Above: (l-r) Prime Minister, Dr. Roosevelt Skerrrit; Deputy Chief of Police, Lincoln Corbette, and National Security Minister, Rayburn Blackmore at the Command Center, Warner, June 10, 2022.

With the search and rescue operation to find the kidnapped, 12-year-old, girl from Warner, Kernisha Etienne, now officially hitting its 16th day, concerned citizens are feeling abandoned by the authorities.

The hunt for Dominica’s most-wanted-man, came to an end on Saturday when he was finally cornered by a search party in the Layou area. Unfortunately, allegedly Alexander succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained during the stand-off when according to CDPF, Deputy Police Chief, Lincoln Corbette in a pre-recorded statement said that the Alexander charged at the police bearing a three-foot cutlass when he was shot in the legs.

Kernisha Etienne, the minor whom he had grabbed from her home on the night of June 7th, was not with him. Corbette in his statement said that despite receiving first aid, Alexander before he expired, disclosed possible information on the whereabouts of Kernisha Etienne.

Whatever information Alexander is purported to have told the police has not yielded any results. And little Kernisha remains unaccounted for.

Call for Commission of Inquiry

This has led to calls from the national Joint Action Movement (NJAM)  for Dominicans to support a demandfor an ‘Investigation into police handling of Kernisha Ettienne’s abduction and death of Keyan Alexander.’

“The nation has been subjected to almost ninety-six hours of total silence from the police, the Minister of National Security, and the Government of Dominica on the circumstances which lead to the death of Kian Alexander, presumably the only person who had information on the whereabouts of the child, and how they intend to continue the search and rescue efforts for the child,” a section from the statement issued yesterday said, adding, “NJAM has deemed “totally unacceptable”, what it says is the deafening silence of the police and the government of Dominica and as a result, the organization is demanding that the authorities inform the nation of the current situation with regard to the missing child and what could have led to the death of Keyan Alexander, “when it was public knowledge and understanding that he had to be apprehended alive, thereby assisting to confirm the whereabouts of the twelve-year-old child, Kernisha Etienne.”

The whole truth

It would be in the interest of the Prime Minister to break the silence and address the nation on this matter. On June 10th he said that he was taking over the search and rescue operation to look for the girl. And the police gave the assurance that as far as, possible, that the abductor, Kian Alexander would be brought in for questioning, alive so that he could be questioned on the whereabouts of the 12-year-old girl that he kidnapped. According to the Deputy Chief of Police, Lincoln Corbette, “During that time, he said certain things to the police as to the possible whereabouts of Kernisha Etienne.” that was on Saturday.

Up till press time, as far as I am aware, Kernisha Etienne has not been found. The police must take responsibility for not finding the kidnapper within the first 60 minutes since the alert was raised when she was grabbed and taken to parts unknown by the abductor. And they have failed us, the families concerned, and the general population by extension again, by shooting dead the only person that could tell the police what he has done with the girl, or his side of the story. The utter silence from Prime Minister Skerrit in light of the recent developments is unacceptable. Unless the police are continuing to search with credible leads, unless there is some divine intervention and a miracle is manifested that even at this late hour we can find the girl alive or evidence to the contrary, we most likely will never know what has happened to poor Kernisha. Even as I am writing this comment, Emonews is streaming a Sacrificial Prayer service at the Warner Primary School.

The people are hurting. If the Prime minister is reading this message, or one of his disciples can make sure this message gets to him, I implore him to do the right thing and bring the persons responsible for this objectional failure to account. Or take responsibility himself.