Davis and his wife add their voices to the many lamenting Bella’s death
FNM chairman: Incidents such as this should never take place
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — As condolences and outrage continued pouring in for four-year-old Bella Walker, who died after being assaulted last week, Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said action must be taken to ensure such an incident never happens again.
Little Bella was brought into Princess Margaret Hospital injured and unresponsive around 5pm last Friday. She later succumbed to her injuries, with news of her tragic death sending shockwaves throughout the archipelago.
While police are still investigating her death as “suspicious” and awaiting official autopsy results, a man and a woman have been taken into custody in connection with the matter. The police have not yet confirmed their identities or relation to Bella, nor have they confirmed or denied whether the child was sexually assaulted as has been widely speculated in the public sphere.
The prime minister took a moment to acknowledge the tragedy yesterday while speaking ahead of a promotional exercise for immigration officers.
“The thought of any child being harmed is deeply distressing,” Davis said.
“That a child should die in the circumstances being reported rightly stirs up the most profound feelings of disbelief, revulsion and profound sadness.”
He added: “There are those in every society whose transgressions defy comprehension. Our job is to do what is necessary to prevent it.
“Never again. Never again should this be allowed to happen. I pray God’s mercies in this hour of national grief.”
Free National Movement (FNM) Chairman Carl Culmer likewise condemned the “gravely disturbing and saddening” death of the child.
“This horrific act perpetrated against young Bella is just a dreadful reminder of the scores of children that find themselves in violent and painful home environments,” he said.
He added: “We detest all forms of violence in our society, especially against women and children, and it is our fervent hope that the person(s) responsible are brought to justice as soon as possible…
“While incidents such as this should never take place, we are hopeful that it sheds greater light on such a vexing issue, and moves persons to be more vocal and forthcoming about such matters.”
For her part, Ann Marie Davis, the prime minister’s wife, decried as “unfortunate that it took the alleged heinous circumstances surrounding” Bella’s death “to spark public outrage, condemnation and a renewed focus on the issues of child abuse and child protection”.
In a statement issued from the Office of the Spouse of the Prime Minister, she also expressed condolences but committed her office to taking steps to “bring sustained public awareness” and legislation to protect those most vulnerable in society.
Meanwhile, the Zonta Club of Nassau renewed its calls for an end to gender-based violence in the country on the heels of Bella’s death, noting that the global campaign for “16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence” is recognized from November 25 to December 10.
The club issued a statement yesterday not only expressing condolences to Bella’s family but also strongly urging the public to report incidents of suspected domestic abuse or neglect to the police; the greater community to increase its vigilance in protecting children; and victims to reach out to the Bahamas Crisis Centre.