THURSDAY, MARCH 22: Bermuda's gang problem could have been contained if the UK authorities has supported then-Premier Dr Ewart Brown's ideas to bring in help from the US.
Dr Brown made the claim today in his first public address since stepping down as Premier nearly 18 months ago.
He told a regional conference in the Cayman Islands that his government’s proposals to get help from US law enforcement personnel were “given cursory attention and then rejected”.
Dr Brown added: “We were provided with the UK version of assistance, which essentially did not work.
“We now have a more visible gang problem in Bermuda, which might have been prevented had we been granted permission to deal with this phenomenon early.”
The former Premier claimed that his call for overseas assistance went “virtually unheeded”.
He said: “Cast your mind back to 2007 in Bermuda. Gang violence in Bermuda was rearing its head.
“Gun play was rare but increasing. Gangs were forming and turf skirmishes were rising.
“For better or for worse, I spent decades in California where the gang culture is ingrained and the fight against it is well known and respected.
“When I recognized the signs in my own country, I sounded the alarm.
“The record will reflect that my call for overseas assistance went virtually unheeded.
“I knew then and said so at the time that this gang thing could not be allowed to grow, that it had to be stamped out without delay.
“‘My Government’s request went through the proper channels — we made presentations; we urged action; we even engaged in some saber-rattling to spur the British to act.
“We wanted to engage the assistance of former American law enforcement personnel because gang activity in Bermuda best mirrored the American model.”
Dr Brown was speaking at the 50/50 Conference, which is being hosted by the University of the Cayman Islands in collaboration with the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), the University of the West Indies, Mona, and the International College of the Cayman Islands. The year 2012 marks 50 years since the end of the West Indies Federation. Premier Paula Cox is the keynote speaker.
Ewart Brown breaks 18-month silence