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Majority wants dark-tinted visors banned

A strong majority of residents want dark-tinted visors banned, along with “any other helmet that prevents identification of the motorcyclist”.

The comeback, with 71 per cent pro-banning and 25 per cent against, was commissioned by The Royal Gazette in tandem with a campaign by this newspaper.

But Michael Dunkley, the Minister of National Security, said it would be “unfair to suddenly ban a vital piece of personal road safety equipment to address the criminal behaviour of a small number of individuals.”

The Global Research poll, surveying 403 residents aged 18 and above, showed opposition to face-covering helmets rising steadily with age.

Banning the head gear was supported by 84 per cent of respondents aged 65 and above, versus 55 per cent aged 18 to 34. Women were more inclined than men, at 76 per cent to 64 per cent; a breakdown by race showed 53 per cent of whites in favour of banning, compared with 29 per cent of blacks.

Mr Dunkley told The Royal Gazette: “Historically the community has been divided on this issue.

“The majority of residents use helmets with tinted visors lawfully, for their intended purpose and respect businesses who regulate their use on their premises.

“Recent incidents have shown that the tinted visor is only one of the means used by criminals to disguise their identity.

“These incidents are accompanied by other measures like dark clothing, gloves and the like, all designed to make identification difficult. The public can be assured that calls to the Police about people dressed in this fashion, acting suspiciously will be taken seriously and proper police responses can be expected.”

Meanwhile, a casual online poll of our readers got 7,000 responses — with 74 per cent supporting a ban on dark-tinted visors.

The issue has a long history on the Island, but gained momentum in 2010 after the brazenly public murder of Kimwande Walker was carried out in full view of Good Friday crowds by gunmen with visors over their faces.

During the worst years of gang-fuelled gun violence, the ban was taken up in a petition, and Wayne Perinchief, the Minister of National Security, supported the move in 2011.

The ban faltered, however, and remained off the table as of this year, according to Shawn Crockwell, the Minister of Tourism Development and Transport.

Police have remained neutral on the matter, and reiterated that stance yesterday in the aftermath of two weekend armed robberies where face-covering visors were said to be used.

The latest survey, carried out from August 31 to September 6, shows 56 per cent of residents strongly agreeing with a ban. A further 15 per cent “somewhat agree”.

Meanwhile, 11 per cent strongly disagree with the idea, and 14 per cent “somewhat disagree”. Four per cent did not know.