Truce ‘holding’

The truce that was brokered between rival gangs is still intact, says Minister of State in the Attorney General’s Office with responsibility for Crime Prevention, Corey Lane.

He also said Government and its crime prevention agents have been working to uncover what is contributing to the latest spate of gun violence.

“The field officers and the non-governmental organisation (NGO) we have in place working on that are in weekly communication with the gatekeepers of the peace arrangement. The leaders are still very committed to keeping the peace.

“So whenever these incidents occur and we have any type of violence, they reach out to the NGO to give their re-commitment of ‘this is not part of our group, that is an isolated case’ . . . . I almost always get the report up to me giving their reassurance that they are not involved and they want to continue along the path of peace,” he said.

Lane, who is also Member of Parliament for The City, was speaking to the DAILY NATION on Monday after a Rogation Celebration Service at St Michael’s Cathedral in Bridgetown.

On April 27, a man was injured in a shooting at Bayview Avenue, Bayland, St Michael, after a shooting incident. Last Saturday, a 26-year-old man was fatally shot and another injured while liming at Dunlow Lane, The City.

Last month, residents of The Pine, St Michael, expressed fears about the gunplay in their community after the shooting death of a young father.

Lane offered his condolences to the affected families, but reminded Barbadians that the first phase of the peace treaty, which was brokered in 2023, was to reduce the gang-on-gang violence.

He said while there has been a reduction in that area, they were still looking into the most recent incidents.

“Since the recent incidents, the change agents and the field officers of the programme have gone into the community and they have spoken to people directly to find out what’s at the root and what more we can do.

“We take that information very seriously and, most importantly, we act upon it. They have already made some serious recommendations and you will see those recommendations rolling out, I can confidently say, within the next two months,” the minister said.

He added they will be developing more innovative ways to address vulnerable youth who believe they are outcasts.

“In every vulnerable community, there are groups of people who form into sections, sometimes we call them groups or gangs, and a lot of them do not feel connected to the society or feel they have a future.

“One of the recommendations coming from those within the same community is, ‘How can we be involved legitimately when society has cast us out as ghetto people, gangsters and thugs’?

“The question we are going to answer in the next roll-out is how can we involve them without the breach of the law. A lot of these people are not drawn to the traditional type of programmes, so we have to be more innovative to involve them and prevent them from getting in or continuing in a life of crime,” Lane said.

In the meantime, he said that as part of the National Peace Programme, they have recently launched “Parenting Wise” and “Elevate The Peace”.

Parenting Wise seeks to expand opportunities for parents to get moral, mental or financial support through training and classes.

Elevate The Peace, however, covers community pop-ups to encourage community spirit empowerment and to help people make money at the pop-ups and direct intervention clubs, Lane explained.

“In these are clubs. We are starting with a lot of unstructured vulnerable youth who cry out for something alternative as opposed to the gang life and a life of crime,” he added.

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