hear that some of these people are paying all of their earnings on keeping the lights on and things like that. And the food that theyre feeding their children may be poor, so they do come up here to eat and they are hungry.
Its not a huge number of people but it's a growing number of people, said Rev Dill. We also run a food pantry over at St Johns Church and every Thursday the number is growing for groceries and things like that.
Rev Lambe said that his church and others have implemented a number of programmes to assist members of the community.
When I first came into this community, I saw the need and thats what it was. Now we knock on doors and bring the service to them because there are some who are not mobile.
All three ministers discussed the issue of poverty, education and hopelessness in the area.
Said Rev Barnett: I believe that theres a root cause, and this problem in a nutshell is Satan. I firmly believe that if we can get to the root cause then we can solve the problem.
And its only the church that has the power to get to the root cause of the problem, it is a spiritual problem.
He continued: There is a spirit that wants to destroy the young men of this Island. And we believe that God has a special plan for this Island and God is going to use young people to do it. By visiting area residents today, just our presence will show that we care. We are not going to stay in the four walls of the church, we want to reach people.
We want to feel their hurt, we want to pray with them so they know they are not alone, and be someone to bring them great comfort.
A candle light vigil is planned for Belvins Variety at 7pm tonight. All are welcome to attend.
Meanwhile, the 21-year-old Sandys parish man arrested on Thursday in connection with the murder of Haile Outerbridge and Ricco Furbert at Belvins Variety, remains in police custody pending further enquiries.
Detectives continue to appeal for anyone who was in the Curving Avenue, Happy Valley Road area between 8.50pm and 9.10pm on Wednesday, and may have seen a group of men travelling on two or three motorcycles.
These motorcyclists would have travelled from Curving Avenue onto Happy Valley Road, and following the fatal shootings around 9.04pm, travelled east along Happy Valley Road in the direction of Shelton Road, Deepdale, or Montpelier Road.
Anyone with any information is encouraged to contact the Serious Crime Unit on 247-1739 or 247-1340, alternatively call the confidential and independent Crime Stoppers hotline on 800-8477.