On Tuesday April 5, 18-year-old Laje Franklin was shot and killed near Clearwater Beach in St. David’s and was found early the next morning by a passer-by. Two days later, following a family-oriented Easter party at Warwick Workman’s Club near Cobb’s Hill, 24-year-old Che Jennings was shot and killed.
Former Premier the Honorable Dr. Ewart Brown, who helped found the gang violence reduction team while he was Premier, feels terrible to see so much violence and shooting going on and he prays for better days for his island home.
“ Even though it may not be easily recognizable, I believe that Bermuda is under reconstruction and I think that we will go down a bit before we go back up,” Dr. Brown said. “ We cannot simply ‘spray cologne’ on the issue, we have to do some reconstruction in order for Bermuda to have days of peace.”
While he accepts that there needs to be aggressive actions taken in order to bring perpetrators of these crimes to justice, he believes that gun violence is a symptom of what the real issue is.
“ We are so reluctant in Bermuda to examine the root causes of things and until that reluctance goes away, we are in for some tough times,” he said.
Given the fact that the overwhelming majority of people who have been killed and who have been convicted of killing have been young black men, Dr. Brown believes that, as long as Bermudians don’t view the issue as a problem that affects everyone in the community on every level, then the issue will only get worse.
If he was Premier during the COVID-19 pandemic like David Burt was, Dr. Brown cannot say if he would do anything differently than what Premier Burt’s administration has done.
“ I think that our Premier is doing the best job that he can do and I believe that he can do better, as we all can, but there has to be some serious commitment to action,” he said. “ Politics consists of both words and action, but the action in my opinion has to outweigh the words.”
Dr. Brown believes that the 10-plus year, ongoing investigation and prosecution against him is directly related to his handling of the Uighur situation in 2009 and also believes that enough is enough and that it is time to bring this investigation to a close and move on.
“ There is going to be a better time for Bermuda,” he said. “ It may not happen in my lifetime, but if we give up, I believe it can get worse. My personal circumstances are not as important as the country’s future. Bermuda will change, but the question is can we reconstruct it quickly enough?”
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