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When is a negative a positive?

'Men get 40 years for footballer's murder', 'grandmother jailed for 12 years for conspiring to import drugs', 'footballer named kingpin of cocaine plot gets 15 years'.

And there were others in yesterday's

Royal Gazette — a litany of negative headlines.

There are, however, two issues that lie behind the headlines. The first is well catalogued — the story of the deterioration within society that has afflicted Bermuda for so many years now.

It is difficult to continue to believe that 'Bermuda is another world', when so many of its issues now mirror those of other countries.

The second, though, is much more positive: these were some great convictions with resulting sentences that must have, should have, sent a very clear message to criminals that they will be severely punished. To be given a 40 year sentence is unprecedented in Bermuda, and even hardened criminals must have taken note.

For all this there has to be much praise. The police and the Department of Public Prosecutions deserve plenty of credit. However, so do those people who are now obviously stepping up and helping detectives with their work.

If that is the case, it represents a considerable change in people's attitudes. Not so very long ago police were left frustrated that witnesses were not willing to come forward. Now that they apparently are, there should be even more successful prosecutions.

Clearly there is also an increasing intolerance for crime. If so, are we at a tipping point? Has the pendulum swung in favour of the police? A few headlines do not tell the entire story, of course, but hopefully this is the real start of the fightback.

Hopefully in the future, we will be able to say once again that 'Bermuda is another world' and mean it.

Recently in this column,

The Royal Gazette bemoaned how the Court of Appeal was reducing sentences for serious crimes. The sentence of 40 years is almost bound to be challenged in the Appeal Court — let us hope that the law allows for any appeal to be rejected.

Let us also hope that the courts continue to mete out this type of sentence. The message must be loud, and very clear, that crime will not be tolerated by the Bermuda society.

* Want to let me know what you think? Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/jeremydeacon1

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Published April 06, 2013 at 9:00 am (Updated April 05, 2013 at 10:16 pm)

When is a negative a positive?

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