Asked if he foresees an end to the gang violence, Dr Brown said: "Unfortunately, if it follows the example of other jurisdictions it will get worse. The proverbial horse is out of the barn." *Photo by Kageaki Smith
Asked if he foresees an end to the gang violence, Dr Brown said: "Unfortunately, if it follows the example of other jurisdictions it will get worse. The proverbial horse is out of the barn." *Photo by Kageaki Smith

Dr Ewart Brown believes the gang violence will continue to get worse because it wasn’t stopped when there was a chance.

He also said if police revealed the cause of death of road traffic accident victims, it could serve as a deterrent.

In 2006, Dr Brown pushed for then-New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s security group to come to Bermuda to help tackle the violence but Government House rejected it.

Since 2009, there have been more than 20 gang related murders, which have rocked the community.

Just two weeks ago, Haile Outerbridge and Ricco Furbert were shot inside Belvin’s Variety Store on Happy Valley Road. And Malcolm Augustus was shot dead early Christmas morning.

Asked if he foresees an end to the gang violence, Dr Brown said: “Unfortunately, if it follows the example of other jurisdictions it will get worse. The proverbial horse is out of the barn. When we had an opportunity to stage an organized counter effort, we missed the opportunity and I will forever believe that if Governor Vereker had allowed us to bring in the Giuliani security group in 2006/2007, that we could have made a significant dent in this business because it is a business.

“This is not a social phenomenon that just popped up. This is a business and it capitalizes on people who are hopeless.”

Asked to elaborate on the Giuliani security group proposal, Dr Brown said: “In 2006, shortly after I became Premier, I went to Government House, with Minister David Burch and informed Governor Vereker of the government’s deep and growing concern about gang activities in Bermuda.

“I shared with him my experience in Los Angeles in the mid-80’s with the Bloods and Crips. My office was located at the ‘border’ of their ‘turfs’ and I had seen first-hand the ravages of self-destructive gunplay.”

He continued: “I had met with Mayor Giuliani here in Bermuda and Minister Burch had flown to New York to meet with other key people in their security group.

SWAT team rejected

“The governor, after prolonged discussions, rejected our proposal, saying in so many words that it would be inappropriate for a law enforcement problem in a UK territory to be addressed by a US organization. He promised to bring in experienced officers from the UK and the rest is history.

“I tried later with Governor Gozney but was unsuccessful again. Apparently, the UK had decided that American assistance was unacceptable.”

Speaking on road deaths, of which there have been five already this year, Dr Brown said he knows what current Transport Minister Shawn Crockwell is experiencing: “Unfortunately, these things, despite our empathy and sympathy towards the families, these things happen as a result in individual behaviours.

“Very difficult to legislate that kind of thing. When it was happening during our time, we ramped up the road safety traffic, the whole safety idea.”

Dr Brown said the only thing Government really can do is increase the awareness campaigns.

Asked if it is the responsibility of the police and or the Coroner to release the causes of death, he said: “I believe that it would help to reveal the cause. For the most part, Bermudians have concluded that some kind of substance has been involved in many of these deaths, not all.

“But it doesn’t seem to make a difference because there’s a culture in Bermuda that says ‘I can get around that car, I can ride on the opposite side of the road because it is 2 o’clock in the morning’. You could have done that 15, 20 years ago and there was no car coming but today, with the number of vehicles on the road, there’s likely a vehicle coming around that corner.”