We need more young men like Omar Davis

The murder this week of Omar Davis Jr. jolted many Bahamians who have long become numb to the many murders taking place in the country, primarily on New Providence.

No life should be viewed as more valuable than another, but frequent reports from police that the spate of violence we have been witnessing has been primarily the result of gang violence where most of the murder victims were “known to police”, has left many less interested in the details of the climbing homicide count.

The circumstances surrounding Davis’ death remain unclear. His body was found in a garbage bag in the back trunk of his car behind a grocery store in Centreville on Tuesday evening. Police said he had wounds to his face, head and chest. 

His mother and relatives had been driving around the island on Tuesday trying to locate the vehicle he was driving as he had not been heard from since the day before.

Many of us remembered Davis from a video of an inspirational speech he gave in 2018, which went viral. That speech was made after he received a scholarship through the Ministry of Education Public Schools Scholars Programme to attend Central State University in Ohio.

He spoke of growing up in Kemp Road, of watching his father murdered, and of being motivated to achieve because he wanted to follow his father’s admonition that he not be like him.

It is a tragedy of immense proportions that just over three months after graduating with a cumulative 4.0 GPA and a double degree in accounting and finance, and just days before he was to leave for Atlanta to start an internship at Deloitte, the young man ended up the victim of murder. 

His social media pages show that he had a love for learning, an effervescent personality and a determination to succeed. He was clearly also loved by his mother, his younger brother and his wider family. He had made them proud.

At this point in our national development when scores of young men continue to go down the wrong path, choosing lives of crime, which often lead to their deaths or incarceration, Omar Davis Jr. was a beacon of hope for his Kemp Road community and many other communities in New Providence.

He had broken a cycle by choosing not to be like his father, whom he had said was into the wrong things. He did not just tell this story powerfully in 2018, but demonstrated it by being the first person in his family to graduate from university. He had big dreams.

We wonder what he could have become and the role he could have played in helping us continue the building of our Bahamas. He was already an inspiration, but had he had the opportunity to share his story with troubled young Bahamian men, he might have helped steer more into choosing education, life and positivity.

We know that there are more Omar Davises in our communities, facing odds and staring them down. But there are not enough of them. We need many more Omar Davises and we need to continue to provide opportunities for their advancement.

The police are now left to investigate in an effort to determine who is responsible for this heinous crime that snuffed out a young life with such boundless potential.

The best way we can honor the memory of the young Bahamian prince is to help more young men like him advance beyond their unfortunate circumstances.

Were it not for the scholars program and for help from others like Sunshine Finance, we imagine the young man might never have made it to university.

His story is a reminder to our society that there is a lot of good that can come out of neighborhoods most often mentioned in the daily police crime reports. But we must find more avenues to nurture and encourage that potential.

We need to produce more young men like the one we lost this week, and we need safer societies that protect them from such tragic end.

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