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Lawmakers bemoan murders: Prayer needed daily

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With three murders reported in the British Virgin Islands since the start of the year, some government lawmakers yesterday suggested that something is amiss, adding that divine intervention is now needed more than ever.

Representative of the Sixth Electoral District Alvera Maduro-Caines told the House of Assembly: “Not just one day, but everyday needs to be a national day of prayer. It’s only God could help us now…”

“I am very troubled this day about the deaths of our young people, especially our young men in this territory. I’m somewhat lost for words when I think back on the occurrences of the past couple of weeks where we lost so many of our young men… Young men dying. Then, when you look at the other end, there is another group that is locked away in Balsam Ghut, much of who seems to think they don’t have any hope.”

The ancestors are also not pleased, added Maduro-Caines.

“It is not like years gone by when it was just the older people dying out. Now, the young seems to be going in much more number than the older people… When I look at the road we are traveling on, I foresee our forefathers shuffling in their graves – wondering how did my people reach to this stage; wondering why we are on a backward road,” Maduro-Caines said.

Another government lawmaker, Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull, raised similar concern about the fact that young people ‘have lost their lives senselessly’.

“It is without a shadow of doubt we must not turn to God and use him as an addendum to our agenda, but he has to be our agenda,” he noted.

Ashburn 'Ashie' Dawson

Ashburn Dawson who was shot near the Sunday Morning Well in Road Town

The three persons murdered so far this year are Alston Penn whose body was found on a roadway at Windy Hill, businessman Franklyn Fahie who was gunned down in the Long Look area, and Ashburn Dawson who was shot near the Sunday Morning Well in Road Town.

‘Physical limitations’

While lamenting all three killings, territorial representative Archibald Christian noted that the late Penn had ‘physical limitations’ and should have been protected instead of hurt.

“Alston Penn is a person who is known to every single elected member in this House – he has been for many years. And, despite what you may say, think or feel about the young man, he is a human being – he was a human being.”

“I am not going to pretend this afternoon (Tuesday) that I am not upset about his death. When a person has physical limitations, what can cause someone to take his life in the manner in which it was taken? What could he have done that warranted the manner in which he was killed and left along the public road like a piece of meat?” Christian continued:

“All of us are human beings and none of us were created perfect. The only perfect being that exists is Almighty God, and none of us could come close to that. I have my imperfections and I apologize to anybody if I hurt them. But Alston couldn’t apologize to a lot of people. He was just who he was.”

Alston Penn. Photo provided

Alston Penn. Photo provided

Christian appealed for persons with information about any of the killings to report it to the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force.

“To date, in this lovely territory of the Virgin Islands, we have three unsolved murders [since the start of the year]. And the police, I know they are working urgently and desperately to bring arrest to those three cases. We must ask ourselves as a society: How much longer are we prepared to stay silent and pretend like these things are not happening?”

‘This is a beautiful place; it’s a peaceful place. The events of the last two weeks is not what is normal about the BVI,” Christian further said.

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