“You may have heard me publicly state over and over that this problem is a community problem, not a Police problem. I meant it then, and I mean it now,” said Minister of National Security Michael Weeks as he addressed a two-day workshop discussing community violence.
More than 100 key stakeholders representing charities, Government agencies and helping organisations met at the Hamilton Princess last week for the occasion. The event brought together invited stakeholders working on the frontline against community violence for focused and robust discussions over the issue.
Minister Michael Weeks opened the retreat by highlighting the societal nature of the violence problem when he told those in attendance. He added: “The sooner each of us on the island comes to terms with this concept, the faster we will solve this issue.
“I believe that this violence issue is the proverbial 800-pound elephant in the room that poses a threat to us all; it poses a grave threat to our young people, our peace of mind, our schools, our societal expectations of normal behaviour, and the very fabric of our Bermudian culture.”
In his opening remarks, Premier David Burt said: “The Government is committed to tackling the root causes of violence and crime in Bermuda. While much work has already been done, including the appointment of a Gang Violence Reduction Coordinator, Bishop Leroy Bean (here with us today), and expanded Gang Resistance Education and training programme in our public schools, we know that there is still much work to be done.
“Over the next two days, the conversations, questions and ideas that come from this diverse group will help us build a national strategy to address the violence in our community. I thank the Minister of National Security and his team for putting this workshop together and for the dedication they show every day to our community.”
The list of agencies in attendance includes Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (CURB), MWI, the Department of Child and Family Services, Raleigh Bermuda, the Family Centre, the Coalition for the Protection of Children, the Bermuda Police Service, sporting clubs, the One Bermuda Alliance and representatives from the Mirrors Programme.
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