Family Centre Director: ‘Must Unite With Urgency’

January 26, 2013

Noting that Bermudians unite and prepare for hurricanes, Executive Director of The Family Centre Martha Dismont said we “must unite with the same urgency to face the hurricane of violence that we are seeing…”

The last month has seen at least four firearm incidents, resulting in three young men being killed and one being injured.

20-year-old Malcolm Augustus was shot and killed on Christmas Day, a man and a dog were shot in Warwick on Jan. 16, and Haile Outerbridge and Ricco Furbert were murdered at Belvin’s on Jan. 23.

Ms Dismont said: “Family Centre extends its deepest sympathy to the families involved in these latest tragedies.We work with families everyday who have experienced some level of trauma, or untoward event in their lives.

“We are no strangers to these occurrences; however, it doesn’t make it any easier to do this work. The increase in these occurrences tells us that there truly is a sense of urgency to unveil what has caused so much pain on this island. When we stop the ‘hurting’, the violence will stop.”

She further commented, “We know that we cannot throw money at this situation, nor pretend that it will go away tomorrow. If we heard that a powerful hurricane was about to hit our island, we would prepare. We would ignore the barriers that separate us and come together. We would work together to prepare for, and battle the storm as one.

“We must unite with the same urgency to face the hurricane of violence that we are seeing again swell throughout the community of our disenfranchised community. Unfortunately, we are reaping what has been sown over many decades.

“There is no short cut to nurturing young people as they grow. We must double or triple the investment of our time, support, and care for this generation of young ones, and for anyone who is feeling left out if we want to reverse this pattern of pain.”

She continued: “The thing that protects children from destructive influences like drugs, crime, gangs, and violence is love and the positive attention of nurturing adults in their lives.

“When these are lacking, they gamble it all because they believe they have nothing to lose. When a young person values the meaningful relationships that they have with family, teachers and neighbors, they have something priceless to lose and they will protect it fiercely. Are we ready, as a community to, again, consider these immediate steps?

1. Prove that we care about young people and their nurturance by focusing our energy, dollars and resources on collaborative, genuine youth initiatives and interventions

2. Find out what families and individuals need to take better care of their children and invest in efforts to provide that support to them. We are void of a proper social safety net in this community, and we need to find a way to invest in ensuring that no one is truly left behind.

3. Fix the systems in the community that are contributing to low self esteem, and disconnection with society so that we are not providing resources on one end and tearing down those supportive structures in another environment, i.e. schools, employers and businesses, organizations that are set up to help and turn out to be at best, judgmental, programmes that do more damage than good.

4. Allow Bermudian resources and assets to be the answer to our challenges, rather than the challenge itself.

She concluded by saying; “In our Island home, the difference between those children who do well and those children who do not is usually determined by the amount of sincere care, time, and relationship that they have at home and with family.

“This is the anchor that they rely on as they make choices in school, with friends, and then as they branch out into the community and onto the roads as young adults.

“Our message is that all solutions to our social problems must start with compassion for the unmet needs of our young and the adults around them. This is a responsibility that each of us must consider and then dig deep to practice.”

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Comments (11)

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  1. watcher says:

    The Family center run some amazing programs for kids, particularly in NE Hamilton with their homework academy and rugby program at Dellwood and the program they do with at risk kids and the police but where are the parents and family members? why are these programs being supported more by police officers and expats than the family of these kids. We need to take more of an interest in our children’s studies and engage them in positive activities.

    • Moonbeam says:

      Unfortunately, for these perpetrators, the family may be ‘the root of all evil’!

  2. Thief says:

    Asking for Unity is asking for the impossible. Unity and friendship among bermudians is a thing of the past. We are simply not such friendy people after the past 6 years. Increased tolerance may be possible.

    • Think What You Want... says:

      @Thief….u are absolutely right. Bermuda is in trouble and soon there will be no tourists at all unless Bermuda advertises accommodations such as Sandals, which is all inclusive, no need to leave the confines of the resort. Some things in life have been so badly wound that after sometime it seems as though it an never be undone.
      Unity unfortunately, is a message that will not have reached the young Bermudian males until things have really gotten out of hand, and maybe not even then…..

  3. bermuda boy says:

    Bermuda’s problem is, we think everything can be fixed with prayers. I say yes prayers are important but discipline is just as important. Collect the gang members, the BPS know who they are and make them feel uncomfortable, maybe they will get tired of the hassle, who knows.

