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Hamilton Parish residents plead for end to violence after death of father of one

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Community tribute: Two men comfort each at the site where Daemon Bell was killed at Shelly Bay Field (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

An appeal for an end to violence was made by Hamilton Parish community leaders yesterday after a resident was killed on Wednesday.

Representatives from the Hamilton Parish Workman’s Club and the Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club gathered at Shelly Bay Field – the site where father of one Daemon Bell, 49, a prison officer, died as he tried to break up a fight.

Nandi Outerbridge, the vice-president of HPWC, said that it was time to make a stand and called on other community groups to join forces and provide mentors for troubled teens.

Ms Outerbridge said: “We are collaborating as community clubs of this parish to bring positivity back to our community.

“It’s time that we stand up together. We are calling for the community to stand up against antisocial behaviour, stand up for breaking the cycles and stand up for our communities that deserve peace.

“Black-on-Black violence simply cannot continue to go on in this country. I think we’re all sick and tired of being sick and tired.”

But Ms Outerbridge told the public: “We are not helpless. It’s important for all of us to play a role in our community. No matter how small or how big, your contribution really matters.”

She said that clubs in the parish were creating education and sports programmes “to keep the youth engaged in positive behaviour”.

The projects include a wi-fi lounge, a games room, and a multi-surface sports pitch.

HPWC will also be contacting schools in the area to launch a mentoring programme.

Ms Outerbridge said: “Some youths might be needing someone to look up to who may not have that guidance at home. We need to start making connections with positive influences”.

She told the area: “Hamilton Parish, we need you involved and we need this to catch fire.

“The success of these programmes spill over into creating successful citizens in our country.

“We are calling on you to partner with us as we ensure that our community is successful in moving forward and healing.”

Stephen Outerbridge, the president of Bailey’s Bay Cricket Club, said Mr Bell’s death was “disheartening” for the club and the community.

Call for action: Community leaders Terrisa Stewart, Stephen Outerbridge, and Nandi Outerbridge at Shelly Bay Field (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

He added: “It was a hard day for us … I was looking at my facility, looking at my community, and there are a lot of things that are missing.

“My worry about my community and in my country is that we need to give better energy to things that affect us. We talk about the pandemic, but today I think we need to talk about the love that we have among each other. If we can do more of that than we can heal a nation.

“I think a lot of times we try and sweep a lot of things under the rug. We can do a lot of things better.”

Terrisa Stewart, the secretary of HPWC, said: “It is terrible that we’ve had two deaths in our side of the island that have touched so many of us.

“There are so many of us that are grieving right now and we’re not even comfortable talking about it – we’re just ‘business as usual’.

“We just need to be honest with the fact that we are all hurting right now and we just all need to come together and really be committed to changing.”

Politicians paid tribute to Mr Bell in the House of Assembly.

Diallo Rabain, the Minister of Education and a lifelong friend of Mr Bell, said: “Daemon was a victim of senseless violence earlier this week that has robbed a wife of her husband and a daughter of her father.

“Bell, as he was known to us, was a lifelong friend of mine – part of a group of us that held an annual Christmas dinner since we were in our teens.

“This year would have been the 33rd year of the event. Since his death I’ve been fondly remembering Bell from that first dinner we had

“I will mourn my dear friend. His infectious smile and his happy-go-lucky ways will never be forgotten.

“I ask these chambers to please extend condolences to this young man’s wife and daughter, for this senseless act of violence.

Derrick Burgess, the MP for the area, added: “He was a great guy and his daughter was the love of his life.”