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Sharing of photos of dead children on social media plain wrong – PM Gonsalves

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Some users of social media have come in for a tongue-lashing from Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, following the Rock Gutter tragedy on January 12.{{more}}

Five children were killed, two bodies are still missing and several others were injured when a minibus careened off a cliff and plunged into the sea.

Speaking to the media before giving the annual Errol Barrow Memorial Lecture on Friday night at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination in Barbados, the Vincentian leader expressed dismay that people had taken cellular phone photos of the deceased and the injured and had posted the images on-line.

Dr Gonsalves said St Vincent and the Grenadines was in a state of pain and suffering and the majority should not have to deal with the lack of respect and insensitivity of a few.

“People are passing them around from cell phone to cell phone – it is inappropriate. It hurts the grieving parents and families. I know all the names of these children. I feel their pain and anguish intently . . . and I think it is plain wrong and insensitive and should not have happened,” he said, while generally praising the coverage of the tragedy by the mainstream media.

The five children were buried on Sunday and Dr Gonsalves called on all Vincentians to stay strong. He implored his people to be courageous and to know that the Lord was with them always and would never forsake them. He also asked other regional territories to continue to pray for the island, as they battled through this sad time.

“It is a painful time for our country and it is going to take a while for our country to heal. I am satisfied that what has happened to us is a test to our nation’s resolve and faith in the Almighty God. Just over a year ago we had a natural disaster… which also took the lives of some of our people. We met that challenge and I have no doubt we will do so with this one,” he said.

Dr Gonsalves said he had been to the small village of Fancy, where the majority of the deceased lived, on eight occasions over the past 11 days, to console the families which had suffered from the tragedy.

Sunday’s funeral was preceded by a wreath-laying ceremony Saturday.(SDB Media)

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