MP Jeff Baron: ‘Talk About The Real Issues’

October 7, 2017 | 33 Comments

This past week we have “been engaged in debate about the appointment of Pastor Leroy Bean to lead gang violence reduction” and “made this issue about a name – a person” and “lost the chance to talk about the real issues,” Shadow Minister of National Security Jeff Baron said, adding that gang violence reduction “deserves our collective, total focus.”

Mr Baron said, “The indiscriminate shooting into a crowd at Rangers Club last night is horrifying. The toll each incident like this takes on our community is significant and long-lasting. My family and I pray for a speedy recovery for the victims and all of those affected.

“This past week Bermuda’s body politic has been engaged in debate about the appointment of Pastor Leroy Bean to lead gang violence reduction. We made this issue about a name – a person. We lost the chance to talk about the real issues. As someone who is called a ‘leader’ I regret that.

“What we should be talking about are these raw, undeniable facts:

  • “27% of Bermuda’s entire population, according to 2012 national survey, are black Bermudian males. However this demographic makes up 98% of all homicides over the last decade. It makes up 100% of firearms homicides.
  • “According to corrections housing sheets, June 2017, there were a total of 191 inmates in all corrections facilities island-wide. A total of 6 people were classified as Caucasian. Just six. Three of those six were foreign nationals. Put simply our prison system is populated with 191 people and only 3 of them are white Bermudians. Does this reflect criminal offending? Not even close.
  • “51 Young Black Males have been convicted and will serve significant time at behind bars. 25 young black males are now serving ‘Life’ sentences in correction, pushing the total of ‘Lifers’ to 33. For context there were 6 people serving life sentences in 1986. Many who are now serving life sentences were born after 1986. All young, black and male.
  • “According to a 2017 estimate by Immigration approximately 220 Bermudians have relocated to the U.K. Many, we know, left to avoid violence and gang tensions. Many of those are, again, young black males.
  • “And now, after last night, 130 people have been injured by hot bullets entering their bodies.

“Our reality? We are losing a demographic of our society. We’ve lost too many already. Instead of being a source for leadership and transformation politics has been road block,” Mr Baron continued.

“Its wrong to make gang violence about one person or one agency. Its right to talk about the reality of the raw data together. Ignoring it or not knowing it is not good enough.

“Its wrong to engage in sustained political feuds over government’s appointment when blood splashes our pavement. Its right to question, hold to account, and quickly move forward by supporting whoever serves this critical role.

“Gang violence reduction is not about a name or person – its not about Leroy, Chae, Wayne or Jeff. If we want to make violence about names consider these: Haile, Lorenzo, Prince, Rickai, Jahni, Fiqre, Joshua, Stefan, Kumi, Randy – and this heartbreaking list goes on.

“Whose names will be on the list next week, month or year? That, not anything else, deserves our collective, total focus from the body politic and from the community.”

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Comments (33)

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  1. wahoo says:

    All good points but again this is just another sound bite in the ongoing conversation. We know who is being affected and we all have ideas about how it should be dealt with I think Mr. Baron has a lot to offer and I hope that the plp govt. will make this issue a bipartisan one. Still do not agree with pastor Bean appointment but that is a done deal I guess.

    A long range plan may be to identify those at risk at an early age and get them away from the influence i.e. send them overseas to schools that can better influence them it would probably not cost much more than our public school anyway.

    Our culture has become toxic and the social media is a huge catalyst to that but we can not stop that phenomenon now perhaps though it can be reigned in and even (dare I say) monitored.

    Our politicians need to be better role models I know of at least two examples where gun violence has been mentioned as a form possible retaliation. That is sickening but what is worse is that there is no public outcry on the occasions that it has happened.

    I could rant on but OJ wants a turn.

    • After all this fluff, where was Jeffy when after we had our first double murder, his party had a caucus meeting a few days after that and it was’nt mentioned but the main topic was loud bikes (thanks Shawn).
      But showing us statistics that we already know about and quite frankly everywhere where there is a society that has been structured from injustice and racism, there will be a social ill backlash.
      We want to point fingers at the present issue but ignore past injustice that has been systematically engrained in our legal, economic and political DNA.
      But when you have a system that protects, shelters,benefits, supports and favours a certain group for centuries and despised, exploited, marginalized and suppressed another group for economic and social status, and you wonder why this world is so F!@#ed up?
      But no, we wont discuss that, that happened years ago so just get over it.

