Minister Baron: Challenge Is To Break The Cycle

July 25, 2016

“The challenge for Bermuda is not to see if we can arrest or incarcerate this problem away, but if we can break the cycle which has led to what we now experience,” Minister of National Security Jeff Baron said.

Speaking in the Senate today [July 25], the Minister said, “Before the positive vibe of Cup Match drowns out all other messages, I wanted to take the opportunity to address the issues of gun crime and anti-social behavior that our community is experiencing.

“Too often in our busy, everyday lives, our reaction to word of another shooting incident is to call for stronger enforcement or harsher penalties under existing laws and in some cases even more laws. Since 2009, the Bermuda Police Service has led an effective enforcement effort to deal with guns, gangs, drugs and crimes of violence.

Jeff Baron Bermuda TC July 25 2016

“Their work has been supported by prosecutors who have taken the evidence gathered and fairly presented it to juries made up of ordinary men and women in this society. On conviction, the Courts have imposed sentences that reflect the prevailing view of the community regarding these kinds of crimes and their effect on our way of life. The criminal justice system has done its part.

“The new phase of public engagement on these issues must deal with the “why” and in so doing start a march towards “never again”. Gun crime and anti-social behavior are the symptoms of wider issues that have clearly not been satisfactorily addressed. There are too many common factors that surround gangs and guns for this to be a string of coincidences.

“But rather than add to the indictment of our Island’s troubled past, these facts should be the fuel we use to power us to solutions for the future. We know to whom services must be directed to help those in need.

“We know the volatile mix of socio-economic factors that drive a small, but significant group of our citizens to choose the gang lifestyle. We also know the anger, frustration and inequalities that have caused people to question the commitment of their government to their success.

“It is for these reasons, Madame President, that the Government has committed its support to initiatives like GREAT in our schools and team Street Safe in our neighbourhoods. Neither is an enforcement initiative. Both expose their target populations to the positive side of law enforcement and promote a means by which to either avoid or depart from the gang lifestyle.

“The answers are jobs, economic security, a quality of life and an outlook on life that promotes equality of opportunity. This Government is working to build the capacity for success in people who society might have left behind or who have found it harder to get ahead.

“We are determined to invest in people so that they do not feel compelled to leave Bermuda except for education and experience. Home should be where they contribute their talent and time, not where they return just to visit friends and family.

“To those in the demographic that has never stood at the casket of a young man shot in his 20s; to those who don’t recognize the names of the roads where shootings have occurred; to those who demand more of the police without recognizing just what the Police do every day; this is your problem too. But I know you know that. How do you help? Invest. Treat this like any other issue you would resolve in business, your family or in your organizations. Invest.

“Every person hired is one less person wondering how to explain to a child why there’s no breakfast. Every dollar invested in a community club is a brick in the wall that builds up programmes promoting positive lifestyle choices.

“Every pro bono hour of mentoring or community engagement is a means by which to tear down the imagery of two Bermudas, one unconcerned about the other. Every effort must be made to transform our society into one where no group feels left out or ignored. We cannot pull against each other, failing to appreciate our history, our present and our desires for the future.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Madame President, before the positive vibe of Cup Match drowns out all other messages, I wanted to take the opportunity to address the issues of gun crime and anti-social behavior that our community is experiencing.

I know I speak for all Bermudians and residents alike when I say that it was shocking and troubling to see the recent images of homeowners showing where stray bullets had damaged their property. The danger this posed to innocent people, enjoying a summer evening at home is frightening.

Our collective sense of outrage should not be tempered by the location of this incident, to whom it happened or whatever the reason behind it might be. Instead, it should serve as a wake-up call, a reminder that a whole-community effort is required to ensure our neighbourhoods remain safe.

Madame President, too often in our busy, everyday lives, our reaction to word of another shooting incident is to call for stronger enforcement or harsher penalties under existing laws and in some cases even more laws. Since 2009, the Bermuda Police Service has led an effective enforcement effort to deal with guns, gangs, drugs and crimes of violence.

Their work has been supported by prosecutors who have taken the evidence gathered and fairly presented it to juries made up of ordinary men and women in this society. On conviction, the Courts have imposed sentences that reflect the prevailing view of the community regarding these kinds of crimes and their effect on our way of life. The criminal justice system has done its part.

