WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 1: CARTEL founder Leroy Bean has defended his decision to charge a charity a “small and reasonable fee” for using White’s Island.
Pastor Bean told the Bermuda Sun the charge of $2 per day for each child from the Bermuda Amateur Swimming Association was to help pay for the amenities and maintenance of the island.
And he hit back at claims by OBA MP Mark Pettingill, reported in The Royal Gazette, that it was ‘unbecoming’ for CARTEL to charge the BASA a fee for using the island in Hamilton Harbour while leasing it for free.
He said: “It is important to firstly state that CARTEL is a charitable purpose trust.
“So, to state that one charity is charging another charity for using the island is simply wrong.
“Secondly we can operate on White’s Island in a way we see fit, so long as it is in line with the terms of the lease and that is exactly what we have tried to do since we took on the lease nearly two years ago.
“The lease clearly states we can allow community groups to use the island for community events and it allows us to levy a charge providing those groups get the required permits such as noise permits from the police to carry out events on the island.
“We have used the island as a summer camp for young people and will continue to do so.”
CARTEL, which was set up to tackle the root causes of gang violence, was granted a free lease of White’s Island for one day shy of 21 years in September 2010 by former Deputy Premier Derrick Burgess.
The gang intervention group has run summer camps on White’s Island for the last two years and most children that attend the camp do not pay as they do not have the means.
Pastor Bean, who recently returned from a gangs seminar in Chicago, added: “The reason a charge of $2 per day per child was levied on the Bermuda Amateur Swimming Association was to contribute to the cost of amenities on the island such as electricity and maintenance.
“We receive no government funding, which is disappointing.
“While the BASA receives $25,000 a year from government and they still charge their children $120 per week.
“Last year we allowed the Rowing Association to use White’s Island and we had an electricity bill of nearly $8,000 and also had to pay out on the upkeep of maintenance equipment as well as insurance.
“Asking for $2 a day from each child is a fairly small sum and it goes towards keeping White’s Island in the condition it needs to be in, in order for members of the community to be able to use it.
“During their camp the BASA kids will go in the water three or four times a day and they wash each of them down when they come out of the sea.
“That can mount up to a lot of water and a lot of pumping.”