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Opportunities for young men are the key

Tackling issue: the Commissioner of Police Michael DeSilva discusses the Community Engagement Meeting on gun and gang crime (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Dear Sir,

The recent forum on gun violence showed me that piece-by-piece fragments of the submission I made to the 2011 Joint Select Committee on violent crime are now being expressed by various persons. The Joint Select Committee was called by Randy Horton under the former Progressive Labour Party government. I gave a written and oral presentation that was a detailed approach specifically aimed at providing a solution that would divert the young mend attention from territorial and turf wars, empower them and bring life to our economy at the same time. I called it “Operation Green Light”.

Sounds too good to be true right? I preached the message in 2008, when knives were the weapons of choice. All that changed by the end of that year and guns became the new preference. Instead of using a home-grown idea and giving it seed currency, the Mirrors programme was introduced and all the philanthropy and government resources were channelled to it, aiming all efforts at the at same demographic group of at-risk youth.

At last Tuesday night’s forum I heard the words: “These men need to earn money.” “These men need mentors and mentorship.” “These men need to relocate overseas to experience another world.”

Part of the answer for our youth is that we need to create opportunities in developing markets around the world. We have to facilitate the investments in Bermuda for infrastructural projects around the world and attach opportunities for our young men who can gain sweat equity ownership of these overseas ventures.

All the mentorship for those who have fallen through the cracks, would be tailored to provide the skill sets to be part of these overseas ventures. It’s a second chance at learning but with only relevant education. The added benefit is that it gives muscle to our local company when we own PPP in foreign lands. We gain equity, we gain cash and best of all we gain reformed individuals. The additional benefit is by separating the men in different countries it adds security to their lives.

I recommended the building of a non-profit organisation to manage and facilitate the idea. My detractors tried to minimise the approach by saying “all he wants to do is take the boys on trips”. Sadly from one highly influential former politician, who dismissed it claiming we don’t have the manpower to handle infrastructure around the world.

The trips were meant only to expose the young men to these overseas venture and provide some time in a captive setting for mentorship to help them see the benefits. The politician just lacked imagination. Bermuda developed one of the largest reinsurance industries in the world, why can’t we become a centre to project-manage infrastructural development in foreign countries?

So yes it is possible to turn problems into benefits. I have heard the statement, Bermuda is too small to solve its own problems, but just the right size to solve the problems in the world.

We must change our axiom from haplessness to one of developers with courage. It should be redemption and rebirth of opportunity that lay in the wake of our ingenuity. We either invest in their success or pay for their failures. You choose!