Madame President, reflecting on these issues in his speech in Dallas recently, President Obama put his stamp on the state of play in the United States and in this regard his comments are equally applicable to Bermuda. He said, in part:

As a society, we choose to under-invest in decent schools. We allow poverty to fester so that entire neighborhoods offer no prospect for gainful employment. We refuse to fund drug treatment and mental health programs.

And then we tell the police, “You’re a social worker; you’re the parent; you’re the teacher; you’re the drug counselor.” We tell them to keep those neighborhoods in check at all costs and do so without causing any political blowback or inconvenience; don’t make a mistake that might disturb our own peace of mind. And then we feign surprise when periodically the tensions boil over.

We know those things to be true. They’ve been true for a long time. We know it. ….These things we know to be true. And if we cannot even talk about these things, if we cannot talk honestly and openly, not just in the comfort of our own circles, but with those who look different than us or bring a different perspective, then we will never break this dangerous cycle.

Madame President, I borrow from President Obama’s words because his analysis about what we demand from the Police is speaking to us. We cannot continue to approach these issues as if the solution is somehow wrapped up in providing more police officers; inventing new laws to make firearms doubly illegal; or applying sentences so harsh they bear no proportionality to the crime or the fact that we need every citizen engaged and working in this community.

The law enforcement part of this equation is at its peak and will continue to be maintained as operationally required and fiscally possible. The Bermuda Police Service can be counted on to do its part and do it well and the Government of Bermuda will continue to support their efforts by devoting the resources required.

Madame President, the new phase of public engagement on these issues must deal with the “why” and in so doing start a march towards “never again”. Gun crime and anti-social behavior are the symptoms of wider issues that have clearly not been satisfactorily addressed. There are too many common factors that surround gangs and guns for this to be a string of coincidences.

But rather than add to the indictment of our Island’s troubled past, these facts should be the fuel we use to power us to solutions for the future. We know to whom services must be directed to help those in need.

We know the volatile mix of socio-economic factors that drive a small, but significant group of our citizens to choose the gang lifestyle. We also know the anger, frustration and inequalities that have caused people to question the commitment of their government to their success.

It is for these reasons, Madame President, that the Government has committed its support to initiatives like GREAT in our schools and team Street Safe in our neighbourhoods. Neither is an enforcement initiative. Both expose their target populations to the positive side of law enforcement and promote a means by which to either avoid or depart from the gang lifestyle.

Madame President, the answers are jobs, economic security, a quality of life and an outlook on life that promotes equality of opportunity. This Government is working to build the capacity for success in people who society might have left behind or who have found it harder to get ahead.

We are determined to invest in people so that they do not feel compelled to leave Bermuda except for education and experience. Home should be where they contribute their talent and time, not where they return just to visit friends and family.

Madame President, to those in the demographic that has never stood at the casket of a young man shot in his 20s; to those who don’t recognize the names of the roads where shootings have occurred; to those who demand more of the police without recognizing just what the Police do every day; this is your problem too. But I know you know that. How do you help? Invest. Treat this like any other issue you would resolve in business, your family or in your organizations. Invest.

Every person hired is one less person wondering how to explain to a child why there’s no breakfast. Every dollar invested in a community club is a brick in the wall that builds up programmes promoting positive lifestyle choices.

Every pro bono hour of mentoring or community engagement is a means by which to tear down the imagery of two Bermudas, one unconcerned about the other. Every effort must be made to transform our society into one where no group feels left out or ignored. We cannot pull against each other, failing to appreciate our history, our present and our desires for the future.

Madame President, the challenge for Bermuda is not to see if we can arrest or incarcerate this problem away, but if we can break the cycle which has led to what we now experience. I am confident that we can do so and it starts with honesty in our discussions and a willingness to work together, irrespective of our divided past, in pursuit of a brighter future.

Thank you.

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Comments (73)

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  1. #Let'sGetEm says:

    I say bring back Operation Clean Sweep. Swoop down on those wanna be gangsters. Pick them all up. They are visible. They are always hanging on some street corner. Scoop them up drop them in Iraq let them shoot themselves out of there.

