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Tragedy should be a catalyst for change

A group gathers in prayer outside the Cabinet Office in the wake of the deaths of four people, including two children (Photograph by Owain Johnston-Barnes)

A crowd of concerned community members gathered in mourning in Hamilton yesterday after the deaths of four people at a Pembroke home.

Police confirmed on Sunday that two adults and two children had been found dead at a South Terrace apartment at about noon.

However, few details about the tragedy have been revealed as the investigation was still ongoing.

As the island reeled from the news, several dozen people gathered outside the Cabinet Office on Front Street, praying for those who have lost loved ones and for an end to the tragedies that have rocked the island.

Enda Matthie, one of the attendees, said: “There is a lot going on in this island constantly and we don’t seem to be able to get in front of the tragedies, whether they be violent tragedies or whether they be quiet, silent tragedies.

“It is back to back to back, and it is devastating.

“Sunday was a turning point, a catalyst for us to come and be together. It’s not political, it’s not about race, it's not about economic differences. It’s humanity with a heart that cares about the space that we live in.

“I have heard people say that it is only a few that are behaving this way, but it only takes a few before everything is turned upside down. People who don’t know the family are crying. They are hurt.”

Ms Matthie said that her own family suffered a loss in December and the community did not always possess the tools necessary to reckon with grief.

“This is me saying I hear you, I hear your hearts, and let’s come and touch each other and look at each other and say, I see you and you mean something to me,” she said.

“That’s what this is.”

She said the news on Sunday had left her numb as she received call after call about the tragedy.

“It was not so much about the gossip but about what do we do now. What can we do,” Ms Matthie said. “We need to make a stand. Say something, do something.”

Harry Matthie said the gathering was about solidarity and healing in the community.

“This is a serious issue,” he said. “We haven’t had something like this in a long time so we want to come together and show that the island cares about what is going on.

“We are with the family. I know a family member who is angry that something like this could happen to the kids. He doesn’t know what to do, so we are here to show solidarity with the family, with the community.”

He said he felt a profound sadness about what had taken place but he hoped it would spark action.

“I hope people really start to look inward and if they see something, they say something,” Mr Matthie said.

“This is just one more symptom of the degradation of our community, of society, and we as men particularly need to stand up in our communities and report things that are going on.

“If we don’t, sooner or later it is going to be on your doorstep.”

Dennis Burgess said the island was grieving and needed to shift its focus back to God.

He added: “This incident has shifted a lot of people’s minds in that direction.

“Spiritually, we are off base and this incident has helped people to shift their minds back.”

He said that he was shocked by the news and hoped for an end to the chain of violence.

“We must react because we are our brother’s keepers,” Mr Burgess said.

The Progressive Labour Party extended its condolences to the friends and family of the deceased yesterday, issuing a statement for the community to come together.

“This heartbreaking event has left all of us in shock and a state of profound sorrow and grief,” the party said.

“Our hearts are with the loved ones of the deceased during this incredibly difficult time. We understand that words cannot alleviate the pain of such a loss but please know our prayers are with you.

“In the face of this tragedy, we call upon the entire community to come together in peace and unity. It is in moments like these that we must support one another with compassion and strength.

“The members of the PLP will continue to support the families and our community in any way possible during this difficult time.”

Ben Smith, the Shadow Minister of National Security, said: “On behalf of the One Bermuda Alliance, I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to the families of the deceased.

“This is undoubtedly a very difficult time and we as a community must stand together to support the bereaved.”

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Published July 09, 2024 at 8:00 am (Updated July 09, 2024 at 7:28 am)

Tragedy should be a catalyst for change

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