Brown: The Governor isn't doing what we want with policing
Premier says Government's efforts are being 'hamstrung'
Tuesday, December 8, 2009 9:57 AM
The Premier is pointing the finger at the Governor to do more about curbing the violence in Bermuda.
He said the government is 'hamstrung' in getting any results because operational control lies with Governor Sir Richard Gozney.
Dr. Brown said: "While we've taken action to address the crime issue, we are not yet satisfied and are calling for more reforms. Unfortunately, despite being in government, we are hamstrung in our abilities to act. In spite of the fact that the Bermudian taxpayer pays for our police service, an unelected Governor has full control over operational policing.
"We have repeatedly called for reform in operational policing strategies. Specifically, we are calling for a greater police presence in known hot spots. We are calling for greater community policing to build trust between the people and the police. And, we are calling for international experts to be brought in to help train our police in best practices for reducing gang violence.
"The people of Bermuda expect results. They're going to hold the people they elected accountable. Bermudians are rightfully outraged by the recent violence and are demanding action. We are taking action. We are pleading with Government House to adopt new operational policing strategies. And, we are making the case that those who pay the operational policing bill should have a say over operational policing strategies. We are making the case at the Overseas Territories Consultative Committee while we are in London. We believe that policing in Bermuda must be reformed, not more of the same.
"We believe that the time for talk is over and the time for action is now. We know what needs to be done and we're going to do it."
Dr. Brown said government had puts some measures into place to help tackle the root of the problem - drug trafficking.
"It is tragic when we lose a life - any life - to violence. It is not enough to wring our hands and say awful it is. It is surely not enough to say that the perpetrators and the victims are just bad men and we're better off if we just let them all kill each other. The perpetrators and the victims aren't just criminals. They are sons, grandsons, brothers, boyfriends, cousins.
"I encourage anyone who knows about the most recent killing or any others to come forward and help the police to address this wave of gun-related violence and death. If necessary, we will see to it that witnesses are protected.
"I also want all of Bermuda to get serious about addressing, together, the underlying causes. On Friday, I stated what my government was going to do to respond to the Mincy report's excellent analysis and recommendations. That's a start, but only a start.
In the next few days, I will be issuing a challenge to all of us about how we in Bermuda can make Bermuda safer for all of us. Working together is a proud part of our 400 year history. Let us remind ourselves about that and address our common problem as we have always done: as a community working together.
"In response to the recent violence and homicides, the Government had already initiated programs. We could see the "writing on the wall." We know that much, if not most, of the violence is related to the illegal drug trade and drug use and abuse. Just last October, we implemented a mandatory substance abuse treatment programme to combat drug use.
"We announced the expansion of the Mirrors programme to prevent crime before it starts. We passed tough, new laws that give our police greater powers to investigate crimes and bring criminals to justice."