Our Readers' Opinions
November 22, 2016
Show a little more respect to grieving families

Editor: It is with sadness that I learnt of the tragic events that took place in St Vincent on Monday, November 14. I was informed by a friend from St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) who introduced me to an online news service where I would receive more information.

Before I go any further, I would like to express my condolences to all families who have lost their loved ones, Sister Pamela Williams, Nicolas Layne, Avis Israel and her son Ronald.{{more}}

I would also like to extend my condolences to the family of the person who is alleged to have caused the deaths of those I have named above. They too will be suffering and grieving ‘the loss’ of their loved one.

I am writing, not only to extend my condolences to these families, but to plead with the various authorities in SVG to review how these tragic events are reported in the media, the way crowds are managed and how grieving families are supported in such situations.

I watched, for a short time, a live commentary from one of the homes of the deceased. These reports are seen all over the world and I am sure Vincentians would prefer to be seen as the wonderful, caring people that they are.

I realize that human beings worldwide like to be present when such incidences occur, for what ever reasons. Perhaps, as it happens in other countries, people could bring flowers to show respect then move on, as we saw for example, when Princess Diana died. If it is necessary to stand outside the home, it would be more respectful and dignified to stand in silence.

Perhaps grieving family members could be offered a comfortable space nearby, instead of having to grieve in public, as the video showed.

The reporter could have been implicit, rather than explicit in his video reporting. Certain scenes need not have been shown and were not necessary for his live report. For the sake of decency and respect, I will not describe those scenes. Thankfully, the later edited version was a little more respectful.

People who have suffered the loss of a loved one, and even more so in such circumstances, should be given time, respect and support and be allowed the space and dignity they need to help them through difficult times.

Police could be helpful in gently moving crowds on in an orderly fashion. There could be areas that are cordoned off to public and media, and only official members of staff wearing uniforms or forensic suits to protect the scenes of crime and members of that household allowed in. These small adjustments could be vitally important in helping those bereaved in the initial stages of recovery after such events.

Let the world see how SVG manages these situations, in a caring, dignified, respectful way with integrity and higher moral standards.

Paula Mart
Cumbria, UK