Former Premier Believes Key to Solving Violence on Island is Community Action

On Wednesday February 2, a prison officer was killed in the Shelly Bay area while trying to break up a fight. On Friday February 4, a teenager was brutally stabbed while waiting at a bus stop on Parsons Road.

Former Premier and Shadow Minister of National Security Michael Dunkley, JP, MP, is extremely disturbed by both of these recent acts of violence.

“ Violence has reared its head far too often and unless we rally together as a community and actually do something about what is taking place, things will continue to get worse,” he said. “ Fear is a big challenge for people . . . but unless we get tough and do something to help out our community, this will continue. Together we can make change.”

Gun violence has been an issue in Bermuda since at least 2004, or almost two decades now. Mr. Dunkley believes that Bermuda has taken a few steps forward, but also many steps backwards on the issue and admits that there is still a lot of work to be done.

“ I believe that cuts in the BPS’ manpower and overall budget by the PLP have had a slight impact on gun violence,” he explained. “ My biggest responsibility in life is to look after my two children, their health and safety.

If we want children, we must never forget that responsibility for their health and safety until we perish ourselves. That does not just mean applauding them when they do good, it also means we have to rein them back in when they do bad. Too often, we turn a blind eye as parents and we cannot keep living like that.”

Mr. Dunkley admits that violence in Bermuda affects the black community much more than the white community, but would like to remind people that we are all on this 21-mile rock in the northern Atlantic together.

“ If we don’t try to understand the issue and do something about it, many people will just work hard into a headwind and that is not acceptable,” he said.

“ Bermuda is a beautiful place, but there are significant challenges we are facing.”
One thing that the former Premier believes Bermudians need to pay really close attention to is how people’s mental health and psyche have been affected by almost two years of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“ Back in the day in Bermuda, when people said good morning, they received a good morning back,” he said. “ Now when you say good morning, a lot of people are upset and disappointed. We should try and reach out to people, because a kind word and small conversation can lead us to a better future.”

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