Senator Jeff Baron: “Public Safety A Priority”

October 27, 2015

[Updated] The Government has made public safety a priority since the OBA was elected, intensifying community-level engagement through the work of Team StreetSafe, the Inter-Agency Task Force and the GREAT programme, Junior Minister for National Security Senator Jeff Baron said.

Senator Baron said, “This Government has made public safety a priority since the OBA was elected in 2012. Today, Bermuda is stronger, safer and better positioned to manage violent crime and public safety.

“We have intensified community-level engagement through the work of Team StreetSafe and the Inter-Agency Task Force, and in schools through the Gang Resistance Education and Training programme.

“Despite the shock that comes with any shooting, the evidence indicates that significant progress is being made. Police firearm statistics show that 63 people were shot between 2010 and 2012, and 22 between 2013 and today.

Chart extracted from the 2014 BPS crime statistics report [PDF]

Fullscreen capture 10272015 33624 PM

“The work on the streets has been joined by work in the schools that is aimed at talking with kids about positive choices to steer them clear of gang life,” added Senator Baron.

“This effort, which is dedicated to the long-term health of our community, has graduated over 500 school children from the GREAT programme.

Senator Baron pictured with GREAT graduates at West Pembroke in May 2015

2015 West Pembroke Primary P6 G.R.E.A.T

“The challenges we face require strategic patience and persistence. The work at all levels is extremely challenging. It is being done by Police, civil servants, teachers and community workers and it is powered by their dedication, their faith and their deepest concerns for the health of the community.

“Everyone involved feels the painful setback when incidents such as last Friday’s fatal shooting occur. But we press on, because there is really no alternative to keeping the lines of communication open 24/7, working with at-risk children and their families for a better life,” concluded Senator Baron.

Update #1:  Shadow Minister of National Security, Walter Roban said, “It is disturbing that the OBA would attempt to exploit the brutal murder of a young male to trumpet their record on crime. With a family in mourning and the police investigation underway, now is not the time for the OBA to boast and Senator Baron’s comments are wholly inappropriate and disrespectful.

“Over a year ago, the PLP asked the Premier and National Security Minister Michael Dunkley & his Junior Minister to be open and transparent regarding the progress of the Bermuda Police Service Gang and Violence Reduction Strategy and the Inter Agency Task Force.

“If Senator Baron thinks that now is the appropriate time to break the OBA’s silence on these matters, it clearly demonstrates how out of touch he and his colleagues are. Hopefully this doesn’t become a pattern as the OBA tries to gloss over the various crimes and murders that have occurred under their watch.

“The PLP supports our community and social clubs. They are crucial to the social fabric of the islands. Historically these clubs underpin the efforts to promote partnership, excellence in athletics and have long been training grounds for leadership. This can and must continue. To address any challenges they have is going to require the maximum level of community partnership. As the record will show, the PLP is committed to this effort.

“The issue of gangs and gang culture are a serious matter and Bermudians deserve progress, not photo ops, and the victims of violence in Bermuda deserve to be respected by the OBA and not exploited.”

Update #2: In response, Senator Baron said, “Bipartisan support of initiatives aimed at disrupting the gang lifestyle is one critical element for their success. It is counter productive to engage in discussions founded in the politics of the issues.

“The commitment of this Government to fostering bipartisan, cross ministry and NGO action on the serious matters that affect our community is a matter of public record. We will continue this work, focused on the objective of disrupting the rhythm of gang behavior and inspiring young people to make positive lifestyle choices.”

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Comments (42)

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  1. San George says:

    A interesting absence of our native brethren. Economic challenges are what need to be addressed.

    Quo Fata Ferunt!

    • Terry says:

      Define “native brethren”.

    • In America it’s called “School-to- prison pipeline”.

    • Terry says:

      Well please define.
      Still waiting.

