MP Swan critical of Government's change of mind on anti-gang move
UBP leader Kim Swan criticised Government for “flip-flopping” on the issue of legislation that would make gang membership illegal.
While National Security Minister Wayne Perinchief said the proposed legislation was scrapped over concerns about civil liberties, Mr Swan said action against the gang problem needs to be taken as soon as possible.
“It is bewildering and disappointing to contemplate the flip-flop decision by Mr Perinchief and the PLP Government who have decided against introducing anti-gang legislation as promised,” Mr Swan said.
“Gangs operating in Bermuda are engaging in serious criminal activity which has resulted in murders, serious injuries, witness intimidation, gun trafficking and many other criminal activities.
sudden announcement that Government will not move forward with anti-gang legislation weakens the Government's position and makes a mockery of the consensus that had been previously garnered on this subject.”
Mr Swan said the decision to turn away from the proposed legislation was a political one, but in difficult times difficult choices need to be made for the betterment of the Island.
“The decision to reverse the Government position on anti-gang legislation in the midst of an election climate is of great concern,” he said.
“Decisions in the national interest must be made in the absence of politics, particularly when there was widespread support for anti -gang legislation in the national interest.
“This is an example of politics getting in the way of good policy in favour of a more softly softly approach by the PLP Government an all too familiar approach that has failed Bermuda miserably.”
“Bermuda is a small sophisticated society (with serious social challenges) dependent on our reputation as a law-abiding community the gang culture we are experiencing threatens our future we must come together as a people and stand for what is right.”
In an interview, Mr Perinchief told
The Royal Gazette that while he previously supported the idea of criminalising gang membership, the idea met resistance from groups including the police.
“I wished to bring forward anti-gang legislation,” he said, “[But] that's fallen off the table because it does have some serious ramifications when it comes to civil liberties and freedom of association.
“The police and the people who are concerned with civil liberties have convinced me that gang-like behaviour should be the driving force. We already have in place legislation that serves that purpose.”