Nassau, N.P – The Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) has donated $8,000 to four families in mourning to help toward the funeral expenses for those loved ones killed in the Fox Hill shootings and further pledged that the names of the four victims of the December 27th shootings at Fox Hill will become a permanent fixture in the park where they were killed. The victims, supporters of the Fox Hill Congo’s Junkanoo Group were innocent bystanders enjoying community fellowship whilst awaiting post Boxing Day Junkanoo results when the tragedy occurred.
BTC is the largest financial supporter of Junkanoo donating nearly a million dollars last year to the Christmas Season Parades. BTC personnel attend many of the rehearsals leading up to the Parades and spent time in Fox Hill with members of the Fox Hill Congo’s Junkanoo Group just days before the shootings.
The financial aid announcement was made By Jerome Sawyer, senior manager of Public Relations at a special event in Fox Hill on January 16th where family members of the deceased, community leaders, clergy, local MP Fred Mitchell, Algernon Allen and Cynthia ‘Mother ‘Pratt of Urban Renewal, attended.
Mr. Sawyer asked who could have foretold that such a tragedy could happen in such a strong and historic community. “Who could ever have foretold that such a senseless tragedy could ever happen in Fox Hill, the strong, cultural heartland of Nassau? A more unlikely place there never was.”
He said that as a part of the overall BTC sponsorship of Junkanoo a BTC team attended a Fox Hill Congo’s rehearsal and spent time with the group just days before the tragedy.
“On this particular night we spent time with three of the people who lost their lives in the shootings, so this has touched us all deeply. I interviewed lead choreographer Shanique Sands who was one of the victims. She was also one of the individuals working along with us on our Social Media campaign entitled, ‘Road to Bay.’ The whole thing is indescribably sad,” said Mr. Sawyer. -more-
“When we learned of the tragedy we wanted the families to know we felt their pain; we decided to offer financial help to defray the cost of the funeral expenses – each family will receive $2,000 and the gift symbolizes our support as we stand with the grieving families and the community as a whole.
“Additionally, BTC will seek to work with, and assist the community to upgrade Freedom Park and install a memorial piece to the four who lost their lives.
“We want Freedom Park and may others like it in communities around the country, to stand as a safe haven for the thousands of children and adults around The Bahamas who gather and spend time, play safely, and feel at ease.”
Fred Mitchell MP for Fox Hill also spoke at the event – remembering and calling the names of the deceased: Claudzino Davis, Shanique Sands, Eric Morrison and Shaquille Demeritte Kelly. “I am certain that the families appreciate this kind corporate gesture, as do the Congo’s Junkanoo group and the community at large and the wider contributions the company plans to make.”Mr. Mitchell thanked the Bahamian community as a whole for the spontaneous outpouring of love and support which has come from across The Bahamas. He said the government has done its part too.
‘The government has done its part. I wish to thank especially the Prime Minister for authorizing the employment of additional resources to help the community get through this rough patch. This includes the furtherance of police patrols, and the resources of the Ministry of Works in a general area cleanup and in particular the Deputy Prime Minister who has personally given his attention to Fox Hill to try and lift our spirits.”
Carl Kemp, Demeritte Kelly’s stepfather, thanked BTC on behalf of all the families and said that the affected families had been helped emotionally and they feel blessed by the outpouring of love and support from the community and beyond.