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Now is not the time

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Tue, Jan 20, 2015

As the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines continue to deal with the aftermath of the ‘Tragedy at Rock Gutter,’ certain aspects of human nature are beginning to come to the fore, which certainly are not helpful to the healing process.

The vast majority of persons here, in the wider Caribbean and around the world, have been responding to the tragedy with positivity and love.{{more}} The families of the victims, the schools attended by the children involved and the community of Fancy as a whole, have been the focal point of overwhelming support from near and far. They have been visited by dozens of persons and groups, who have offered prayers, comfort, listening ears and the means to ensure physical sustenance.

There is however, a small minority of persons which is lashing out, pointing fingers and placing blame for the lives lost and the bodies that are still missing at the feet of different individuals and organizations.

On page two, we carry two stories which illustrate the growing anger among some persons about how certain individuals and the authorities responded to the accident. In one story, a resident of Sandy Bay says he is being abused by some persons who accuse him of not assisting with the rescue effort. In the other, we mention that strong allegations are being made by some that the coastguard did not do enough to help at the scene of the accident.

As citizens, we expect that a full review of the response of State agencies will be carried out. We also have a right to let the authorities know when we feel they let us down.

What is interesting, however, is that most of the persons who have been lashing out in anger, by way of the radio and social media, were not on site at Rock Gutter on the day of the incident and have been making their accusations based on hearsay and speculation.

Psychologists say there are five stages of grief, the second of which is anger. This stage, they say, follows denial, which is the first reaction to tragedies such as the one at Rock Gutter.

Perhaps the attacks are coming from a place of pain and helplessness. Even so, we have to be careful that in our public outbursts, we do not inflict more hurt on the already devastated families.

There will come a time when the authorities will be called upon to give account for the way they handled the rescue and recovery efforts. But that time is not now — the nation is in mourning. Let us show respect for the grieving families and allow them lay their children to rest in an atmosphere of peace and love.

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