      • At risk children not being properly addressed who might need extra educational or social assistance, being unable to do so because of staff shortages or statutory mandates. Low income families cant afford to send their children to higher learning institutes have to depend on the Public system which seems to be neglected by those in power who never went to Public institutions and have no interest. The low income families being unemployed thus having hardships on the children who have to work twice as hard to cope with the environment they’re accustomed too, having a substantial diet to function properly, unable to afford to be involved in positive extra curriculum activities which may lead them to an unhealthy adolescent development, thus not being able to get the proper opportunity to participate in the social workforce.
        But in America it’s more cut and dry as their zero tolerance policies leads to exclusion from the school system with excessive rouge police used in the school, which was just experienced with the school girl in South Carolina, leading them to a high risk of incarceration, which is a booming business by Private Firms in the United States.

      • I defined it, but you can Google it.

  2. NO MORE WAR says:

    It’s a priority yet you cut the very budget that is tasked with enforcing it. Makes perfect sense.

    • Zevon says:

      Because the PLP increaed debt by 8x in 5 years by spending borrowed money on stupid stuff. That made no sense at all.

    • Diablo says:

      More money doesn’t t always correlate with better results.

      Despite the budget cuts the number of offended has consistently decreased.

      Another example would be the Hopkins or Mincy (can’t remember which one stated it) which said that the Bermuda school system is fully equipped and better funded than most if not all the professor has witnessed. Despite the large budget the results being produced required the former Government to bring in foreign experts/consultants to tell us why the large investment isn’t panning out as expected.

      • Diablo says:

        My point being is that money spent efficiently is much more likely to produce efficient results as opposed to simply throwing more and more funds with no clear strategy.

    • Onion says:

      Note the dramatic drop in number of incidents since the end of 2012. Whatever the OBA are doing it’s clear that it is working.

      • aceboy says:

        There was almost daily shootings for a while in 2008. That was PLP tenure time. How quickly and conveniently you forget.

      • Kenik says:

        Shootings in past two years down to 22 from 63 in preceding two years!?! Quite something! Somethings working!

        • Its simple stupid, most of them involved are dead, incarcerated or left the island, yes quite something for a Government who said they would have it stopped.

        • bermyguy says:

          most of those involved have either been killed, left the island or locked up and those that arent in those categories are tryna get out so it really has nothin to do with the police if i woke up today and wanted to shoot someone i would. the police have nothing to do with my decision my decision would be based off of will i be able to get away with it.

          i give credit to those guys that have realized that they dont want that life no more, but now it is up to rest of society to give them a chance. dont stigmatize them for what they use to do/be but encourage them to be better and live positive.

    • Public safety a priority, I say get a real minister in place for National security and then you will see Public safety, all we see is a photo up minister that shows up to every good event, and then have heck to get a real sense of actions taken when something drastic takes place.

      The priorities are all wrong from jump, there was much talk from the opposition minister before he and his government was elect, and long before Premier Dunkley got to the position where he is, he made bold statements of how terrible the PLP was handling crime in our streets and protection of our society and communities, and given the chance if he were ever in power what he would do, he has not delivered on one of those so called strategies.

      Mr Dunkley you have not stopped or slow down the killings in our street, or the level of violence in our communities, the law enforcement has had to tolerate a weak government with no back bone and no teeth, you want to fight what is in the street, you need to be able to handle the task by taking real measures to combat it, and it dont start in the street, it only spills over into the streets, but you are not street smart.

      before you can deal with the street level, you must deal with the corporate level, you want to go up the ladder, but you better learn how to start from the top and work your way down, and just maybe you don’t even know how to approach that properly either, and while you are at it, take a lesson from the former police commissioner who was sent packing out of Bermuda, he tried and failed, you want to enlighten the folk to why, some already are in the know, that is why I make the bold statement, that you cant fight nothing, and you cant fix nothing, because you and your government refuse to take the fight out of the street and behind close doors, as long as blacks are killing blacks, it is of no real concern to you, so you give your pep speech and that is as far as you go, read between the lines, and for all the OBA die hard that want to click dislike, you don’t worry me, stay in your lane.
      This arena is only to be handle by real folk that know what they are talking about and know what methodology that needs to be implemented.

