Wayne Perinchief, Minister of National Security. Bermuda Sun file photo
Wayne Perinchief, Minister of National Security. Bermuda Sun file photo

MONDAY, MAY 1: Making gang membership illegal will be discussed by Cabinet tomorrow.

Wayne Perinchief, Minister of National Security, is confident the legislation will be passed as part of a major crackdown on gang and gun crime.

Trying to recruit new members will also become an offence and crooks face having their assets seized, even if they have never been convicted of an offence.

Police and prosecutors are also set to get new powers to grill criminals already behind bars for intelligence and evidence.

Bermuda’s sentencing powers will be also be reviewed to impose tougher penalties for gang-related crime.

Mr Perinchief, a former senior police officer, said: “At every turn, this Government will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the police.”

He added that, despite budget cuts, the use of overseas specialists for short-term assistance to the Bermuda Police Service will be funded, with a special fast-track system set up to speed up recruitment.

Mr Perinchief paid tribute to shooting victim Jason Smith, 22, of Warwick, who was killed in the early hours of Sunday morning — the fifth gun murder of the year.

He believes his death must prompt the community to come forward with information.

Mr Perinchief said: “Two loving parents and a Bermuda family, as well as life-long friends, awoke this morning to a void that can never be filled.

“If nothing else unites us, this tragedy must. Consider the grief and do your part to end this cycle of wanton loss of life.”

Mr Perinchief is holding a public meeting with Police Commissioner Michael DeSilva on Thursday along with other Government and community representatives, including members of the Ministry of Education.

Mr Perinchief said the police have worked “tirelessly” and have made a high number of arrests in connection with shootings.

He added: “A society that relies on enforcement alone does not meet these issues head-on.

“We can and must be different in how we meet these problems.

“This Government wants to hear from our people, not just in the anonymity of blogs and online chatting, but in person, face-to-face and from people who are prepared to stand up and meet us with the point of restoring safety to our communities.”

Former Premier Dr Ewart Brown brought forward suggestions for anti-gang legislation last year but it failed to attract support because it was “too draconian”.

Mr Perinchief added: “I have read Dr Brown’s paper so we’ve now rethought the issue. It’s now time to implement that legislation.”

The public meeting will be at Seventh Day Adventist Church, Roberts Avenue, Devonshire, from 6.30pm on Thursday.