    • flikel says:

      If I recall correctly, Operation Clean Sweep also identified several alleged key players in the drug trade, who were well positioned in the upper echelons of business, politics and society….one of the main reasons why the Commissioner was sent packing back to England.

      Be careful what you wish for.

      • FYI says:

        Hence, is the problem….expose “the upper echelons of business, politics, and society”!!!! It is that kind of evil that will continue to contribute to the demise of our people.

    • JAWS says:

      I understand that the Premier is speaking tonight making more promise to the voters BLAH BLAH BLAH. I used to believe mate but I don’t anymore oba.

      I personally believe Politians should consider STFU over the Cup Match Holiday and let the people breath from all the BULL S – -T they promise. It’s a long holiday week and honestly Bermudians don’t care. Now pass the swizzle, weed & see you at Crown&Anchor.

      • Mike says:

        Probably the most sensible thing I have heard all day.

      • Point boy says:

        If you think the politicians are the the problem.!?

        You’re a fool!

        Maybe check the man in the mirror first. I’m so sick and tired of hearing the BS!

        • frank says:

          clean sweep has already been done dust off the files
          like how many black man have a spare $1000000

    • Ed says:

      You sound like a Trump!!!!!!

    • What a crude response.
      Let the initiatives be implemented in ALL schools.
      There are students who come from dysfunctional families.G.R.E.A.T.could work.
      Jeff, what about the “meat” of the problem…especially when youngsters exhibit unusual, violent, destructive behaviours VERY EARLY in their lives….long before the child is 5?
      That is the core of the social difficulties island wide.
      What more monies would your government, Jeff, be prepared to fork-out to minimize and ultimately stamp out severe social ills, at an early age in a child’s life?
      Also wondering how your plan could TRULY work, with your government repeatedly throwing out early retirement packages to veteran educators.

      • Davie Kerr says:

        “what about the “meat” of the problem…especially when youngsters exhibit unusual, violent, destructive behaviours VERY EARLY in their lives….long before the child is 5?”
        I would say that that’s primarily down to bad parenting. It’s not the fault of the schools: it’s not the fault of the Police: and it’s not the fault of Social Services. I think it’s the fault of irresponsible people becoming parents and then abrogating their responsibilities. A baby is not like a Barbie doll which you get for Christmas, play with for two hours, and then chuck into a closet for the next six months: a baby is a living breathing human being, and it’s now YOUR responsibility 24/7/365 for the next 18 years. Think about that BEFORE you decide to have unprotected sex.
        And, to all the absentee fathers out there who think that it’s a fun thing to do to get girls pregnant and then take virtually no part in bringing up the child, that child is 50% yours, so you better put at least 50% into raising it. To quote a plaque I saw recently, “Any male can be a father: it takes a REAL man to be a dad.”

    • People are a product of their environment, and de environment that Blacks have exsperienced (some self inflicted) in de History of white supremecy is de same worldwide.
      Privileged citizens wont understand.
      What a F!@#ing Joke

    • @#LetsGetEm, Did you forget that when Coxsell? (de head of Clean Sweep) was getting too close to …………. they sent him packing.
      LMFAO

      • Its me again says:

        And all that would do is free up the streets for a new set of gangsters

    • Hurricane says:

      @ Let’sGetEm, Stop looking for other countries to solve Bermuda’s problem. And, Operation Clean Sweep will start up again soon, we’re coming up on an election.

  2. Reading these comments by the minister is very inspiring but I will not be fooled by ignorance. Mr. Baron I honestly feel you bring a breathe of fresh air to this ministry, unlike the last minister before you who happens to be the Premier.

    Mr. Baron before you can truly appreciate the depth of your own comments, you must be willing to deal with the most undesirables within our community and those who are connected to them from other jurisdictions and regions outside our beloved country, for to long we look at the blood shed upon our streets and those caught doing the gun violence.

    We need to appreciate that the police are doing the best with what they have and every successful case is a good thing, but even the police have their hands tied when it comes to those who are among us who worked their way up the ladder to becoming Bermuda’s untouchables.

    This is why we always see young black males before our court system and being charged with everything from gun crimes to drug importation, but very rarely do we see our counter parts of the white community in court, or even being arrested for the same acts, this we know is a fact, and every so many years we have heard of the one or two who have been arrested on sailing vessel of some form of marine craft upon the seas, coming to Bermuda or passing Bermuda.

