A roll call of pain

  • Solemn moment: Minister Michael Dunkley, Speaker of the House Randolph Horton, Antoinette Cannonier and Premier Craig Cannonier at the 'Mourning to Morning Service' at the First Church of God. (Photo by Akil Simmnons)

    Solemn moment: Minister Michael Dunkley, Speaker of the House Randolph Horton, Antoinette Cannonier and Premier Craig Cannonier at the 'Mourning to Morning Service' at the First Church of God. (Photo by Akil Simmnons)

  • Call to action: Bishop Vernon Lambe addresses the congregation at First Church of God during the 'Mourning to Morning Service'. (Photo by Akil Simmons)

    Call to action: Bishop Vernon Lambe addresses the congregation at First Church of God during the 'Mourning to Morning Service'. (Photo by Akil Simmons)


List of the dead

This list of Bermudian murder victims, since 1994, was provided by Bermuda Police Service.

Murders with use of firearms

1996

James Caines, July 6

2003

Shaundae Jones, April 27

2006

Jason Lightbourne, July 23

2007

Shaki Crockwell, August 24

Aquill Richardson, December 26

2009

Kenwandee Robinson, May 22

Kumi Harford, December 5

Gary Cann, December 15

Shane Minors, December 17

2010

Perry Puckerin, January 3

James Lawes, March 10

Kimwandee Walker, April 2

George Lynch, May 5

Dekimo Martin, May 28

Frederick Maybury, June 14

Raymond Rawlins, August 9

2011

Colford Ferguson, February 4

Jahmiko Leshore, March 1

Randy Robinson, March 31

David Clarke, April 17

Jason Smith, May 1

2012

Stephan Burgess, January 8

Michael Phillips, October 14

Joshua Robinson, June 23

Lorenzo Stovell, September 23

Malcolm Augustsus, December 25

2013

Rico Furbert, January 23

Haile Outerbridge, January 23

Jonathan Dill, September 2

Non-firearms related murders

1994

Brian Simmons, October 9

1999

Glen Wolffe, November 10

2001

Tekie Zion Mallory, July 21

2004

Nicholas Dill, December 26

2006

Marcus Gibbings, October 25

2007

Ruth Binns, September 25

2008

Matthew Clarke, April 9

Rhiana Moore, May 31

Kellon Hill, August 9

Maxwell Gordon Brangman, September 22

Frederick Gilbert, September 22

2009

Shakeya Deroza, July 10

2011

Denis Wilkinson, April 29

Ida James, September 2

Malcolm Outerbridge, October 28

2012

Rudolph Lamar Smith (last seen on) July 9

2013

Verneil Richardson, June 26

Steven Iris, August 23

From Brian Simmons to Jonathan Dill, the roll call of names was a stark reminder of the toll violence has taken on Bermuda in recent years.

In all 47 murder victims were named in a moving ceremony at the First Church of God on North Shore, where mothers of those who died pleaded with the Island’s religious and political leaders to do something to halt the pain and suffering other families may feel in the future.

Hundreds of people attended the solemn ‘Mourning to Morning’ Service, led by Bishop Vernon G Lambe Sr, and he called on residents from Government House, the House of Assembly and throughout the community to reset the country’s moral compass and get back to basic core values.

The mothers and loved ones left behind by the victims of murder he said, have earned that right through their loss.

“These people are now looking to see how we can make sure this doesn’t happen again. Seven years of incessant, successive murders,” he said.

And he said they have earned the right to play an integral role in “formulating the plan for a better Bermuda moving forward”.

“I know we’re reaching out overseas, I know we’re going everywhere, but what we may find out is what we need is right here. And they’ve earned the right because they have lost the most.

“Did you ever notice that repairing sometimes takes more time than it does to build. But they are prepared to make an investment for a better Bermuda at the price you paid to make it happen,” he added.

“Bermuda needs a rebuilding, more than just a refurbishing of new highways and new walk paths and new lights, new economic structures, new infrastructure.

“We need a rebuilding of our core values, a redirecting of our moral compass. We need a fresh sense of community.

“I don’t care what your pedigree is or what degree you’ve earned, if you’re a homeowner or a home renter. We need to realise that we are all of one another. We can solve our own problems if we can just realise that we have a sense of community.”

The list of the names of those whose lives were cut short by murder was read by church member Donna Williams.

The service also saw heart wrenching testimonies by Marilyn Outerbridge, mother of Hailie Outerbridge who was gunned down in January at Belvin’s Grocery Store in Pembroke in a double murder that also claimed the life of Rico Furbert.

Judy Raynor, whose daughter Shakeya DeRosa was slain four years told the large congregation that to this day she remains unable to forgive her daughter’s murderer. And Jaqueline Smith, mother of Jason Smith said her son’s murder was a classic case of mistaken identity.