      • jammel says:

        Not to take away from the past injustices but I think you are making excuses for them. The past cannot be changed and the those in the demographic that realize it are moving ahead with their own lives there are plenty of examples of young black males doing well for themselves. We will always disagree but you have to realize that there is more to it than your summation, there is a culture problem and it is now everyone’s problem.

      • think says:

        ok so tell us what to do about it. we are all ears and we want the same outcome as you.

      • Zevon says:

        Suddenly you can type sentences. Who wrote this for you?

  2. Tania Stafford says:

    These are sobering statistics which put our reality into plain view, thank you for gathering them Mr. Baron.

    We need all of our elected persons and all members of our community to think how can I influence our young people for the better. Then we ALL need to take action in our own neighbourhoods.

    • rose glasses says:

      Tania, Why now put this out? Why not put this out when he was the Minister of Security? Panhandling but most won’t see it that way?

  3. Mad dog says:

    Tell the OBA Jeff???

  4. sage says:

    The ‘war on some drugs and some of the people who use them’, which is based upon ignorance and racism, is what created this mess.Those who support it shouldn’t be surprised. Baron and Bean combined can’t do squat, we left it to fester for far too long, behaviors and mindsets are firmly entrenched. Addressing the causes would be a step, not being so hypocritical would help too.

  5. Oh really says:

    Why would they put Bean back into the same position once again. He did absolutely nothing the last time. Oh yeah how can we forget Whites Island. Extremely disappointed he afforded another way of making money off us tax payers.

  6. FU says:

    “…not being so hypocritical would help too.”

    too bad you can’t see yourself in the mirror.

  7. Stevie says:

    Just imagine Rev Twit given job. Has Twit got status yet. Oh so quiet from PLP & BIU.

  8. Wassup says:

    Jeff: then surely there is a need not appoint someone with so much baggage That the real issue is drowned out?

  9. Mr. Baron has a very selective memory, was it not Mr. Baron who made a suggestion, when the O.B.A, was the Government. That he being in the role of the National security Minister would consider seeking help across the floor, from the P.L.P and namely Mr. Leroy Bean himself, and that he will contact Mr. Bean to come to his office to meet and discuss methods of tackling the gang violence.

    Well for the record from that day almost 2 years ago to this, Mr. Baron has never contacted Mr. Bean, let’s go a step further Mr. Baron, what about the group that wanted to sit and discuss with you the plight of gang violence, and they called your office and followed all protocols in trying to get a audience with you, but you never returned the called yourself, neither was there a return call from your administrative secretary who wrote down all the information.

    So why is this important, because the seriousness of the issue only became an issue for you , when the heat got to hot in the kitchen and you were required to make a public statement, you were no different from your predecessor Mr. Michael Dunkley, that is why when we had the double homicide at belvins in happy valley, he never once made it a issue to deal with it, not even in caucus, thank’s to the information left to us by the late Mr. Shawn Crockwell.

    Your statistics may be accurate, but your time as the National Security Minister, proved no different from the previous government ministers before you, as for your comments about a name, a name can make all the difference if you know what and who is behind that name, Mr. Leroy Bean has experience that far out runs anything you have learned while being the national security minister

    The Names, Nicky Cruz, Jesse Jackson, to name a few, fought a fight they once lived, but you were just a person who came in to make a difference, but could not because of the real plan of your government, who done everything to protect the interest of the elite, and put the real plight of the community on a indefinite hold.

    I can say a lot on this topic, but the real deal is, you and your government failed miserably in doing anything significant to deal with the war on drugs which ties in with the gang activity.

    So the Pink elephant in the room is who!

    • BAM says:

      I agree with a lot of what you said. However, can we not get away from the blame game? This is living in the problem. Every Bermudian needs to start living in the solution. What can we, as individuals do to help solve the problem.. Can we have a dialogue about solutions without the derogatory and insulting language? Even if we think the idea is stupid, instead of saying that perhaps we could say, “thanks for your idea, personally I cannot see that working because ……… Perhaps we need to talk more about it, put our heads together and hopefully we can come up with a different solution”. Don’t you think there would be a more positive response?

      • @ BAM, Thank’s for keeping it real, so I will do the same, he real deal is, Mr. Baron in his role as National security Minister, was no difference of that of Mr. Michael Dunkley. They both found out that the war on gangs and gun violence was greater then the young black males who were gunning down each other.