    • Vixen Star says:

      And yet the statistics are dropping…

  3. bluebird says:

    This weekend we only had one shooting.
    the same weekend in one of the cities in the US there were only (35) shooting for the weekend.

  4. Truth Teller says:

    Baron and the UBP/OBA thought that the fix could be achieved by focusing
    on the symptoms because to address the substantive underlying causes would mean
    that we would have to discuss race and that would only make his overwhelmingly white support base and the tiny minority of blacks who mimic them unhappy.

    So what are we left with? A misguided strategy that rely’s on some dubious street safe crap along with some pseudo religious self help style mantras a la Chris Crumplear.

    Bermuda deserves better. Maybe the rocket scientist named Cleveland “Out of Sight” Simmons and Dennis “1977″ Bean have the solutions.

    • ImJustSayin says:

      OMG! Truth Teller you sick a nerve there. LoL!

    • Devonshire says:

      The proof of what Sen. Baron speaks is in the pudding….63 shootings from 2010 and 2012 but from 2013 – today it’s 22. CLEARLY their efforts are paying off..

    • Kenik says:

      Clearly you can’t read. The programmes implemented by the OBA (or more substantively implemented) do get to underlying causes. Not just “the symptoms”. And those programmes target at-risk children. Your sycophantic faux dissatisfaction and criticisms don’t reconcile the truth of the results to date.

  5. chip says:

    so no homosexual public safety a priority

  6. ImJustSayin says:

    OMG! Truth Teller you struck a nerve there..

  7. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    They are all reactionaries who “Shut the barn door after the horse has gone.”

  8. Keepin' it Real!...4Real! says:

    The cause of our social ills start in your up bringing…If you’re born into a gangster family…guess what…although some may accel and become highly educated…hence the term “white collar” crime…Most successful gangsters are personable respected and loved individuals…now the foot soldiers are the only ones making the news…to most of them who have or feel like they can’t thrive in today’s (YOUR) society get the respect and love as they move up the ranks in their world…Now how do you “FIX” that..?
    Life is about balance…If you got “good” then you gotta have “bad”…you just have to keep that balance from becoming overwhelming on either side.
    Being Gung Ho is not the way to go…that would be a call for action…not a good thing for either side.
    The police need to become trusted keepers of the peace…They need to mingle with the streets rather than have people take flight towards aggressive behavior…example…cops should be able to pull up to a street corner and talk with the guys about real crimes being committed and FORGET about 1 or 2 guys who may be smoking a skliff in the group…talk with them too…you would be AMAZED at the amount of guys that will put away the aggressive attitudes and maybe just maybe some serious crimes might get solved…but if they come like robots…they’ll get treated as such…therfore humanity no longer prevails.

    Just my opinion as usual …now let me hear yours.

  9. Ameboa says:

    The weapons are still getting in and the ones out there are just hidden for longer periods. If a visitor can how ever way he done it manage to conceal a weapon and only be caught on his way out of the island. Like where did he get it from or if he did bring it in how did he get pass the layers of US and local Customs?

    • Don’t forget about all the maritime activity we’re having for the next few years. I wonder if they’re thoroughly searched, but we wouldn’t expect that from elite members of society, ya right.

  10. Takbir Karriem Sharrieff says:

    Sour grapes are not progressive …positive and progressive ideas are welcomed….whichever Government ….U.B.P -P.L.P.-O.B.A.or whatever combination of letters used to describe the authority involved the Public, Black, – White ,Blue or Green or Polka Dot for that matter,,,Quodos to those who are doing and congratulations for those who are supporting……to help make Bermuda a Safer and Healthier Enviroment to live ,work,play ,study ,and travel in.Quo…..Fat….that Ferunt …..[Sucker] …[sucker ] am an old Berklyite 1953 – 1959 Still- who takes exception to you making mockery of our motto which means …in English….keep the end in view.Still the Best High School in Bermuda from its inception….and still keeping ….the end in view.![San George...Sucker]

  11. middle says:

    One shooting in how ever many years is to many,regardless who the rulers are.