Coming Together To Denounce Violence, September 3rd: David Comissiong, Coordinator – Sept. 3rd Foundation
Thursday 3rd September 2015 is the fifth anniversary of the horrific Campus Trendz criminal tragedy that took the lives of six beautiful young daughters of our nation – Tiffany Harding, Kelly-Ann Welch, Kellishaw Ollivierre, Nikkita Belgrave, Pearl Cornelius, and Shanna Griffith. And once again, the September 3rd Foundation will be undertaking the responsibility of staging a national commemoration of this tragic, never-to-be-forgotten event.
Just like in previous years, the commemoration will take the form of a “National Minute of Silence” commencing at 12 noon, with relatives of the six victims of the Campus Trendz tragedy and other members of the September 3rd Foundation participating in the “National Minute of Silence” from the central and highly symbolic location of National Heroes Square in Bridgetown.
In fact, the observance of the “Minute of Silence” at the National Heroes Square location will take place within the context of a solemn commemorative ceremony that will commence at 11AM.
Additionally, a special feature of the ceremony will be the delivery of an “In Memoriam Roll Call” of the names of all Barbadians who lost their lives to violent crime over the past twelve months , and a reading of short biographies of the six young ladies who perished in the Campus Trendz arson on that fateful evening of Friday 3rd September 2010.
Some Barbadians have queried the need to stage this annual commemoration, while others have wondered why the public spirited citizens who established the September 3rd Foundation in the aftermath of the Campus Trendz tragedy are so insistent on their focus on this particular tragedy. And since I am a member, and perhaps the chief coordinator of the September 3rd Foundation, I will undertake the duty to address these two questions.
First of all, it is important to note that our annual commemoration is done with the blessing, consent ant involvement of the relatives of the victims of the Campus Trendz tragedy!
It is also important to note that the act of public commemoration brings comfort to the grieving relatives of the victims of a tragedy, and reassures them that their loved ones have not been forgotten. Indeed, it is instructive to note that decades after the first and second World Wars we still stage annual Memorial Day ceremonies in honour of our War dead!
You see, we are very much aware that our country— Barbados– has a serious and growing problem of violent crime! And we are convinced that if Barbados is to come to terms with and defuse this tragic phenomenon, some-one, or some institution, will have to find a way to penetrate the psyche and consciousness of our people with a powerful anti-crime and pro-brotherhood message.
Indeed, we – as a nation – better hope that the Campus Trendz tragedy is able to make such an impact on the consciousness of our people, for if it is not able to do so what else will?
When we – the members of the September 3rd Foundation – call upon the entire Barbadian population to stop whatever they may be doing at 12 noon every 3rd September and to engage in a Minute of Silence, we are calling upon them to reflect not only on the six victims of the Campus Trendz tragedy, but on the plight of all victims of violent crime in Barbados and on the plight of their families.
The annual National Minute of Silence is an opportunity for the victims of crime to emerge from the aura of invisibility in which we often shroud them. and to send a powerful message to the entire nation.
It is a message that forces us to become aware of the tragic and un-necessary loss, pain and anguish that acts of violent crime cause .
And we hope that it will be a message that will force each of us to give some thought as to how we can – in a concrete and practical way – be part of the solution to this tragic social problem.
It is with these intentions in mind that we in the September 3rd. Foundation ask Barbadians to join with us at our solemn ceremony at National Heroes Square on Thursday 3rd September 2015, commencing at 11AM. Or, if they are unable to be there with us in the flesh, to simply pause wherever they may be at 12 noon and to engage in a Minute of quiet and prayerful reflection.