Ottley Hall residents want peace
August 28, 2009
Ottley Hall residents want peace

For the first time in a long time, some residents of Ottley Hall who have been embroiled in a gang war with some Edinboro residents were able to walk the streets of Edinboro without fear of being attacked.{{more}}

This development came on Thursday, 20th August, after a meeting held by the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force to establish peace between the rivaling factions.

The meeting was held at the Hard Court in Edinboro.

The much-anticipated meeting heard the concerns of villagers and parents on both sides as they sought to get to the root of the spate of crime and violence that has been plaguing both communities.

Delivering brief remarks, Commissioner of Police Keith Miller said that it is important that the police become active in the both communities, hence the increased foot patrols by officers. Miller told the gathering that the police force does not want to lose another young life to gun violence, and it was high time that something be done to pull the young men from a life of lawlessness. “We have to rein in a society of tranquility…so as parents we have to try and lead them on the correct path,” he stated.

The top cop noted that he has been receiving some negative comments about the handshake shared between the men on August 12. “Many say it’s a sham, but I see it as the start of a process towards peace….Let us make the effort and try to save the young men’s lives,” Miller urged.

One Ottley Hall resident begged his fellow villagers and those residents from Edinboro to put an end to the war. “I really want this war to done. I really want it done,” he pleaded. The young man also recalled hearing the sound of gunshots one night while sitting on the wall in front of his house. He said he and his young niece and nephew had to flee for safety. He said that he and some of the men from Edinboro are friends but others shun him.

Another resident, Fitzory Burgess, indicated that the only way to truly put an end to the war is to have parents send their children to church and have daily devotions with them. “This is the best way to start if we want to end this and parents should also accompany their children to church,” he noted.

Burgess also made a plea to Minister of Culture Rene Baptiste to allow them to use the new school at Edinboro to hold evening classes for young people who dropped out of school. “We need to show St Vincent and the Grenadines that we are somebody…let’s show people we can do it.

Some of the ideas coming out of that meeting included a proposal to remove graffiti from the walls and planting trees in the area.

Other speakers included president of the Urban league Sean Fredericks, who told the gathering that more good than bad exists in both communities.

Director of the Family Affairs Divison Cammie Matthews, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Rural Transformation Nathaniel Williams, and Genita Lewis, Director of the National Commission on Crime Prevention were also in attendance and made brief remarks.

When asked by Commissioner of Police Keith Miller if they wanted a ride to take them back to Ottley Hall, the young men from Ottley Hall shouted a resounding, “No!”

Some of the young men from Ottley Hall involved in the feud claim that previously they could not walk along the Edinboro main road without being attacked. They say they often had to use different routes to get to their homes or use public transportation.

Before the meeting got underway, persons from Ottley Hall refused to take up seats under the same tent where some residents of Edinboro were seated. Instead, the Ottley Hall men sat in the open air, despite the inclement weather.

Just three weeks ago, three men, two from one side and one from the other, shook hands at the Police Conference Room, hopefully signaling an end to the gang war that has been brewing between the factions for quite sometime. At that meeting, each side accused the other of shootings and attacks.