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The relative peace in Antigua and Barbuda was shattered when Customs Officer, Nigel Christian, was kidnapped in broad daylight from his McKinnons home, on Friday July 10th, in front of his terrified mother, taken to an area just outside of New Winthorpes, and murdered. It was an affront to our senses and sensibilities, and it left the nation in mourning, never mind terror. That four armed men could boldly journey to Christian’s home, confront him in the presence of his mother, into whose mouth they stuck a gun, take him from his residence and kill him less than an hour later, spoke to a cold, calculating ruthlessness, hitherto seldom seen in our fair State. And it immediately begged the question: who could have conceived of and perpetrated such a heinous deed?

The government of Antigua and Barbuda immediately put up a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the perpetrators, and while we thought that the amount was rather small, we were hopeful that it would do the trick. But nay, not a word was heard. Seemed, the killers had vanished into thin air.

Of course, there was speculation that they’d already left Antigua (we are sure that the authorities have already combed through immigration records), or that the reward money should be doubled, perhaps even tripled, or that the killers were professional assassins, or that the stakes were so high that even those who might have information, would be intimidated/paid into not being forthcoming. The whisperings about shenanigans at the Port also did not help the situation any. There was a palpable climate of fear and dread, and the case languished. Or so it appeared.

Fortunately, seems the Bard of Stratford-upon-Avon, he of pithy observations and aphorisms, is again correct in his frank remark in MERCHANT OF VENICE that, The truth will come to light, and murder cannot be hid long—a man’s son may hide, but truth will always come out.” Indeed. According to our Prime Minister, the Honourable Gaston Browne, the investigative authorities have been making some appreciable headway in the case, and he expects arrests to be made shortly. (Sigh of relief) They have been working painstakingly behind the scenes, without much hootin’ and hollerin’, (as well it should be), tracking down the leads, identifying suspects and building the evidence. Bravo!

Which inevitably beggars the questions: Why were four men dispatched to abduct Nigel Christian and take his life? How could those that took his life have been so bold as to execute their plan in broad daylight? Was Christian killed to silence him? What did he know? And who was so put off by his knowledge? Hmmmm! Intriguing questions all, and we believe that many of the answers will be provided soon. In the meantime, we trust that the investigation will continue with due care. The four men who took Christian from his home and then killed him, ought not to be walking around with impunity as free men.

To be sure, we will not rest easy until those four fiends who took that fine young man’s life are made to answer for their crime. And we will certainly continue echoing the call of the Concerned Citizens, “JUSTICE FOR NIGEL CHRISTIAN!” They were unrelenting agitators, and they were determined not to allow this dastardly crime to go unpunished. We salute Mary John, Dr Jacqui Quinn and the faithful remnant for refusing to be cowed into being silent. After all, as has been so nicely put by the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Even as Nigel’s spilled blood cried out from the soil in Blizzard, the Concerned Citizens heard and answered the plaintive call.

Meanwhile, we can only imagine the many sleepless nights being endured by his tormented family, especially his mother. What pain! What unimaginable grief! It is not difficult to surmise that she must be reliving that awful abduction in her mind, and wondering what she could have done to save her dearly beloved son. Yes, she would have given her life for him. Such is a mother’s love! Our hearts and prayers go out to the Christian family –  they are a good family, the best among us, and we know that there is a void that cannot be filled. We mourn with them, and share that emptiness, as so movingly described by W. H. Auden in FUNERAL BLUES: “Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone / Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone / Silence the piano and with muffled drum / Bring out the coffin let the mourners come / . . . He was my North, my South, my East and West / My working week and my Sunday rest / My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song / I thought that love would last forever; I was wrong / The stars are not wanted now; put out every one / Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun / Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood / For nothing now can ever come to any good.” Sigh!

We feel the family’s pain. When Nigel was killed, a piece of us perished with him. We all cry out for JUSTICE!

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