        The bigger picture is the White Elite’s who is fueling and funding the drug trade much greater then the entire amount of black’s who are on the bottom of the totem pole, but these statistics they wont release, just ask the former police commissioner, who the U.B.P got rid of in a heart beat, when he stumbled on correct information.

        I don’t make assumptions.

        • Double S says:

          You don’t make assumptions huh? Then where is your evidence about the ‘white elites fueling and funding the drug trade.?’

          Name names or you are just talking nonsense as usual.

  10. Tired of fake says:

    Another sound bite. Zero substance from this guy. MP Baron doesn’t even bother to turn up to the House of Assembly.

  11. Real Deal says:

    I would be interested in seeing a statistic of how many of the murder convicts went to Sunday school and church.

    you have the convicts study them get the data.

  12. Listen and watch says:

    ALSO THIS SCHOOL SYSTEM NEEDA HELP… WE NEED MORE OF BERMUDA STUDIES INSTEAD OF SOCIAL STUDIES.. HALF OF OUR YOUTH ONLY KNOW THAT THEY LIVE IN BERMUDA BUT NO HISTORY BEHIND IT… NO EFFORT IN FIXING OUR SCHOOLS.. AS A PARANT UNEMPLOYED O FIND IT UNFAIR THAT WE HAVE TO SUPPLY OUR SCHOOLS BECAUSE THE GOVERNMENT CANT (OR SHOULD I SAY WANT TO SPEND THE MONEY WHERE THEY WANT TOO).. me as a parant wpuld love to pull my daughter out of school.. but by law i cant i would get in trouble..

  13. JUNK YARD DOG says:

    ” Living in the past will never open your eyes to the brighter future.”

    “Sitting on the porch all you can see in the view”.

  14. Rich says:

    Jeff – yes, we need to talk about real issues, and I don’t think any one would disagree. However, we can talk about issues and raise questions about the appointment at the same time. We can walk and chew gum. And the OBA shouldn’t just bow down to every appointment made by the PLP, or to disregard the very real issues about someone like Leroy Bean. This is actually a ridiculous opinion piece that uses a lot of words without saying anything of substance.

    • Unbelievable says:

      He’s actually using facts…you know…statistics? How can that be of no substance?

  15. Jonathan Land Evans says:

    As I understand it, our police, prosecutorial authorities, criminal defence bar and criminal-law judiciary are mostly black, and this has been the case for many years now; yet Mr. Baron seems to be suggesting that, between them, they arrest, charge, prosecute, inadequately defend and ultimately jail black people very disproportionately and wrongly. The upshot of his remarks regarding the racial make-up of the prison population might be taken to be that he thinks that the authorities need to specifically target white people in order that the prisons better reflect the racial make-up of the general population. Mr. Baron calls himself a leader, but I can’t help but feel that panderer might be a better word, at least in this regard. If (perhaps a little counter-intuitively) he is suggesting that black police, black prosecutors and black judges know the black community too well and the white community too little, and are thus more likely to focus unduly on the wrongdoing of black members of the public, then the logical policy response would seem to be to hire more white police, white prosecutors and white judges, although I suspect that Mr. Baron would not find that a very comfortable position to adopt, politically.

  16. Realist says:

    To those attacking the messenger of the cold hard facts known as statistics.. know this, unless you start with the statistics (facts) you have no where to go. Until you get a grip on how many and who you are wandering in the dark. So get off the political pot shots and address where to start with those sobering statistics. Note, any PLP MP could have shared the same information as Jeff Baron….and the push back towards the individual, I’m sure, wouldn’t be an issue. Get over this pettiness and get on with the solutions!

  17. Unbelievable says:

    Jeff Baron knows his stuff.

    Onion Juice is full of angry fluff.

  18. Bermudian Patriot says:

    Bitta lil onion.

  19. Happy Kay says:

    Why can’t we stop being petty and let the Pastor do what he is taxed to do. Minister Baron you were correct in saying that we shouldn’t get caught up or sidetracked on who the person is or name but the real issue of black on black crime.

    Parents should not have to bury their child to gun violence. Parents want to see their children fulfill their journeys and take their rightful place in society, Until you have a black son that can’t travel to Hamilton because not that he is caught up, affiliated with a gang but merely where he resides.

    So stop this wasted and negative vibe and deal with the real issues at hand. We have to be our brother’s keepers and want the best for all citizens of this beautiful island.

    It is hoped and expected that both parties work together collaboratively with a shared vision of restoring peace for all!

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