Leader of the Opposition Andrew Fahie appealed for an end to crime in the British Virgin Islands when he addressed a relatively large group at the Sunday Morning Well in Road Town on Saturday – just over a week after a barrage of gunshots shattered the usual calm of the area, leaving death in its trail.
Relatives and friends of murdered Carrot Bay resident, Ashburn ‘Ashie’ Dawson, wore mainly T-Shirts bearing his image as they lit candles and released 30 balloons into the nocturnal skies – the balloons representing the deceased man’s age.
Fahie used the occasion to appeal for relatives and friends of the late Dawson to shine their light in the darkness despite the pain they now face.
“We can be the light in the midst of the darkness that says no more – no more senseless crimes; no more senseless murders; no more murders at all; no more crimes at all; no more war among our fellow man because the only person that lose is all of us.”
“This light we are lighting tonight (Saturday) is not just a show; it’s one to let the world know – and let the BVI know that we are saying enough is enough, and we will not allow darkness to take us over anymore,” added Fahie.
Other political representatives spotted at the candlelight vigil included Minister of Education and Culture Myron Walwyn, and representative of the Second Electoral District Melvin ‘Mitch’ Turnbull.
The call for lasting peace, in the meantime, was echoed by educator and lay preacher Sylvia Adams.
According to her, prayer is needed in the territory, which has recorded three murders since the start of the year.
“Something is going drastically wrong when our young people can be gunned down right here in the middle of the street, when our young people can be beaten to death – bludgeoned to death in the dead of night. It is a call for us to pray. We cannot afford to stand and do nothing. We’ve got to do something. We can begin by prayer,” Adams told the gathering.
Meanwhile, Lena Thomas-Mongra, who is the deceased man’s aunt, appealed for an end to the culture of fear and silence.
“Closure can only come and the real healing begins when we know the perpetrator of this dreadful act against our loved one has been caught and charged, sentenced, convicted, and punished for the crime committed,” Thomas-Mongra continued.
“Someone saw something. Someone heard something that fateful night when Ashburn was gunned down mercilessly like a dog… Let us break the trend of fear and other negative attitudes that are plaguing our beautiful territory. Ashburn was a good man. There are rumours floating all over; we don’t mind that. We don’t mind the noise; we don’t care about the talk. We want justice for Ashburn.”
Thomas-Mongra, who spoke highly of her nephew, stated that he had two businesses, a son, and a good job at the High Court Registry.
“If the turnout at this vigil tonight (Saturday) is any indication of our feelings, then I would say that he (Dawson) was loved and respected by many,” added Thomas-Mongra.
“The last thing he (Dawson) told me on that fateful day at 5:05pm was ‘Jesus loves you; right?’ That was his favourite thing to say… Ashie was kind, honest, dedicated, and respectable. His sudden passing has left a void.”
Funeral arrangements, Thomas-Mongra said, are yet to be finalized.
Dawson died at Peebles Hospital shortly after the shooting incident in the vicinity of the Sunday Morning Well on Friday night, March 10.
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