Perinchief outlines six-point plan to fight gangs
National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief yesterday confirmed his intention to introduce anti-gang legislation to Bermuda a move supported by the United Bermuda Party.
Mr Perinchief floated the idea last year but was met with opposition from within his own ranks due to civil liberties concerns.
He has revived the idea in recent weeks, sparking criticism from the Opposition.
Following a statement in the House of Assembly yesterday in which Mr Perinchief outlined a six-point approach to fighting gangs, St George’s West MP Kim Swan asked if he still intended to introduce the legislation.
“Yes it is my intention to have specific anti-gang legislation brought back to Cabinet,” Mr Perinchief said.
“We [the UBP] support the Minister’s position on the introduction of anti-gang legislation and cite the presence of the gang culture as a serious social impediment in our society,” said Mr Swan immediately after the morning session of the House of Assembly.
“We continue to feel that only a coalition of law-abiding citizens in Bermuda, irrespective of their position political, business, social, religious, ethnic or otherwise will allow our country to adequately overcome the scourge of the gang culture and gang-related activity in Bermuda.
“In addition, we feel that the most vulnerable in our society, school age children, are easy prey for gangs and Bermuda needs legislation [like in other jurisdictions] to address coercion, intimidation etc, and other serious aspects of the gang culture.”
Mr Perinchief’s six-point programme includes stiffer sentencing for gang-related crimes, gang mediation, school intervention, case management, aggressive policing and partnering with local sports clubs.
One Bermuda Alliance MP Shawn Crockwell asked Mr Perinchief for an update on the Operation Ceasefire programme.
He explained that it was an umbrella name for a police drive programme that targets specific gang members and gang behaviour.
“They are told that their behaviour is going to bring either harsh or more palliative action depending on their response,” he said. “In other words, it’s a carrot and stick approach.”
The programme Operation Nightlight is also part of Operation Ceasefire and allows police and probation services work together to ensure that probation and parole orders are being complied. It is “alive and has been implemented”, Mr Perinchief stated.
Gang mediation was also a facet of Operation Ceasefire, he added.
“We are looking at a group which is already operating at that level in Bermuda in an ad hoc way, to regularise their activities. But we wish to use private enterprise to fund some of that activity.”
Asked when the programme overall will be up and running, the Minister said: “I would hope within a month.”
He also informed the House that he had had talks with potential funders and talked with Youth and Sports Minister Glenn Blakeney, who is responsible for the Mirrors programme which would have a role in intervention.
Someone had already been identified to do mediation, Mr Perinchief added.