ST. VINCENT: – A Vincentian was among the six women killed when two robbers set fire to a clothing store in Barbados last Friday, Sept. 5.
Dead is Kellisha Olivierre, 24, who, along with two other workers of the store and three customers died in the blaze.
Also dead are 19-year-old Guyanese Amanda Cornelius and Barbadians Shanna Griffith, 18; Pearl Amanda Cornelius, 18; Kelly Anne Welch, 24; Tiffany Harding, 23; and Nakita Belgrave, 23.
Regional media reports say the women died when robbers threw an incendiary device into Campus Trendz store just before 7 p.m., after taking an undisclosed amount of cash.
The women were all trapped in the building while firefighters fought to put out the raging flames on Tudor Street in the capital, Bridgetown.
Arnhim Eustace, the opposition leader in St. Vincent, said on Monday that he visited the family of the dead Vincentian woman Sunday night. (Go to the homepage to subscribe to I Witness-News)
“To die under such tragic circumstances must be extremely hard on the family, particularly her mother. But, she seems to be a lady of strong faith while I was speaking to her last night, while she grappled with this tragedy. … Sometimes you really have to wonder what our region is coming to. You come to this question of crime, the absolute callousness of some of the crimes that are being committed here and some of the other parts of the Caribbean these days,” Eustace said on his party’s programme on Nice Radio.
“It really is a tragic circumstance. Sometimes, when you hear of crimes of that nature, you have varying reactions. Sometimes, you have anger. Sometimes you feel that the person should be dealt with right away. Sometimes you feel they shouldn’t even go to court. But, you know we have to follow our constitution and abide by the law. But really, this is a tragic circumstance in which a young woman from this country lost her life in Barbados. … These things, sometimes, they really hit you hard,” Eustace said.
Ricky Singh, reporting for Trinidad Express newspaper, said the crime was the most horrific single-criminal tragedy in Barbados and police were on the lookout for members of a gang.
Meanwhile, Barbadian Tim Slinger, in a report for the Barbados Nation, said the country’s police view the spreading acts of criminality and specifically, the use of incendiary devices, as “a foreign-influenced pattern and aimed primarily at business places for loot…”
Barbadians have expressed outrage at the crime, reigniting the debate on the use of the death penalty in the eastern Caribbean nation. (Follow I Witness-News on Facebook)
The country will “pause and pray” at noon on Friday, Sept 10, as a mark of respect for lives lost in the fire, Barbados Nation reported.
The publication said the Cabinet sub-committee will also be hosting an emergency meeting this week to review all laws, practices and penalties in so far as such is required, since the tragedy.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister of Barbados, David Thompson, has requested that all activity on the island, including speech and movement of individuals and vehicular traffic, come to a standstill for three minutes Friday, as the country reflects on “this most dastardly incident” and commiserates with families of the deceased.
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur has suggested “a national day of mourning” for the victims of the fire.
He told members and supporters of the Barbados Labour Party that the circumstances in which six females died were the sort that forced societies “to inflict the full measure of the death penalty to protect ourselves from that kind of savagery”.