    Bermuda’s net drug trade was thought to have been in the small margin of around 25 million back a century or so ago, according to a article in the then Bermuda Sun, and a story being told by a former top cop who went to reside in Florida but is now back home living in Bermuda, I would advise you go speak to him directly, as he did once have his hand on the pulse of the community, and my trust in him is very clear, as he is a God fearing man and a preacher of the gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    My aim at responding to this article Mr. Baron is to also remind you of our own conversation that we had many several years ago on the same topic and this was prior to you being a junior minister or a minister at all, and now that you are in the hot seat, maybe you want to stop looking at the bottom of the barrel at those who are spilling blood on the street, long enough to consider those who rub shoulders with some of your very own colleagues within your circles.

    I chose my words carefully and seek advise from my legal counsel long before I can boldly take or make a stand such as this, but stand flat footed on my convictions. Bermuda has suffered much hardship and pain at careless individuals, who have no regard for life, but I am equally as pissed at those who fund this dirty trade and each day sit in a life of comfort and watch as things unfold in the streets, that never touch their nest egg or their comfortable life style of living.

    To help continuing to fund and finance this madness, is no different then the small pusher who gets his hand on one of the guns that gets shipped in, or a level of the drug supply that comes in by the boat load, while small pushers are still doing there independent importation, many wont take such a bold stand to stand against the untouchables, but my level of fear has long left me. I don’t men and what they think they can do, I fear God only for what i know He can do.

    In closing, please sir to continue to make our streets safe for all, but do concentrate more on those that have real power, and maybe you may find more then Mr. Colin Coxall did before he was kicked out of Bermuda, but a word of warning also, if you just happen to put it all together, please don’d become surprised when they ask for you to be booted out of your position.

    Remember Mike’s little chant when he was in the opposition, and I quote “WHEN WE GET IN OFFICE, I CAN PERSONALLY ASSURE YOU, THAT I PERSONALLY WILL GUARANTEE YOU THAT WE WILL ERADICATE GUN VIOLENCE IN OUR STREETS.” end of quote, and I guess he did quite the job because his time in office as the National security minister only proved just the opposite.

    • Zevon says:

      Last paragraph is a big freakin lie.
      As always, you are a liar.

  3. 2 Bermudas Jeff says:

    Get ready Bermuda from now to the next election December 2017 we will witness more political crap from the OBA & PLP. At the end of the day the voters on both sides know who their voting for.

    Sad to say but one side of the community will vote OBA and one side will vote PLP, race has much to do with it.

    The only true SWING, FLIP FLOP Voters are Black Bermudians that make up 20%. They alone decide who wins every election, since most White Bermudians only vote UBP or OBA.

    • Onion Juice says:

      lets just hope they don’t forget what happened to our country in 14 years…

      • Lets just hope they dont forget whats happening NOW…..

        • Onion Juice says:

          did you see the economic report… nothing but growth and job creation and slow overall recovery… only negative things happening brought on by opposition to engorgement policies and civil strife…

        • Kangoocar says:

          You had it correct the first time!!!! ” let’s just hope they don’t forget what happened to our country in 14 yrs ” YOUR WORDS!!!!!

      • mixitup says:

        Or forget what injustices occurred and are still occurring from decades before…

        • Kangoocar says:

          Are you referring to the injustices of decades before leading right up to 1998? You know, those pesky injustices that the UBP had ALL Bermudians employed and if they wanted to work more than one job they could easily find a second job? Yeah, who would ever want those days again?

    • Point boy says:

      I vote OBA. And it ain’t got a damn thing to do with race.

      I simply can’t stand the fact that the plp put us in crippling debt.

      And have the balls to now say they now best.

      • Point boy says:

        Know

        • Um voting P.L.P. because U.B.P. have shown that they have shown that they dont have de best interest for Black Bermudians.
          Yes and I said it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Zevon says:

            All Bermudians do better when the country isn’t crippled in debt.
            The plp way would have us with 25% unemployment, like in Greece.

          • Jus' Wonderin' says:

            What did the PLP/UBP do for you and us Bermudians…honestly?

