We hope and pray

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It was confirmed yesterday afternoon that it was indeed a Customs officer who was found dead in her home in Golden Grove. From all reports, Zorina Benjamin was a beautiful young lady, believed to be in her early 40’s, with a bright future ahead of her! Our hearts certainly go out to her friends and family members, indeed, to all those who were fortunate to have met and loved her. This is another terrible blow to us her in Antigua and Barbuda, where the hits just seem to keep on coming. There is a void in our hearts! May she sleep in peace!

Of course, it is too early to ascertain the details surrounding this latest tragedy, and it is unclear whether her demise had anything to do with her job as a Customs officer. We hope not! We also hope that she did not meet her end at the hands of another. That would certainly add to our pain and grief.

Sadly, the news of this latest tragedy brings back to our minds the assault on Customs officer Cornell Benjamin who sustained four gunshot wounds to his right leg and one to his left, just over two years ago. There have been no arrests in that brazen attack on the Customs officer in his own yard. In fact, we have not been kept abreast with the status of that investigation, never mind that the assault on Benjamin was an assault on law enforcement, an assault on the State itself, an assault on society. Remember, folks, Benjamin was either directly or indirectly involved in the investigation of multi-million-dollar shenanigans at the port. Hmmmm!

To be sure, we are not suggesting that the death of Zorina Benjamin is in any way connected to the aforementioned alleged hanky-panky by some at the port. We have no evidence in that regard. Neither are we suggesting that her death has anything to do with the assassination of Customs officer Nigel Christian, he who was snatched from his home, in front of his terrified mother, and allegedly murdered just outside of the village of New Winthorpes, in July of last year. His blood cries out from the soil for justice. As do all the decent and law-abiding citizens of this fair State. If an armed Customs officer can be assaulted in his own home with impunity, then woe are we. The assault on Christian is an assault on law enforcement, an assault on society. (Police have arrested three men in the alleged murder of Nigel Christian)

Then there is the equally grim and vexing case of 52-year-old Customs officer, Margaret Harris, she of St Johnston’s Village, whose body was found in bushes off Wireless Road on the morning of October 15, just over a month ago. She was a sweetheart who attended, and was quite active, in the Ottos Wesleyan Holiness Church. The faithful are heartbroken, as are her friends and colleagues who all had nothing but kind words to say about her. We join with all those who knew and loved dear Margaret in offering our sincerest condolences to her bereaved family.

So far, there is nothing to suggest that Margaret was targeted on account of her work at the Customs and Excise Division, or that she was in any way, other than being a Customs officer, connected to Zorina Benjamin, Nigel Christian or Cornell Benjamin, but again, eyebrows are being raised. These are eerie coincidences, and they certainly give us pause. But we shan’t speculate.

And of course, we trust that the investigative authorities will redouble their efforts to bring all those involved in the aforementioned assaults to swift and sure justice. We are a nation of laws, and those who move among us with murder in their hearts ought not to be allowed to get away with it.

May murder not be hid long! May truth out! [Shakespeare, MERCHANT OF VENICE]

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