Guyana consulate to address gun violence

Guyana consulate to address gun violence
Guyana Consul General The Hon. Barbara Atherly, left, with Sen. Roxanne Persaud, surrounded by a wall of NYPD blue at a prayer vigil for fallen correction officer Alastasia Bryan.
Photo by Tangerine Clarke

Guyana Consul General, Barbara Atherly said her 2017 planed programs would include gun violence and domestic abuse education in light of the recent tragic murder of 25-year old Alastasia Bryan, one of the youngest correction officers to serve at the Rikers Island Correctional facility.

Atherly expressed heartfelt sympathy to mother Ingrid Bryan during a recent candlelight vigil at the murder site in the Flatlands section of Brooklyn, on Monday, Dec. 5 — one day after the hardworking officer was gunned down in her car on her way to work.

She was a stone’s throw away from her home.

The diplomat said she couldn’t clarify if Alastasia Bryan, an American born to Ingrid and Donald Bryan of the Alboystown area of Georgetown, was registered at the consulate as being Guyanese, but given that she is of Guyanese parentage, “we feel she is one of us and we would like to extend our sympathies to the family because this is a tragedy no one wants to encounter.

“A young life was cut short and more particular, she was on her way to work, doing a noble profession as a correction officer where she was needed especially in these times when so many people are incarcerated for something or other,” said Atherly, adding that the work of a correction officer is needed.

Atherly expressed sadness at the loss of the young woman, a recent graduate of the academy, and one of the youngest correction officers, at Rikers Island Ann M. Kross Center. Atherly said that persons must be educated on ways to control their temper, one of the causes of violence and abuse in society.

“It is difficult to tell a parent how to be strong, at such a sad time, “someone who has just lost a child, a loved one, a beautiful intelligent daughter,” Atherly, who spoke directly to Ingrid Bryan at the candlelight vigil, said. “The path of this family has taken an unusual turn, so it is very difficult to deal with such a situation. But she must hold strong to her faith and rely on the justice system to bring justice to her family by finding the perpetrator. She needs to take comfort in the memories and the love she shared with Alastasia,”

The envoy said the consulate is in the process of outlining its work plan for 2017 and gun violence, abuse, and other topics that affect the Guyanese community would be addressed.

In the meantime, she suggests that gun laws be reviewed to make sure gun owners are properly vetted before being issued licenses to bear arms.

Atherly said citizens must come forward and talk about illegal gun ownership, not only at the community level, but also in the home. The system itself needs to uncover sources of illegal guns and ammunition and tackle it from that source, she said.

“I know it is far-reaching to find underground weapons, but it is important, if people know anything about illegal firearms in the community, they should speak up, this could save lives,” she urged citizens. “We at the consulate are saddened, by this tragedy, and would like to extend our services in whatever way we could to make sure the Bryan family receives all the help they need.”

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