Video: OBA On Plan For Uniformed Services

September 23, 2020 | 5 Comments

The One Bermuda Alliance [OBA] held a press conference yesterday [Sept 22], with candidates Ben Smith, Jarion Richardson, and Robin Tucker speaking about “our uniformed services and the OBA’s plans to continue to improve their circumstances.”

Ben Smith said, “Everyone and every group in Bermuda are worthy and together make our country the great place it is.

“However, especially in light of recent challenges, I am very honoured to speak, along with my colleagues, about our uniformed services and the OBA’s plans to continue to improve their circumstances – working environment, conditions of service – and strengthen government support to them across the board.

“The OBA salutes our uniformed services who carried the burden of battling the Covid-19 virus on the frontlines.

“In the last two weeks, many of our Uniformed Services again put themselves on the front line to help us through Paulette and Teddy.

“The OBA and people of Bermuda are eternally grateful for their service.

“In fact, too many of our uniformed agencies are being forced to operate under less than minimum standard conditions by a Burt administration that instead of correcting the horrible physical conditions many of our citizens, your fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters and friends are toiling under, wishes to bully them into open acceptance of what he wants.

“Well, we all know what the Burt administration wants is not what the uniformed agencies want. It might be good for David Burt but not good for Bermuda.

“We have seen how the current Government cut the police budget by $4.5 million and is threatening to force more cuts on the Bermuda Police Service.

“The Fire Service and Prison Officers are also facing enforced cuts. The Burt administration has publicly threatened lay-offs.

“The One Bermuda Alliance values our uniformed services – our nurses, Regiment soldiers, customs officers, police, prison officers and many more – and we will do right by them.

“My colleagues will also outline some aspects of our policies but today, I pledge that a One Bermuda Alliance Government will, among other things:

“Fully invest in our Uniformed Services by equipping them with modern technologies to better ensure safety and crime prevention, including body cameras for police officers, updated fire equipment and emergency ambulances.

“Address the serious facilities deficiencies at our prisons to ensure our prison officers work in a safe and healthy environment.

“Ensure our Uniformed Services are fully staffed, so that services are provided with reduced reliance on overtime pay and the promotion of well-being for those who give service to our Island.

“These measures will build on policies that were put into place by the previous One Bermuda Alliance Government.

“We:

  • Provided property and a start-up cash grant to support the Emperial Group’s mission of addressing the anti-social behaviour of some of our disenfranchised youth
  • Provided Cashback for Communities – $650,000 from proceeds of crime given to dozens of community groups across the Island
  • Stationed ambulances in the East and the West end for quick emergency response
  • Passed the Bribery Bill
  • Established mental health court
  • Introduced Team Street Safe, a gang mediation programme providing support and direction for people involved in, or susceptible to gang life
  • And introduced GREAT Anti-gang initiative courses

“It is clear that the OBA has been on the side of our Uniformed Services from its inception. And we will continue to provide better support to all of our dedicated uniformed workers, giving them the respect and dignity they deserve rather than the disrespect they have faced in the last few years under the PLP. The One Bermuda Alliance will do better.”

Jarion Richardson’s remarks:

Good Afternoon,

I have served proudly in the Police Service.

I have also been a soldier in the Royal Bermuda Regiment.

As a medic, I have also been also able to interact closely with people from a range of organisations.

I am therefore honoured to be part of this platform to speak about the OBA’s plans for the uniformed services and restorative justice.

It is clear from my experience that there is a need for a new approach to combating crime and dealing with its consequences.

It gives me enormous pleasure to be here now, talking about ways the One Bermuda Alliance intends to add a new front – Restorative Justice – to controlling crime and assisting all impacted to create a better, more functional society.

We need to strengthen our preventative measures, provide support mechanisms at all levels and ages and open the lines of communications.

To this end, the One Bermuda Alliance will implement a Restorative Justice Programme through a Department of Restorative Justice.

This would provide

  • conflict resolution between offenders following a violent incident
  • increased support for victims of crime
  • family conferencing, and pre and post sentence work
  • Expunging of certain offences from the records of young offenders for successful completion of community orders.
  • Magistrates’ Court guided community orders for certain non-violent offences for qualified offenders overseen by revamped Parish Councils with social worker assistance

Restorative justice tries to ensure that offenders take responsibility for what they have done and the harm it has caused to an individual or wider community.

