An Open Letter to the families of the country�s murder victims.
Less than a week ago, we were in celebratory mode; then in the blink of an eye fireworks and parades turned to gunshots and bloodbaths. Just like that, the insidious problems of 2015 crept their way into 2016 and just like that the New Year started to feel a lot like the same old same.
The criminal element in this country has shown a callous disregard for the Rule of Law, no remorse and even less fear of repercussions.
We as Bahamians live an exhausting reality, one split between fear and purposeful isolation; Fear that even the short walk from your vehicle to your home, or even to the corner store is simply not safe. As a result many Bahamians are choosing to abandon the hospitality and togetherness of years gone by. We have become as suspicious as we are jaded. Reports of murders have become so commonplace that we are no longer mortified, or stunned into silence. Even worse we have stopped seeing the victims as people. For many of us they are just numbers, more statistics to be tracked by the media and the police and less as living breathing humans; fathers, mothers, sons, and daughters. For everyone but the families of these victims, life goes on.
To the families of the country’s most recent victims, #JacobWoodside and #MichealBethel; and to the hundreds of families already reeling from this kind of loss, I extend my deepest and most sincere sympathy. Know that you are not alone. Know that hundreds of Bahamians, myself included, stand with you.
Having lost my own brother to the crime that wormed its way into the fabric of our daily lives, I know that feeling all too well. Like you, my family has had to pick up the pieces and go on with our lives, even on the days when we don’t want to. Like you we fight to keep his memory alive. We say his name daily to remind ourselves of the life he lived.
As a nation, we must do the same. We must speak the names of each and every victim of violent crime. Their names, a reminder to the powers that be of their obligation to PROTECT us, and where necessary GIVE US JUSTICE. Their names must also remind each of us of the need to be kind, to set aside our anger, and resolve our conflicts peacefully and reminder to the criminal element that even though they may have succeeded in silencing the individual, their legacy, their memory and their NAMES live on.
Say their names, speak them often, speak them proudly and find solace in the many memories they left behind. Be strong, and have faith that the justice you seek, the justice you deserve will be meted out.