Bermuda’s National Security Minister Michael Weeks says the country is facing a “crisis” in gang violence noting that there is a need for “candid discussions” to be had with stakeholders to resolve the problem.
According to Weeks, approximately 1,000 people are actively involved in gangs across the island and the issue of violence is the “proverbial 800-lb elephant in the room that poses a threat to us all”.
He stated that “I find it utterly unconscionable that around 1,000 people can cause this much disruption and devastation to a population of just over 60,000 people on a 21-square-mile island.”
“We are losing too many young black men. This is an existential threat, and I want to know the ‘whys’ and the ‘whats’ – why are we losing these young men and what can be done to stop this crisis,” he questioned.
He made these remarks while addressing representatives of charities, government agencies, and helping organizations on the issue of gang violence which he believes poses a grave threat to young people, the island’s peace of mind, schools, societal expectations of normal behavior, and the very fabric of the Bermudian culture.
The minister believes that the problem can only be quelled by community involvement and action.
“Let me first state that no one person, entity, or agency is to blame for today’s crisis. You may have heard me publicly state over and over that this problem is a community problem, not a police problem. I meant it then, and I mean it now.
“The sooner each of us on the island comes to terms with this concept, the faster we will solve this issue,” Weeks said.
“This issue is personally heart-wrenching. I constantly receive frantic phone calls from worried parents fearful for their sons who are involved in or affected by the violence in some way, and I have the unpleasant task of offering sympathies to murder victims’ families when tragedy strikes, he added.