Fire tragedy leads to hanging call

(Barbados Nation) Barbadians, in national shock and disbelief, on Saturday called on the authorities to bring back hanging.

Ordinary citizens and business people alike were reacting to Friday night’s inferno that caused the death of six young women trapped in the Campus Trendz store in Tudor Street, The City, after a robbery.

Attorney General Freundel Stuart, who toured the scene of the fire, described the tragedy as Barbadians “being taught a very harsh lesson that such crimes were not limited to people in other parts of the world”.

“They can happen here; and we now have to look into our own backyard and clean it up,” Stuart said, adding: “These are issues we have to resolve. and we are certainly in the process of dealing with them.”

 Opposition Leader Mia Mottley called on Barbadians to pray for the victims’ families.

“That they would have died in a fire is tragic. That it would have happened as a result of the actions of others is terribly cruel. It causes us to wonder what is happening in our society and how people could do such a thing,” Mottley said.

Among the dead in the Campus Trendz blaze at Tudor Street in The City were three of the clothing store’s employees and three shoppers.

The employees were Kellisha Olliviere, 24, of Wellington Street, The City; Shanna Griffith, 18, of Pile Bay, Spring Garden, St Michael; and Pearl Amanda Cornelius, 18, of London Bourne Towers, The City.

 The shoppers were Kelly-Ann Welch, 24, of Montrose, Christ Church; Tiffany Harding, 23, of Upper Collymore Rock, St Michael; and Nikita Belgrave, 23, of Shop Hill, St Thomas.

Chief Fire Officer Wilfred Marshall said on Saturday that if the Tudor Street store had had an alternative exit, he reckoned the six women would have been able to escape or be saved from their fiery death.

The families of the deceased were on Saturday still grappling with the reality of their loss – some too stricken to express their feelings, others angered by the circumstances that led to the untimely deaths.

“This ain’t right. I want revenge. Something has to be done when innocent people are getting killed. These are acts of terrorism. My sister was a good woman,” said Harding’s brother Andre, who noted it was the sixth time in five years that the Harding family of Upper Collymore Rock, St Michael, had been plunged into mourning.

Welch’s best friend Neisha Cave fought back tears as she told of a chilling cellphone call she received Friday night telling her Welch was in a store that was being robbed.

She said she darted off from Swan Street toward her friend, but was met by a Campus Trendz on fire and Welch nowhere to be seen.

Another heart-rending episode came from City vendor Alvin Babb who, along with two others, tried unsuccessfully to rescue those inside the burning building.

Babb said that as long as he lived those screams from inside the building would remain with him.

Police on Saturday night were still hunting the two culprits responsible for one of Barbados’ worst tragedies.

Appeal to public

In a passionate appeal, police public relations officer Inspector David Welch urged all Barbadians to do everything in their power to bring the perpetrators to justice.

He urged members of the public who were in the vicinity of the area about 7 p.m. to assist the police with any information that could lead to the arrest of the two men.

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