Club vows to ban ‘undesirables’ after murder
An uncompromising ban on antisocial elements has been vowed by the Mid Atlantic Boat and Sports Club.
In the wake of a fatal shooting outside the club on Sunday night, which claimed the life of 31-year-old Jahni Outerbridge, the club's committee has pledged immediate steps, including collaboration with other establishments.
“We have too many undesirable people who come there and disrespect the club, and we are definitely not having it,” club Commodore Laurie Hendrickson Tait said. “We stepped up security in the past; we just have to step it up more.”
Meanwhile, Diallo Rabain, a club member and MP for the area, said the club aimed to position itself as “a more family oriented environment”.
“Unfortunately, this incident took place in the parking lot — I wouldn't say it is out of the control of the club, but now we have to look at how we can protect our patrons as they are coming and going. It's an extension of where things are going in Bermuda, but it doesn't have to go that way. We can pull back.”
Mr Outerbridge, described as a popular and gregarious man, was not a regular at the North Shore club, which had opened to the public for a function that night.
The gunman is believed to have come into the parking lot and shot him when he came outside.
Ms Tait said the club would change its hours, suspend having DJs and rigorously enforce its policy of only guests over the age of 30 being allowed in.
“I don't know what other clubs are doing, but we can put our heads together and see what else we can do. I am not afraid to be a security guard to protect my club. It's just too much — these young men come here and want to smoke when there's a no smoking policy, and totally disrespect our club. If I see anyone in there doing something they're not supposed to, I don't have any problem telling them to get out.”
Discussions included more cameras and lighting in the car park to safeguard patrons, and she said clubs needed to get together and “red flag” troublemakers.
While changing the club's ambience and enforcing an 11pm closing time would likely cut into revenue, Ms Tait said: “It's a members' club. Members will do what they need to in support of their club.”
It has been four years since cameras and swipe cards were installed, after regular patron Michael Phillips was shot dead at the end of the club's parking lot, but Ms Tait said they would now strictly check guests and “have no problem banning people”.
Mr Rabain offered his condolences to the Outerbridge family, saying words fell short when a friend or family member was taken in such a fashion.
He issued a statement saying: “Until we get to the point of believing that nothing can be solved with violence, we are destined to see repeat occurrences of what happened on Sunday night and the pain it causes.
“We have a ways to go Bermuda, but I firmly believe that together we can get there. Again, I offer my sincere condolences to all in the community who loved this young man.”
Mr Rabain told The Royal Gazette: “It's indicative of where we are as a society. But, at some point, we have to step back and look at the human side. As politicians we can make wonderful speeches, but absolutely nothing can mitigate the pain a family goes through.”
Members were determined to keep the club “a place where you can come and feel safe”, he added.
“I can only equate it to a ‘Cheers'-type bar, where everybody knows you and they're happy to see you.”
Saying his best course of action as the area MP would be to talk to Jeff Baron, the Minister of National Security, Mr Rabain said it would also make sense to discuss CCTV capabilities on the busy stretch of North Shore Road where the club stands.