Column: Giving Back To The Community

June 27, 2016

[Written by Senator Georgia Marshall, Senate Spokeswoman for Justice ]

It’s becoming a fixture on the Bermuda scene in early summer – cheques being handed out to community groups in the Cash Back for Communities programme. This year, the new Minister of National Security, Senator Jeff Baron, did the honours in a short ceremony.

Cash Back is a way we use some of the cash that is seized by the Courts from criminals to benefit people who do good works in the country. This year, $10,000 each was given to the Bermuda Pacers Track Club, the North Village Community Club, Western Stars Sports Club, the Pembroke Hamilton Club, the entertainment group, TROIKA Bermuda, and CrimeStoppers.

The CARE Learning Centre and the Lorraine Rest Home received $15,000 each, and $50,000 was given to the Family Centre.

Georgia Marshall Bermuda June 17 2016

These are organisations that have their roots deep in the community. They are organisations that benefit ordinary members of the community. They are organisations that do good work for the community, organisations without which the life of the community would be very much the poorer.

This constructive and creative initiative is the result of an OBA election pledge. We said we were going to do it and we did.

It wasn’t easy to set Cash Back up. There is already a law that allows the court to seize ill-gotten gains – the Proceeds of Crime Act. We had to create an amendment that allowed us to do this, and pass it through the Legislature.

We did that.

We set up a procedure whereby community-based organisations or sports clubs that are related to youth development, sport, area improvement, community improvement or infrastructure improvement can apply for grants every year.

Seized funds are also used for law enforcement, for the costs of treating and rehabilitating drug addicts, drug prevention and public education efforts on drug abuse. They can also be used to offset the expenses of National Drug Control.

Video of this year’s Cash Back presentations:

Only the Finance Minister and the Minister responsible for Legal Affairs are listed to authorise payments from the Confiscated Assets Fund.

Since the programme came on line in 2014, over half a million dollars – $512,000 to be precise – has been given to community groups and charities which have applied for and been given access to these funds.

I think this is, as I said, a creative and constructive initiative designed to get funds deep into the heart of the community, to support the good works that benefit so many Bermudians.

It’s your Government, working for you, Bermuda.

- Georgia Marshall

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Comments (12)

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  1. William F.G Bird says:

    Come off it Georgia, who are you fooling? Not even yourself, I suspect. If we really wanted to put money back into this community for the folks who need it, perhaps a tax on family (divorce) lawyers’s fees would be a good start. It is nothing short of a national disgrace the frequency in which the only real winners in family bust ups are the lawyers, so cut the dribble…

  2. Jrsmith says:

    #accidentalbermudian

  3. voltage says:

    We don’t need another Santa Clause with a bag full of cash giving token action to fundamental issues. Please stop leveraging the dominant patriarchal/colonial view that a little cash handed out to many struggling groups is evidence of generosity and leadership.

    I appreciate the public relations benefit this programme generates for the Bermuda Government and look forward to transparency around how the money is applied for, who is involved in the decision making and criteria of allocation decisions.

    This programme was orginally created to fund Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Programmes in Bermuda and it appears to have been hijacked by political opportunism and defaulted to a public relations exercise.

    Why not address the big issues facing Bermuda like what is the role of Government in helping all Bermudians achieve and invite our community to participate in defining this?

    Take it out of political public relations, invite broad community participation on these important funding decisions, set clear criteria, timelines and report out to our community on a regular basis.

  4. Huh says:

    How do organizations apply? I was looking at the oba website, and didnt notice the cash back application form? Also, monies were given out in October and again last month, is this a “yearly” fund? I would like to apply please.

  5. Its me again says:

    Do you want a pat on the back or something?

    I thought this artice would go into depth regarding the program but instead it read like election propaganda

  6. boston baked bean says:

    typical OBA spin. No concrete information, just hype.

  7. Diallo V. S. Raban, JP, MP says:

    Sorry but the is no “official application” form. Also, it is a Government Program, not a OBA Party program. You apply by writing a letter to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of National Defense stating what you want and why you need money. The decision to award is made by the Minister of National Defense and the Minster of Finance.

    • Kangoocar says:

      You sir, are being nothing short of disingenuous!!! Gee, what a shocker coming from a plp rep? You stated quite clearly that a letter is sent to the PS, and then the decision to award, is made by the minister of defense and finance, do I have to really remind you that these ministers are OBA ?? Since when anyway, can a PS just silly nilly hand out our money?? Oh sorry, I forgot, Maybe that was the way it was under your plp reign and you possible could be confused???

  8. Ty says:

    typical trifling bermudians can never just say THANK YOU

    • Thank you for having our forefathers work for free for 4 hundred years while the elite circle established their society and opressed the descendants of the down trodden only to be labeled as trouble makers when they fought and continue to fight to be excepted in a racist society manufactured to keep the recipients of the elite society economically in control, while the descendants of the opressed continue to resist the Historically planned Sh!+stem.
      Thank you

  9. Charlly X says:

    CashBack or TrickleDown effect ? Sounds accidental to me !!

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