Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
DEPUTY Prime Minister Peter Turnquest said while the country remains plagued by "unacceptable" levels of crime and violence, people need to find better ways to resolve conflicts. He said although major crime categories have been trending downward, a life lost to senseless violence is one too many.
Mr Turnquest was offering condolences to his Cabinet colleague, Transport and Local Government Minister Renward Wells, whose brother Cabrio Wells was shot multiple times and killed outside his home on Roland Street, Ridgeland Park early Sunday morning.
He was one of two men killed in separate incidents that day. Another man was found dead off Blue Hill Road with apparent gunshot wounds early yesterday morning.
Asked about crime numbers, National Security Minister Marvin Dames said he was confident in the police force's ability to keep levels down, adding there is no country in the world that could boast of a murder rate of zero.
Mr Turnquest said: "Certainly we want to, in the first instance express our condolences to Minister Wells and to his (brother's) mother who as indicated in the papers today, lost her baby son. No matter what the circumstances are we understand the love between a mother and her child and we certainly feel for her and that loss today.
"Again, we have an unacceptable level of crime and violence in this country. Though the trend has been coming down, as long as there is one person who is losing their life to senseless violence it's one too many and so we certainly grieve with this family and we encourage the general population to try to find conflict resolution alternatives."
He also said: "There are other ways to do this and if you cannot resolve it amongst yourselves there are other people who are willing to help, just reach out. There are a number of organisations that are geared towards conflict resolution and helping you to work through whatever the challenges are."
He added: "I want to encourage people to seek help. There is nothing wrong. It doesn't make you a weak person to go and talk to a pastor or talk to a counsellor about what is bothering you, about what your challenges are and seek help from the various government agencies and the private sector agencies that exist to help people to resolve and deal with their issues."
For his part, Mr Dames said the lull in murders before the most recent killings should also be considered. "…These are the challenges that we'll have to deal with from time to time. We clearly understand that but I have every confidence that the police are on top of things and the numbers certainly to date will reflect that and if we continue on this trend we will have yet another record-breaking year in respect to overall crime and murders.
"I had an opportunity to speak to my colleague and to offer my condolences but whether it's a Cabinet minister or anybody else there is no difference. I mean murder affects us all, crime affects us all and we all have a vested responsibility to ensure that we do our respective parts to continue to bring the level to crime in this country down."
On Monday Anna Glinton, the dead man's mother told The Tribune that while her son Cabrio Wells had his "ups and downs" with the law, she doesn't know "what went wrong" for someone to shoot him to death. She said he had since "turned his life around" after serving a stint in prison.
Ms Glinton added that while she was "somewhat" surprised at the news that her son was killed, she insisted he was not a bully, but rather a "cool guy" who would only display aggression if provoked.