          • Build a Better Bermuda says:

            That is because they are looking out for all Bermudians, irregardless of race, and at least half are doing so irregardless of religion or sexual orientation. And contrary to what the nationalist of this country try to propagate, being for foreigners here is not anti-Bermudian, it is in fact very much pro-Bermudian, because if you haven’t learned that from the PLP failures that have lead us to the hard times we are just starting to claw ourselves back from, then you have no real desire to learn anything about what actually works for Bermuda and Bermudians. You also only need to look at how this government has made it easier and been more prolific at tackling work permit and immigration violators to see just how much more they have done than the PLP ever did. If we ever really want to truly be full owners of our future, then first and foremost we need to make a concerted effort to retool ourselves and our children to the IB sector, and drop the nationalistic attitude of entitlement. It will never create a Bermuda for Bermudians, unless your definition of Bermudian is someone who cannot afford to live in their own country, because that is where it has lead us to now.

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        Need only listen to them now and know that with them as government again, they would do it again. Their promise is to once again engage in over inflated public spending with no real vision on how to increase returns. We are already reeling from an under financed government, their short term gain will only increase the long term pain on all Bermudians, but most particularly the least well off. Schools are suffering from under financing from their last go, another round and the schools will be suffering from no financing when overseas creditors stop loaning to us. I least of all cannot trust a shadow finance minister who to date is still unwilling to define actual contractual valuation through the very simple and most basic financial process of removing expenditures from revenues.

  4. sage says:

    Blah, blah, blah. End the war on some drugs if you want change.

  5. Terry says:

    The Wizard of Oz.
    Shalom.

    • Charlie says:

      Yup – any excuse to don the cape and save the day.

  6. question????? says:

    Wait a sec did Jeff even win his Constituency #21 or is he another FahyFahy selected by the Dunky:)

    Mr. Kenneth Bascome the St. Geo MP always wins his area for the OBA, one would think the Premier would offer him the position as a Minister of a profile. He recently appointed him as Junior Minister but everyone knows that’s not the same. Some people don’t realize when their being used.

    • The premier would never and can not afford to put Mr. Kenny Bascome into any ministerial portfolio, neither can any future Premier of the O.B.A, simply because Kenny may be in the O.B.A, but the O.B.A will never be into him.

      Mr. Bascome is a Bermudian first and foremost, a true St. Georgian second and a black man through and through, so his deep rooted commitment to country, constituents and his race is to much of a serious threat to the O.B.A as we know it.

      Kenny thought by him joining those whose forefathers exploited his very own family, that he could cross the floor and make a difference on behalf of his people, sadly to say it will not and has never been the case for anyone who left any other political affiliate to go over to the U.P.B / O.B.A

      • Point boy says:

        He’s not plp! So what does that tell you. Idiot

      • Build a Better Bermuda says:

        You’ve just successfully described the PLP mantra, party first, country second, and as such we’ve seen them exploit the black community far more than they have been able to elevate it. They may project themselves as the party for Bermuda’s black community, but their record shows that they are not what’s best for Bermuda’s black community.

    • Double S says:

      Does that mean Glen Smith and Jeff Sousa are being used as well?

      Especially since neither of them even have a Junior Minister portfolio?

      Or does that not fit the narrative?

      • Eyes wide open says:

        Those 2 smile in your face Bies recently step up to the political stage. Bascome has been a MP for more years then the entire UBP/OBA cabinet put together with glue and shoe strings.

        My people are not dumb we see he is being used as a puppet to win St.Geo for the man. He should cross the floor and forget every promise made to him.

      • To DOUBLE $:
        Does your comment mean that you endorse foolishness?
        If it isn’t foolishness, then what?

    • Toleratate says:

      so what…. most vote MP’s (not referring to Mr.Bascome) half the time on who they are and not their smarts… that’s just how people vote in Bermuda (not saying it’s right but it’s FACTS)…..so if the Government has a resource at their disposal better qualified in a particular area should they not use them…. did you read the message before shooting the messenger… The OBA is not the first Party to use Senators as opposed to MP’s for certain Ministries….short memory….so he not qualified because he did not win a Consituency…. that’s the question????
      SMH

    • VS says:

      Jeff Baron is a Senator. All Senators are appointed by their respective leaders. Few, if anyone, have Mr. Baron’s expertise in the field. It is very useful to have relevant background in a Minister for his portfolio.

