Sense of urgency needed to get action to stop murders – charity
Residents cannot rely only on the Government to stop violence that claimed the lives of two young men in two days, a charity said this morning.
A spokeswoman for Transitional Community Services added that “a sense of urgency” that moved people to action was needed.
Her comments came after the fatal shooting of a 24-year-old man at Warwick Workmen’s Club last night and the murder of Laje Franklin, 18, who was shot dead near Clearwater Beach in St David’s on Tuesday.
The TCS spokeswoman said: “We are saddened to hear of the recent murders in our community. We think of the family and friends of the victims.
“Our community needs healing and solutions and we cannot rely solely on the Government for these solutions.
“If we are to stem the tide of the violence in our community, it will require a collaborative approach, including all invested stakeholders.”
She added: “As a community we cannot continue the cycle of merely being alarmed in the moment.
“We must have a sense of urgency that compels us to action as these acts of violence threaten the quality of life for everyone in our community.
“At TCS we continue to work with young adult men 18 to 34 and encourage any young man who is seeking support to reach out to us.”
Police inquiries continued today into the two incidents.
Officers were called to the Warwick community club following reports of “multiple gunshots” just after 8.30pm yesterday.
An Easter event that involved about 100 children and their families had been held there between 4pm and 8pm.
Michael Dunkley, the shadow national security minister, said this morning: “On behalf of the One Bermuda Alliance, I would like to extend my condolences to the family of the young man who tragically lost his life last night.
“Bermuda is in a crisis and it behoves no one if we continue to remain in denial.
“Young people are not valuing life and sadly, it is undeniable that young, Black males are being lost – whether it be as victims or perpetrators.
“I am not saying this to be alarmist, but we cannot ignore reality.
“The question remains, where do we go from here?”
He added: “The community has marched, prayed, created social-media posts and even extricated their children from the island, but the fact remains that these heinous crimes continue.
“It’s time for each of us to look inward, examine what’s going on inside our homes, and in our streets.
“Turning a blind eye and thinking that crimes like this won’t happen in your backyard can no longer work.
“It doesn’t matter what economic class one is in, we have seen over the last 12 years that when shooters want to hurt, they will.”
Mr Dunkley said that Michael Weeks, who was appointed Minister of National Security on Monday, had “a very challenging journey ahead of him”.
He added: “As always, I am willing to work collaboratively with him in order to forge a new way forward to end this scourge that is overshadowing the true beauty of our island.”
The latest incident came as police continued to appeal for information about the killing of Mr Franklin, from St George’s, whose body was found near Clearwater Beach by a passer-by who was exercising at about 6.30am on Wednesday.
Douglas DeCouto, the OBA approved candidate for Constituency 25, Warwick North East and a senator, said: “Last night’s shooting murder at Warwick Workmen’s Club is a chilling and shocking event, especially as it comes just 48 hours after another young man has lost his life in the same manner.
“I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the deceased.
“As a resident in the community, this rocks me to the core. We are close knit and live peacefully.
“Whatever conflicts, beefs or disagreements exist, violence is not the answer.”
He added: “We urge anyone with relevant information to come forward.
“It may not be easy, but we have to send a message, as a community and as an island as a whole, that we don’t want to experience this again.
“No one deserves this.
“I hope that government will give the police the resources they need to tackle this problem and get to the bottom of it.
“We should accept nothing less than a full-court press by the Government in all the necessary areas to bring this tragic chapter to an end.”
The Royal Gazette has requested an interview with the national security minister.