Also on hand was Premier Craig Cannonier and National Security Minister Michael Dunkley.

The Premier stated that although Bermuda has experience a paradym shift, “there’s a new thinking and that thinking is we’ve got to come together”.

“It was very heart warming to know that they are willing to move on, to forgive and look for opportunities of encouraging our young people to know where they came from, but more importantly, to know who they are.

“It’s really all about ‘we are our brother’s keeper’,” he said.

And he likened the needed change to the issue of reconciliation long fought for by the late Nelson Mandela.

“Sometimes life can deal us a hard deck but in spite of that, the way through it is coming together — that’s how we’re going to heal as a community. And we’ve got to refocus our attention, as a Government, and as a people, and remember that it is about people,” said the Premier.

“Sometimes it’s difficult when I look at the structure of who we are, and our Government structure, I feel like the bureaucracy of what it is that we do, whatever that is, has become more important than the people that we serve. The pain and the loss of young men and young women, if that doesn’t jolt us, or move us, to shift how we do things, then I don’t know what will.”

But what hit home for him most was the hearing three mothers express their willingness to “forgive the perpetrators” who took the lives of their children.

“When you think about Ms Outerbridge, just this week alone, the three men who were indicted for the crime of killing her son. This is a tough week for her. And for her to be able to stand up and say ‘I forgive you’, I can’t identify with that.

“As the Premier, I have a son who is 21-years-old and I worry all the time. I listened to one of the parents talk about her son’s murder due to mistaken identity. I worry about my son and I don’t know what I would do.

“The fear of that loss — that’s where she took me. But to hear her sing praises and to find that strength, you know we’ve got some very strong women. They’ve been the strength and back bone of this country and quite frankly we need to do more. We need to do more to support and that’s what I got from them. We’ve got to do more with our resources — not just money — but community. And the key is come together.”

National Security Minister Michael Dunkley recalled just days after winning the election he received the call last year of the Christmas Day murder of Malcolm Augustus last year.

“We live in such a small community, I don’t care who you are, what you do, or where you live, we’re all impacted upon.

“On Christmas Day last year the mother of a murder victim who works at Dunkley’s Dairy was directly impacted,” he said.

“Stefan Burgess and Shakir Crockwell worked for Dunkley’s Dairy. We’re too small of a community to try and turn a blind eye. So when I hear I hear Ms Outerbridge speak with the other two mothers as they did today, we feel some of their pain but we don’t feel the deep cut of their pain.”

And he echoed Bishop Lambe’s call to action and a return to basic core values.

Said Mr Dunkley: “You have to do unto others as you would have them do unto you. It’s very important and that’s one of the ten commandments.”

House Speaker Randolph Horton who also attended the service said he too was impressed by the expression of forgiveness yesterday.

“When you look at that list, when you see it rolling, it strikes you at the heart. And it reminds me always of what I’ve said of the importance of school.”

He recalled the days of his principalship at Warwick Secondary School in the 1980s.

“To me the most important thing about schools is developing a sense of community. And when the pastor spoke of that it made me reflect back.

And while there’s no research to back it up he said the move to the senior secondary school system may have a contributing factor.

“Certainly I have a feeling that it didn’t help,” said Mr Horton.

“There’s no question that’s what we need to establish so much more in our community.”

The service was organised by a committee headed up by Rev Linda Powell with “mothers in the church congregation who have lost their children through murder”.

Impressed by the “courage and strength” of the mothers who spoke, she believes the way forward is to “face the situation without hatred and revenge”.

“It was healing for them as they begun to speak of what they were feeling. And I believe that we’re on a new path because what we’re going through is spiritual — people don’t recognise it as that,” she said.

“For Ms Outerbridge to be able to stand and speak it touched us all emotionally. We need a spiritual healing and I believe we’re on the way to it. Particularly in the lead up to Christmas.

“It’s important to remember there are children crying ‘where’s my daddy or where’s my mommy’.

“The reading of the list of victims brought that home, even each year with the number of deaths, it would have to register in people’s hearts,” she said.

Only a “cold heart” would not be touched, she added.

“To hear Ms Raynor’s honesty, her saying ‘I’m not ready to forgive and even her questioning God’. She took us on the journey she had to go through to get where she is today. She hasn’t reached the point of forgiveness yet, but she said she knows that she has to.”

The service was also attended by family members whose loved ones had died in road traffic accidents.

Said Rev Powell: “They were not listed but they were here. And I’m just blessed that we could provide a sacred and a safe space for them to share their feelings. It’s very important.”

The full service will be aired tonight, on cable channel 85 from 8pm to 10pm, weeknights until December 20.

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Published Dec 16, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated Dec 16, 2013 at 1:23 pm)

A roll call of pain

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