      Mr. Bascome is not a capable candidate as a Minister. Nice enough guy and seems very genuine, but based on his performance I’ve seen and heard he’d be well out of his depth for that responsibility.

  7. William F.G Bird says:

    Why does this guy always remind me of Steve McGarrett (Jack Lord, the Original Hawaii 5’0)?

  8. As the U.B.P./oba enters its 4th year in power, they are NOW attempting to come up with ideas as to how to quell the violence in this small country.
    Where were they all along?
    Hhmmm….election is approaching.Could this be “brownie points”?
    Rather late, I’d say.

    • smh says:

      Err…where have you been all this time. Let’s hear YOUR solutions and don’t say it’s Government’s problem. This is going to keep happening until people stop selling drugs and people who are benefiting from the proceeds keep turning a blind eye. Sad but true

      • sage says:

        Yeah, people gonna stop selling drugs any time now. Guess why people don’t settle scores over the most deadly drugs with guns? Those drugs are legal, prices are lower and producers, dealers and retailers have legal protection and recourse to settle disputes within the law. Make them illegal, a “black market” will result, limiting supply, increasing demand, driving profits sky high. The guns will start blazing and the criminal justice system will create a profitable revolving door system to deal with all the “criminals”.

      • TO smh:
        WONDER IF BERMUDIANS ALL NEED TO SHAKE THEIR HEADS ON YOUR COMMENT?
        What has this current government done for its own Bermudians?
        Err…NOTHING!! Absolutely NOTHING!!
        Err: U.B.P./oba lack interpersonal skills and the necessary plans and strategies to make a difference in Bermudians’ lives.
        If they did, it would have happened as soon as they went into power.
        Could they have had a wrong agenda??

        YES!! YES!!YES!!
        Their agenda will always against BERMUDIANS.

        • JD says:

          2015: Murders – 4, Gun related deaths – 1, gun related injuries – 5

          2011: Murders – 8, Gun related deaths – 5, gun related injuries – 11

          2015: All criminal offences – 3750
          2011: All criminal offences – 4371

        • Point boy says:

          What have you done?? So stupid. The Government is trying it’s best, (to give Bermuda a good name)!

          Then there’s a few who are hell bent on ruining it.

        • Build a Better Bermuda says:

          Since it was the PLP who’s policies set us on the path to record unemployment and it was OBA policies that has all but ended that decline and once again increasing the employment in the one sector that provides employment into almost every other sector of our economy… who’s policies are the most anti-bermudian??

    • VS says:

      They’ve been sayin this all this time…. nothing new.

  9. Wow says:

    What would he know about that cycle? Nothing but talk. Blah blah blah.

  10. Grizz says:

    All this talk about anticipated Cup Match drama; Hmmmmm, the ‘scandalous sex scene’ from last year, has all but disappeared! Interesting….guess “they” will be well behaved this year!

    • smh says:

      Grizz: It never ceases to amaze me how small minded and hateful some can truly be. Their fear and hatred of others makes them see conspiracies against them at every turn. What a sad and pathetic way to live

      • Grizz says:

        @smh I am not sure to whom you are referring, so I will reserve comment on YOUR opinion. But I can tell you that people are quick to dismiss conspiracy when they don’t know facts and are driven by emotions instead.

  11. Average Bermudian says:

    fey ??

    ??

    Baron has never had a clue – what a failure

    - window dressing

  12. Oh,I see now says:

    Baron you’re not a bad dude and like any fresh politician you have good intentions but you will eventually toe the party line.Along with paying off political debts you have a lot of sleepless soul searching days ahead of you my boy good luck.

  13. watching says:

    So Baron has just all of a sudden become aware of all of this? This is nothing but political rhetoric.
    I am disappointed in him.
    He is clearly being primed for the future and unfortunately has learned from the current leader in how to pose for photo opps and how to put out wordy statements that say nothing.

  14. drunken ursula says:

    here we go again…tell your tale at the country club

  15. the truth will set you free says:

    Jeff Baron a wolf in sheep’clothing. Scripture states.

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