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Candlelit vigil appeal: ‘Enough is enough’

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Hundreds of people turned out at a tribute held in memory of Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge, who were shot dead at a Pembroke store last Wednesday.

Two men have now been arrested in connection with the murders and are being held in custody.

On Saturday night family and friends of the victims were joined by community members and clergy at a candlelight vigil outside Belvin’s Variety, on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, where the shootings took place.

Music by 34-year-old Mr Outerbridge, who performed under the name Star Child, was part of the night's events.

The proceedings were interrupted by heavy rain and strong winds, but attendees were still able to keep their candles alight, shielding them from the rain with their hands.

Bishop Vernon Lambe told the crowd that of the 23 men murdered in the upsurge in shootings since 2009, he had personally buried ten.

“This transcends all other affairs that we have at this time. We need to rise up and say enough is enough.

“Look around at the little ones that are here. We need to have a Bermuda for them. And they need their own fathers and they need, as families, their own sons so that they can fulfil their gifts and destiny in life.

“Tonight I just wonder if the young men, wherever you are, could rise up and say, somebody has to be willing to say enough is enough.

“This is not just youngsters. This is a plight against our country and we need to rise up and declare that we are not an isle of devils and we will not let the devil have his way to ruin our sons.”

He was joined by Kesis Paulos Goater and Kes Haile Zion Simons, of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, and Pastor Nick Dill, from the St John’s Anglican Church, in leading the crowd in prayer.

One woman told the audience: “Ricco did everything for the children. All he wanted was for the youth to be okay.

“Haile has been my friend from way back. I used to be upset with him because he used to steal toilet paper out of my house to write his rhymes on.

“It’s the youth. I can’t stop thinking about the youth. This has got to stop.”

Bermudian poet Spring Flower told those in attendance that the rise in violent crime in the community is driven by money, greed and power.

"I'm upset right now because I know these people, I grew up with these people, I know their families and I'm hurt right now," she said.

"This is for money, power and greed. People don't care and I feel so upset because my brothers, my black brothers, have been caught up in a trap. They are in a wicked trap.

"The ones that are doing the killing and the ones that are dead now, they are in a wicked, wicked trap right now. How can my friend Rudy [Smith, believed murdered and missing since last July] go missing and nobody's seen nothing? Because of money."

The event was organised by Curve Community and Colford’s Family Against Violence, a group established in 2011 after the murder of Colford Ferguson in Sandys. To date, no one has been charged in connection with the killing.

While some members of the community came to remember fallen friends, others said they wanted to show solidarity and present a unified voice against such violence.

Aaron Paynter said: “I had met Haile in passing on a few occasions, and to hear that he went like this is tragic.

“We need to come together as a community to deal with this issue, not just in prayer or in words, but in actions. People know who were responsible, people know who were involved and those people have a responsibility to do something.”

A Pembroke resident said: "I have been to too many of these. All of us have. Something needs to change, and something needs to change now.

“I'm worried that my son is going to fall into this trap, and every parent should be. We can’t wear these blinders anymore.”

A 21-year-old man was arrested the day after the shooting, and police announced yesterday that a second man was in custody.

However, a police spokesman said that they are still appealing for anyone with information about the murders to come forward.

“An arrest does not mean the matter is closed, and we urgently need people to come forward with any information that can assist,” he said.

Anyone with information about the murder is asked to contact the Serious Crime Unit at 247-1739 or 247-1340, or call the anonymous Crimestoppers hotline at 800-8477.

Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
The parents of Ricco Furbert at the candlelit vigil.
Hundreds of people gathered in the parking lot of Belvin's Variety on Happy Valley Road, Pembroke, on Saturday for a candlelit vigil in memory of murder victims Ricco Furbert and Haile Outerbridge.
Community has a broader role and responsibility

The Coalition for the Protection of Children has described last Wednesday’s double murder at Belvin’s Variety store in Pembroke as a sad reminder of the Island’s social woes.

Nicola Feldman, Executive Director of the Coalition, said that while it is important to see justice served, we must also look at the conditions that sparked this kind of gang violence.

“For decades Bermuda has ignored those who have not benefited in the extreme wealth and luxury of our beautiful Island home,” she said. “It is statistically proven that greater gaps between the wealthy and poor and significant levels of social exclusion lead to violence and crime.

“While personal responsibility and decision making to engage in criminal behaviours matter, and individuals must be held accountability for the harm they cause, the broader community must also accept responsibility for the role it has played in ignoring the inequalities that exist.”

In order to address the root cause of the violence, she said there must be a level playing field with everyone having legitimate opportunities to advance themselves and their families.

“Right now there is an entire generation of children that are growing up and worrying that their daddy is next,” she said.

“How do we expect these young people to possibly grow up in a healthy and nurturing environment where they feel safe and secure? These are the most basic human needs, and they are being denied to our children.

“Yes, we need to do justice. We need witnesses to come forward and we need to bring those who have committed these serious offences to justice. But we also need to take a more serious look at the social structures of our community.

“I had the recent honour of hearing the late Haile Outerbridge’s amazing talents as he sang about unity and peace in Bermuda. It is a sad day for our country that he, and the other young man, have both fallen victim to the gang violence troubling our Island.”

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Published January 28, 2013 at 8:00 am (Updated January 27, 2013 at 9:55 pm)

Candlelit vigil appeal: ‘Enough is enough’

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