‘Chronic social isolation fuelled violence’

  • Building trust: Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

    Building trust: Wayne Caines, the Minister of National Security (File photograph by Blaire Simmons)

“Chronic social isolation” contributed to a surge in violence over the National Heroes Day weekend, according to Wayne Caines, the national security minister.

But Mr Caines told the House of Assembly: “Bringing harm to others and instilling fear in the public will not be accepted in Bermuda under any circumstance.”

Mr Caines said some would “question the efficacy” of the Gang Violence Reduction Team, which he said was working “around the clock”.

He added: “We are seeing results through our various programmes and initiatives.”

MPs heard on Friday that the team’s co-ordinated crisis response unit was deployed to the hospital several times over National Heroes Weekend, and sent to houses to support families.

The Gang Violence Reduction Team continued visiting at-risk neighbourhoods during shelter-in-place, building “trust-based relationships” to reduce tensions.

Mr Caines said the closure of schools and the impending summer holiday had led to a “surge in young people milling around”, with multiple chain snatchings and “robberies among youth”.

The Gang Violence Reduction Team was “very hard at work” leading a multi-agency effort to reduce violence before the pandemic, he said.

The team was working with the two government senior schools, visiting both daily to help students, but the Gang Resistance Education Programme was rotating through six primary and middle schools.

“Several hundred of our young people were able to complete the Great programme before the pandemic,” he added.

Redemption Farm worked with ten young men over 28 weeks, and the Great team is working with trainees to see them transition into education and employment opportunities.

Mr Caines implored the public to collectively support the Gang Violence Reduction Team, adding: “As a community, we know these young men.”

He also announced winners of the 2020 Live Love Life anti-violence art competition in partnership with the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art.

Austin Dowling’s work, He Will Rescue Them won the overall prize of $2,000.

Other winners were Keino Lambert, for Best Traditional Painting; Je-Shae Pace, for Best Mixed Media piece; and Legend Stevenson, for Best Digital piece.

Best Student 16 and Under was won by Kelsey DeSilva, of Mount St Agnes Academy, and Best Student 12 and Under was won by Eshe Holdipp-Lynch, of West Pembroke School.

Alshante Foggo took home the People’s Choice award for her piece, I Trigger Love.

To read the Wayne Caines’s statement in full, click on the PDF link under “Related Media”

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Published Jun 22, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jun 22, 2020 at 8:02 am)

‘Chronic social isolation fuelled violence’

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