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Former premiers join call for gang violence ‘armistice’

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Former premiers Sir John Swan and Alex Scott

Two former premiers have signed a letter calling for an "armistice“ to gang violence in Bermuda.

The agreement was signed by 11 signatories including Sir John Swan and Alex Scott on Armistice Day – November 11.

All 11 encouraged the general public to support a “general armistice” which includes “an armistice on the current violent conflict of local gang members.”

The general agreement calls for a global armistice on the “war on the planet with specified steps towards whole-system renewable energy”.

It calls for an armistice on the “war on drugs”, rather encouraging more “transformative” options such as those deployed in Portugal where many drugs have been decriminalised.

A spokesman for the group said: “In Bermuda, for several decades we have conducted a ‘War on Drugs’ to address what is ostensibly a health matter.”

The general armistice also encourages a collaborative approach to political discourse as well as a community initiative to encourage wellbeing.

The spokesman added: “We, the undersigned, join in highlighting the observance of Armistice Day on November 11 – the culmination of the First World War, in 1918 – ‘The war to end all wars’.

“Our intention is to go beyond ‘Remembrance’, which honours the millions of lives lost; to explore the possibilities of ensuring those sacrifices were not in vain.”

The spokesman said that it is the “war approach” to some social issues that pose a problem.

Arlene Brock

He added: “This aspect of culture – or lack there of – dominates key aspects of our lives so that social engagement is hyper-competitive rather than collaborative, thus undermining our ability to address challenges and promote sustainable communities.

“Given the significant crossroads that we face globally – as reflected by the pandemic and the revelations at COP26 [UK climate conference], regarding the existential threats of the climate emergency; as we observe ‘Remembrance’, we encourage everyone’s support for a general armistice.“

The other signatories are: Michael Ashton, former counsellor and guesthouse operator, Carol Ashton, guesthouse operator, Arlene Brock, former Ombudsman of Bermuda; Tulani Bulford, activist and budding entrepreneur; Elizabeth DeJean-Saunders, former school counsellor; Glenn Fubler, activist; Dianna Kempe, former barrister; Lynn Millett, former Bermuda Industrial Union chief shop steward; and Cordell Riley, acting chairman of race relations group CURB.

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Published November 15, 2021 at 7:47 am (Updated November 15, 2021 at 10:53 am)

Former premiers join call for gang violence ‘armistice’

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