Two suspects who were wanted in connection with a shooting in Newtown, which left one man dead, have been taken to police headquarters by Member of Parliament for Roseau South, Joshua Francis.
DNO was informed that the men, 22-year-old Jason Telemaque and Leon Ettienne, 27, of Loubiere, were taken in on Tuesday morning by Francis in his capacity as MP.
In an interview with DNO, Francis explained what took transpired.
“The boys reached out to me,” he said. “As the Parliamentary Representative I have a good relationship with my constituents and I pay special attention to young men who are being marginalized, and in that regard, in the view of what transpired, it was very heartbreaking for me.”
Francis said when he took the suspects in on Tuesday, he shed some tears.
“When I met the guys and had to take them in, it wasn’t easy for me,” he stressed. “It was heartbreaking for me.”
Francis said it is very difficult for him to visit families of the suspects.
“It is not an easy thing, there is no winner…,” he stated.
Francis revealed that he worked closely with the police on the matter and he also commended them.
Francis, who is an attorney, made it clear that he will not be representing any of the accused in the matter.
“I will not be representing them because the deceased is from my constituency and the suspects are also from my constituency,” he explained. “I am not taking sides.”
In an earlier interview, he described the incident as “a very sad moment.”
“The loss of life is the most painful thing for any family,” he said. “I can only imagine the brokenness and the pain that the family of the deceased is going through, as well as that of the alleged shooters. It is never an easy thing for a family to lose a young person and it is never an easy thing for a family to be on the receiving end as well because the alleged shooters have a family and they must be hurting too.”
Francis said there are lessons to be learned from the incident.
“We have to find a way, whether it is a National Action Plan which must percolate or infiltrate at local levels to avoid those types of senseless shootings,” he remarked. “We have to find a way to make our society more peaceful, find a way to resolve our conflicts without resorting to violence.”
In the wake of the shooting, he called on the Roseau South Constituency, particularly the people of Newtown and Loubiere to rally together.
“I want to ask people to rally and to support each other,” he stated. “It is a very difficult time but when we come together as a team, when we come together as a community we are much stronger, we can support each other.”
Meantime, Francis pointed out that ways must be found to reach out to young men in society.
“We have to find a way to reach out to our young men,” he noted. “We have to find a way to speak to our young men, we have to find a way to help our young men. Our young men are in trouble, we need to help our young men, we need to go back to the ground and connect with young men.”
Francis mentioned also that young men are quickly becoming marginalized, “and we need to hear them out.”
“We need to listen to them, we need to find a way to help them,” he remarked. “Because the people who are being killed, the majority of them are young men and the people who alleged kill the majority of them are young men.”
Francis said preventative measures must be taken to stop that type of behaviour.
“We have to tackle crime, we cannot just sit by and let it be, we cannot always be reacting. We have to take preventive measures to stop that type of behaviour,” he said. “We cannot resolve issues by shooting each other.”
Francis called on families to take responsibility for their children, especially boys.
“Talk to them, look over them, do not curse them, follow them, give them love, show them care, inspire them to go back to work,” he explained. “I think that is the biggest problem for our young men right now, is that they are being ignored and they become rebellious, they are aggressive, they become more and more violent…”