Ex-gang member to Police: ‘Bust them again and again ‘til they get the message’ – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Ex-gang member to Police: ‘Bust them again and again ‘til they get the message’

He used to hang with a “crew” on Curving Avenue, sell drugs and throw Molotov cocktails at the police for kicks.

But when he became a father eleven years ago Mr X left his old life behind. Now he has a job with one of Bermuda's top companies.

Moved to speak out after seeing a man convicted this week of the gangland murder of his childhood friend Kumi Harford, he said: “More power needs to be given to the police, or we're going to suffer long-term.”

The 33-year-old, who now has several children, asked that his name not be published due to concerns over his job and family.

But he told

The Royal Gazette the young men terrorising the streets these days have a completely different attitude to the one he and his friends had.

While he confesses he does not like or trust the police, he wants them to stage a major crackdown on the new generation before the murder rate spirals out of control.

“If they know who these gang members are then go do something about it. Do more stop and searches.

“There are roadblocks from 8am to 9am and 5pm to 6pm. But the guys doing these things aren't travelling down East Broadway at those times,” he said.

“These guys are out there every day. They have no jobs, but they've got the chains, the sneakers, the hats backwards.

“Do something! You know it's the result of drugs. Bust them. You will find something. If you don't, then bust them again and again ‘til they get the message. That's what has to be done. It's apparent what is being done is not enough.”

Mr X explained he and Mr Harford were not in the same “crew” growing up, but were good friends nonetheless.

“We used to ride pedal bikes and chase girls. He was a nice guy, very humble and down to earth. Everyone from town was friends. I could go sit up 42nd, Middletown, Court Street, Dandy Town, Mount Hill, we were all friends,” he recalled. “Now it's all out of whack.”

He said of his days on Curving Avenue: “We didn't call ourselves gangs but a crew of guys. We sold drugs. We hung out. We done bad. I stole bikes, threw cocktail bombs on Halloween at the police. Anything to be against the system.”

However, he explained: “On the birth of my son my life turned around. I felt ‘I can't do this any more. I have a child to look after'. I wanted my son to grow up to be better than me.”

Since then, the days of young men from different parts of town getting along have disappeared in a haze of violence. Gang warfare has seen 13 men, mainly members of the Pembroke-based 42nd Street and their rivals in the Parkside/ Middletown gang, shot dead, including Mr Harford.

“Five years ago everybody knew each other. Everyone was friends. I know this because I'm friends with all of them. I grew up with these guys in back of town and it drives me crazy,” said Mr X.

This week, he followed the news with disbelief as two young men who grew up as friends found themselves sent to Westgate for shooting guns on opposite sides of the gang divide.

Alvone Maybury of the 42 gang and Antonio Myers of the Middletown gang described themselves as “brothers” growing up.

But on Monday, Myers, 25, was convicted of murdering 30-year-old father Mr Harford, a member of the 42 gang, in a hail of bullets on St Monica's Road.

Maybury, 25, admitted plotting to shoot Raymond [Yankee] Rawlins, an associate of the Middletown and Parkside gangs, on Court Street.

Mr X said: “Alvone and Antonio were friends. They hate each other now and I still don't know why.”

He believes the gang violence escalated dramatically a few years ago from a relatively minor dispute, possibly over someone looking at someone else's woman.

Now, small slights, insults and altercations don't end with a punch-up; they end with a fatal shooting.

“If it's over a girl or ‘he threw a drink' or ‘he dissed my Momma' that's just an excuse to engage. It boils down to ‘we guys don't like those guys.' And then it turns into ‘your boy pushed me, let's go shoot him'. That's the mentality.”

It's something Mr X cannot understand.

“My generation, it all used to be about money. Now it's ‘who's scared of us?' It's not about money any more. It's a personal choice with these guys. They're all smart. They're not stupid guys. They grew up with both parents, parents with three houses, but they're out there selling drugs. Why?

“Some of them are in so deep they can't get out. They can't leave the house. Can't get a job,” he said.

“It's turning families against each other. It's so cold and callous. My heart goes out to all of them.”

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Published March 31, 2011 at 10:15 am (Updated March 31, 2011 at 10:14 am)

Ex-gang member to Police: ‘Bust them again and again ‘til they get the message’

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