Dr Harris says government committed to ensuring peace for all
Jervin’s father, Marvin Wilkin (holding a baby), stands next to Dr Timothy Harris and Jervin’s mother, Debra Wilson
St. Kitts (March 7, 2010) Peter Ngunjiri — Senior Minister and parliamentary representative for Constituency Seven (Belle Vue to Ottleys), Dr Timothy Harris, has assured the country in general and his constituency in particular that government’s top responsibility is to ensure people enjoy peace.
Dr Harris was addressing over 150 persons who had gathered Friday night at Lodge Project for a candlelight vigil at the spot where a young man from the community, Jervin Wilson, had died after a drive-by shootout on Sunday February 28.
“We would want this community, like all communities in St. Kitts and Nevis, to be a very peaceful one, where people can go about their routine feeling safe, feeling secure, and feeling free,” said the Senior Minister. “As a government, that will be part of our commitment going forward that in every community people should be able to move around safely, securely and freely without fear.”
Persons of all ages who first assembled at Ottleys hard-courts as early as 7:30 pm, and each holding a lighted candle, many donning black ribbons and bands, walked to Lodge Project to the exact spot in the middle of the village road where the 17-year-old lay dead, not far from Lodge Community Centre.
“Tonight we are here to commemorate the life of a young man, Jervin Wilson, who passed sadly as a result of a shootout recently,” said Dr Harris. “I as a parliamentary representative extend condolences to the parents and the family of the young man, who was shot. We stand in solidarity as a government with you, and we share your pain and grief at this moment.”
Present at the vigil were Jervin’s parents, Debra Wilson and Marvin Wilkin.
Before the end of the vigil, candles were placed at the spot where Jervin’s body lay
Dr Harris, who had on the same day returned from Miami, where he attended International Whaling Commission meetings, and also attended the funeral service of the late Charles Herman Gilbert of Lodge Project at Mt Carmel Baptist Church, told how the Loge community had its peace and tranquility disturbed.
He described the community as one whose innocence had been uprooted and lost and he hoped that through the remembrance of the life of the young man, “we could again have the young people commit to a life of peace, positive living, and recommit to a life which allows them to say no to violence and crime, gang related and all illegal activities.”
He thanked the young people in the community who turned out to show respect for Jervin Wilson, who according to tributes given at the vigil, was a very helpful person and a good member of the community, adding that it was a pity he had to go that way.
“For the parents I know that this must be a very hard hit, hard to bear, hard because of the cruelty of the circumstances, the suddenness and as it were, the surprise because you don’t think this is the kind of death that anyone envisages,” observed Dr Harris.
“People envisage natural causes and for a parent, and particularly a young parent, to have to bury a child, not yet fully out of adolescence, I think that is very hard and very difficult. I would want the parents in particular to know that not only me but the government and the entire community that we all are sharing in that grief and that pain, and we know it hurts and it will hold for a while, but there is a good God who in time will turn this grief into peace, and into comfort.”
A community activist, Shane Scott, informed this writer that Jervin was a friendly person who had just graduated from high school and was well known by villagers for his interest in his dog, as he would always be seen walking it in the village. “I am sure the dog is greatly missing him.”
At the end of the vigil, Charlene Wilson, a relative of the deceased who chaired the ceremonies, asked all to hold hands for prayers. Patricia Fahie offered prayers for the life of Jervin Wilson, while Dr Harris offered prayers for Adrian Wilson and Shred Scarborough who suffered gunshot wounds, and Anastasia Williams who was struck by the vehicle allegedly used by the perpetrators of the crime.