By gaining that understanding, it is hoped they will not engage in repeat offending.

A restorative justice scheme also aims to help victims by providing the necessary support.

To run in tandem to this, the One Bermuda Alliance will also continue to improve upon the Alternatives to Incarceration scheme.

These exist for mental health and addiction related crime and are geared at giving people special support and treatment instead of punishment.

We believe that these measures, coupled with those outlined by my colleagues will significantly help to make Bermuda a better place.

I am proud to be a candidate in a party that is forward thinking in the approach to the overall area of crime fighting and prevention.

Robin Tucker’s remarks:

Good afternoon everyone

In his speech a few moments ago, my colleague, Ben Smith highlighted the necessity to care for the men and women who make up our Uniformed Services.

These often forgotten, dedicated public servants are relied upon to interact with people in varied states of crisis.

The physical, emotional, and mental toll that working in high stress environments has on our Uniformed Service members has implications for the service member, their loved ones, colleagues and the entire community.

I am an HR manager with 17 years’ experience working with people and helping them work through performance and sometimes personal, stressful issues.

My work experience together with my degree in Psychology helps me understand how important it is for people that are relied on to help others in crisis, get help for themselves.

The One Bermuda Alliance recognizes the need to support this often-overlooked group of dedicated professional men and women.

We will provide on-call mental health social workers to support uniformed services personnel in responding to non-criminal calls when there is a need for de-escalation or crisis assistance.

Far too often we hear about a lack of mental health support for those who are incarcerated.

A One Bermuda Alliance Government would work increase that support for those in our prisons.

We would also allow broader access to mental health court.

Currently only someone pre-diagnosed with a mental health problem has immediate access to that court. We would review this process.

In addition to giving direct support to our Uniformed Services, the One Bermuda Alliance understands the needs to get grassroots buy-in.

With that in mind, a One Bermuda Alliance Government will establish an annual ‘Summit for the Community’.

This will include our Uniformed Services, Educators, Social Workers, Parish Councillors, Clergy and Community Leaders to focus on and discuss the strengthening of community policing and relations.

We will build from the ground up, involving everyone as one community, to help fix the problems facing our society.

We will do better.

Thank you.

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Comments (5)

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  1. When The O.B.A gives us a platform that includes showing the Country how it intends to deal with the greatest blunder they have made in their history, that of The Airport Deal, and how they intend to rectify as best as possible, this grave error, Then and only then will the majority have time to listen to their voices, and until then, everything they have to offer or say is tarnished and considered as rhetoric.

    Please don’t mix apples with oranges and try to rebuttal what the P.L.P has done with the public purse, or what it is you claim their doing, The Economy is a major priority and so it is the World over, but blatant disregard for the entire Country and the effect that the airport deal has on us over the next 30 plus years, is beyond pathetic.

    Mr. Cannonier needs to be replaced, Mr. Michael Dunkley needs to retire from politics all together, and take a few of your colleagues when you go, that is the most respectful view I can give, there are many upcoming young persons that are willing to throw themselves into the political arena, but they need mentors that really have the future of Bermuda at heart, and not just being taught by people who are political slaves to the money changers in our Country, and benefitting themselves through “GREED”, and I say this across the board to all politicians.

    Serve the people of Bermuda with Transparency and Dignity and stop all the falsehoods and the arrogance and hypocrisy, almost sounds like I am asking you to become a saint, but for many we know it’s almost virtually impossible, because you have become god’s in your own eyes. Bermuda is evolving and we are on point with the rest of the World, but give us Leaders that mean good for the entire Country and for years and generations to come.

    • Picks says:

      Well said.
      Thank you.

    • Double S says:

      “The Economy is a major priority and so it is the World over, but blatant disregard for the entire Country and the effect that the airport deal has on us over the next 30 plus years, is beyond pathetic.’

      How do you feel about the approx. $1bn hospital WING (not even a whole damn hospital)?

    • truthertz says:

      “Please don’t mix apples with oranges and try to rebuttal what the P.L.P has done with the public purse, or what it is you claim their doing”

      Translated – don’t hold my beloved PLP to account for anything. Typical.

  2. Come Correct says:

    LOL as a uniformed OFFICER I can’t endorse this BULL $T the oba is trying to feed us. How can you expect us to listen to you when you have the so called JETGATE as leader!! You really want Bermudians to trust this man!!

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