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Johan Bjerkhamn shoots his son dead, refuses to talk with police and then escapes in a private jet!
Photo credit: Nation News – Johan Bjerkhamn (hand bandaged) at son’s funeral.
AN 11-YEAR-OLD BOY is dead and last night his father was a patient at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) nursing a gunshot injury.
Yesterday, acting police public relations officer Inspector David Welch confirmed that Luke Bjerkhamn succumbed to a gunshot wound to the chest while at his Leslie Gardens, Maynards, St Peter residence.
He said Luke was taken to the Sandy Crest Medical Centre, Holetown, St James, where he was pronounced dead. Father Johan Bjerkhamn, 39, reportedly received an injury to one of his hands.
The incident, which took place some time after 1:30 p.m., reportedly occurred during the cleaning of a firearm.
Johan was also initially taken to Sandy Crest but then transported to the QEH by ambulance where he was scheduled to undergo surgery last night.
Luke and Johan are the grandson and son respectively, of prominent real estate developer and head of the Jada Group of Companies, Bjorn Bjerkhamn.
Yesterday, a very distraught Anna Adamira, mother of Johan and the child's grandmother, speaking from Canada, recalled her grandson as an "incredible child".
A tearful Adamira said she was scheduled to take Luke on holiday in August and "he was very excited".
"Luke was such an angel, he was a very obedient child. This is a tragedy and I don't know how his father is going to handle it," she lamented.
Adamira, who will be flying back to the island today, said she had already packed a suitcase full of clothes for Luke, who was a former student of St Winifred's and was a first form student of The St Michael School.
"This is very unfortunate. I'm in shock because right now Johan is also in the hospital and I'm not there to be with him. He lives for that child, his only child, his whole world surrounds Luke," she added.
Adamira said Luke lived with his mother Gayle Bjerkhamn and usually visited his father on weekends.
Last night, speaking from the home of a family member, an inconsolable Gayle said she was not at home when the incident occurred and she did not know how she would go home to face Luke's empty bedroom.
Throughout our history the Royal Barbados Police Force has shown again and again that the organization enforces the laws differently according to a person’s race, class, wealth, or political affiliations.
There have been many high-profile situations that have come to public attention, and any Bajan past the age of ten years old can recount tales of privileges or concessions granted to the elites or perceived elites on this island by our police. This behaviour pre-dates our independence and thrives on the reality that the “rule of law” in Barbados is pretty much what those in power determine it is at the time.
Consequently, even if our police officers can get their own heads around the concept of “one law for all, enforced without favour or malice”, they are never sure if the police bosses and their political masters (yes, I said “political masters”) will back them if they arrest one of the elites. So the police officers tread ever so gently and scrape and bow around the important people even when they are suspects in serious crimes.
This results in absurdities like a woman calling the police saying that she is being beaten in a domestic violence situation – and our police did not answer the call for FOUR DAYS because the victim was calling from a gated community and the security guard wouldn’t let the police enter!
A victim of domestic abuse called screaming for help and the police would not enter “private property” because the victim lived in a rich gated community where the law doesn’t apply. Even after the senior officers arrived, the police still didn’t enter the gated community and she kept calling for help for four days! It took four days for somebody on the police force to come to the realisation that perhaps, this one time only, the police might want to enforce the law before somebody got murdered.
“Upper Crust” isn’t all white anymore
Years ago the Royal Barbados Police Force allowed a serial murderer to get away – and many believe it was because he was “upper crust”. (See BFP’s Barbados Police Did Not Arrest Canefield Serial Killer “Because He Had A Child With Him” … Or Was It Something Else?)
In case you are unaware, “upper crust” in Barbados is a euphemism for “white with lots of money and connections” – although the usage is changing as time rolls on. In the last 40 years (and especially in the 14 years of BLP government!) many Barbados blacks have achieved wealth, power, international status and “upper crust” titles. Indeed, it can fairly be said that races other than blacks are mostly excluded from public politics in modern Barbados.
But old societal attitudes and standards die hard and even if the new “upper crust” used to be ordinary people like us until they got elected or otherwise became one of the elites – they are still treated very gently by the police. Of course, when they can get away with it the police look after their own too! (See BFP’s Secret Withdrawal Of Bribery Charges Against Barbados Cop Stinks Of Corruption At The Highest Levels)
Payoffs let rich and/or connected criminals walk free when you or I would go to jail
And then we have the other reality on this rock: the elites are allowed to buy their way out of criminal convictions with money or in a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” deal. Consider journalist Roy Morris of The Nation who was arrested by a very reluctant police force for the rape of a junior employee. Sure enough, (and just as we predicted at the time) he was allowed to pay off the victim with money. Coincidentally after that all the fuss about the police illegally arresting and assaulting Barbados journalists at the QEH went by the wayside never to be heard of again. (See BFP’s Barbados Government In Damage Control Mode Over Police Roughing Up Journalists At Hospital and Barbados Journalists Were Roughed Up OUTSIDE The Hospital!)
There were two victims in the Roy Morris rape case: the first was the rape victim pressured to take money. The second victim was the public’s respect for the entire justice system and the law. (See BFP’s Source: Rape-Accused Roy Morris Bought Off Girl’s Family)
Was the Bjerkhamn decision to post no guard based upon race, class, connections?
Now we come to the current situation where a rich white elite shot his 11 year old son to death, by the look of everything almost certainly in a tragic accident. We are sorry for the family, and sorry for young Luke who by all accounts was of good character, full of potential and well liked by all.
Most of all, we feel sorry for the father, Johan Bjerkhamn, who’s heart must be broken. He will carry a terrible burden for the rest of his life.
… when Johan Bjerkhamn refused to talk to the police about what happened, even though he was well enough to attend his son’s funeral, that was a warning flag that should have been seen. And indeed it was seen by the police because there was a heavy police presence at the funeral and the police escorted Johan Bjerkhamn from the hospital and back again. (Bjerkhamn apparently shot his hand and the bullet continued on to hit his son in the chest.)
Although the police made a show of “escorting” Bjerkhamn to his son’s funeral – they apparently did not post a guard at the hospital, or charge him with some preliminary offense and have him released on bail after surrendering his passports. They could have done that at his hospital bedside and retained some kind of hold and control on the man.
Nope, instead the police granted Mr. Bjerkhamn the kind of consideration that is reserved for the elites and he has now fled the country. His family says he is going abroad for surgery to his hand and that might be true – but it doesn’t change a thing. He might return at his convenience, or he might not.
Firearms Dealer Licenses: A perk for the elites?
We also mention that there is a huge question about why the police issued a “firearms dealer” license to Bjerkhamn in the first place. There is talk that so many elites (some say “white elites”) are allowed dealer licenses when they are not really dealers, have no firearms dealer experience or formal training. They are given the dealer license by the police so they can freely possess many firearms as opposed to non-elites who are put through the hoops to be allowed to possess a single firearm.
The firearms dealer license issue aside, in failing to act properly to prevent Bjerkhamn from leaving the island once again the Royal Barbados Police Force has treated one of the elites with subservient deference and a double standard.
Until each one of us no longer tolerates this culture of subservience to the elites there will be no assurance of justice for ordinary folks, and no true rule of law in Barbados.