  4. BDAGIRL says:

    bermuda boy i agree with you make them feel uncomfortable. I say bring in some troops from the UK and have them work long side our police officers. Go to these known GANGS homes break their doors down and round them all up. And if Momma and Granny get in the way sorry haul them in also. Make their lives a living hell for a couple of weeks with out sleep. We can all sit in our homes and pray but this is not getting the GANGS to stop.

  5. watchfuleyes says:

    I agree BDAGIRL, we have just sat back and watched it all go down without lifting a finger to stop it. The police should feel ashamed of themselves, a little place like this, they (the police) are the laughing stock. When I tell my overseas family and friends what is happening here they say what are the police doing? this should never have gotten this far.this is a war zone and the institution that is being paid to safe guard this island have failed miserable. They should all be fired and bring in a new batch that have not been corrupted by greed,indifference and laziness. But we need to ask ourselves why have the police not done their due diligence in these matters? why have the plolice not tried everything at their disposal to end these matters? why have the police not solved most of these cases? there could only be one answer and until everyone realizes what that answer is, nothing will get done because clearly we need to make that things happen ourselves. The police needed to have broken down some doors, rounded up the thugs, seized some of their ‘goods’,prevented them from traveling, make life difficult for them, harrass them like they do every other black male on this Island. Why has nothing been done? I tell you there can only be one answer. Come on Bermuda wake up and smell the coffee. Don’t you know that these guys know that the people in power don’t care about them, so they don’t care about each other? Genocide is being allowed to play out right in front of our eyes.

    • Watcher says:

      Most ridiculous diatribe I have read on Bernews in years! The police are drastically understaffed and overworked, it’s all very well saying they should be knocking down doors etc but without the appropriate evidence tis would just lead to cases being thrown out of court, they have been very successful in obtaining convictions in the last cople of years. Please explain to me why it is the polices fault that we have allowed our education system to churn out students woefully underprepared to take up a place in the workforce. How is it the polices fault that our work ethic has is disappeared, and we cannot hold down jobs due to poor time keeping and bad attitudes, why is it the polices fault that we as Bermudians refuse to have the intestinal fortitude and stand up and tell what we know, or worse allow our friends or family to be involved in this nonsense because financially we benefit from their criminal behavior. Or tell the world what great kids they were when everyone knows they were involved in the gang culture up to their neck.
      This isn’t the polices fault, it is our fault! And we’ll do we’llto recognize it and instead of pointing fingers with ridiculous conspiracy theories take one personal responsibility and do something about our issues.

  6. haha says:

    When Dr Brown asked to bring in members of a SWAT team over 5 years ago, the then Governor refused permission.

    Some may say that certain segments of the population wanted this unrest. One effective method to destroying confidence in a government is for there to be unrest and people to feel unsafe.

    So the new great hope appears and promises to stop the shootings. And the people follow this Pied Piper to the polls.

    And things are just as bad if not worse.

    Why? Because this isn’t a political problem. This is a social one. Stemming from decades of neglect in some aspects, spoiling in others. Some of these kids are a product of a system stacked against them. And some are a product of a system stacked for them. And they haven’t had to be accountable for anything.

    Its a long way to go, but we can get there IF we are serious.

  7. I Agree! says:

    @ Watcher, I agree! The police can only operate within the parameters of the law. I always shake my head when I hear the kick in doors, round up everybody line. The police cannot do that! People get that out of your heads once and for all! If the lawmakers change the law, then maybe they can, but as it stands they cannot just kick in doors like that. Ms Dismont has some points, but when it comes to resources and assets where can people turn? Agencies such as hers (while they do good) provide a band aid effect. Bermuda is not for the average person. From the early nineties, rents have doubled and tripled. Parents can barely put a roof over their children’s heads, much less feed and clothe them. People can say education all you want, but even with a good paying job it’s a struggle. Then you look at exempt company workers, who are paying 10G a month in rent, and have all sorts of perks and not a care in the world. I’m all for international businesses and the private sector thriving, but they are making billions off of us, how about they give back? As long as things remain ridiculously high in this country, you will have drug dealers and women (girlfriends, mothers, etc) who will go to great lengths to stick by them because it’s about survival!!! Until we get to the core of the matter, things will continue to spiral downwards. Make Bermuda the place for Bermudians, a place where we all can prosper and not just a select few. BTW I’m not making excuses, just keeping it real.