It was a sorrowful aura on 10 March as persons solemnly walked from the Patsy Lake building that is located on the Highway to the vicinity between the Old Sugar Works Museum as they reflected on the lives of Clevaughn Sweeney and Michael Stevens – the two young men who were shot and killed last month.
During the vigil there were speeches and remarks including a passionate plead from the aunt of Michael Stevens and a reflection from Clevaugh’s father. However, the point of how unconscionable the killing of these two young men was made by Minister for Education and Culture, Hon. Myron Walwyn and Pastor Henderson Titley.
In his address to the gathering Minister Walwyn said that people should report what they know and help to solve such an horrific crime: “When these things happen, you tend to blame the police and say the police should find this and that person. But many of us often know what has happened and who were the ones involved in killing people. We know it – the same way we know people business is the same way we know these things.”
The Minister explained that the smallness of the BVI makes it difficult to believe that no one heard or saw something. “Tortola is a place where you can do anything and nobody don’t know. Even before you do it, them know. So, somebody must have known or know something in relation to what happened with Clevaughn and Michael. Somebody has to know something with what happened in November with that little girl and Penn from East End,” Hon. Walwyn pointed out.
In noting the age old saying that the upholder is worse than the thief, the Minister stressed that anyone with information should come forward: “If you know something and you are not coming forward, then you are just as bad as the persons who pulled the trigger, because you are allowing them to do it to somebody else.”
“…It is only a matter of time before the same thing happens to you or comes to your door-step if you continue to protect the people who some of us know, who are involved in this. Get to the police and let the police know what is going on…I beg you, please,” Hon. Walwyn added.
Pastor Titley stated that there is an alleged eye for an eye situation and this should be discontinued: “This must stop. It doesn’t matter how far we have reached right now…But an eye for an eye will leave all of us blind…How much more moms; how much more fathers will cry; how much more sons will live without a father; how much more daughters will live without a father, while we try to prove to each other that we bad or we are thugs.”
The Pastor also decried the gun situation and noted that this was the wrong approach to conflict resolution: “…Why can’t we solve our problems differently? Why do we have to use guns? Why can’t we find another solution, another way to just be at peace with each other…It is time for us to put the guns down. Bring it to me if you want; call me and say throw this away for me. Get rid of the gun. Leave it somewhere, or tie a rope on a stone, go out to the sea and get rid of it.”
He added: “When you have a gun you feel empowered, and 95 percent chance of using that gun is high. I am begging you, let us settle our differences another way…Our leaders are crying and feeling ashamed because this is not the Territory they love and respect.”