Reinforcements: Minister Dunkley meets the new police recruits. *Photo supplied
Reinforcements: Minister Dunkley meets the new police recruits. *Photo supplied

Bermuda has gone four months without a gun killing — but National Security Minister Michael Dunkley warned there was no room for complacency.

Mr Dunkley said: “We don’t expect that the shootings have ended — and there is still a lot more work to be done.

“But there has been a pull back and it’s a combination of all the work that has been done. We will stay hard on the agenda in trying to deal with this.

“The Premier has said we want direct inward capital investment and to create jobs — but to do that we need a safer Bermuda and to stop the shootings.”

Mr Dunkley paid tribute to the work of the police in combatting violent crime and targeting known hot-spots.

He said: “The public see it every day with the work the police has done. They’ve been very active.

“It’s been a great effort they’ve put forward and the Police Commissioner has built strong relationships with the Governor and the Government.”

The last gun killings were in January, when two men were gunned down in a convenience store in Pembroke’s Happy Valley Road.

There have been confirmed firearm incidents since then, but no deaths or serious injuries.

Mr Dunkley added that Professor David Kennedy, the founder of the anti-gang Operation Ceasefire in the US, had been impressed by what he had seen after he visited the island earlier this month.

He said: “A lot of the foundations we have built are strong and if we continue to build on that, we will be successful.

“The public in Bermuda and the people involved in that gang lifestyle accept that there will be little tolerance for that type of behaviour.

“Gang members know the law will be relentless, but they also know there are opportunities to change their lives.

“If I do nothing else as a Minister, I will stand resolute and say there’s a right way and a wrong way — if people want to go back to the right way, they have our support and we will do everything we can to get them into position.”

Mr Dunkley added that the gun bounty programme would also help rid the island of the menace of firearms.

He said: “We feel these types of messages let people know where we stand and we will be talking more about Team Streetsafe.

“We’re very happy with the success we have had so far. It’s already there, but not in a fully-functioning way as final training is taking place. It won’t be long.”

Mr Dunkley added: “While we want people to know what we’re doing, these types of programmes are always handled carefully. This kind of work can be dangerous.

“We’re asking people to go into areas to calm things down and build initiatives.”

Mr Dunkley said: “Bermuda was a safe place and we’ve lost a lot of that. We’re starting to get it back, but it takes energy, resolve and leadership that’s willing to listen and take the right decisions.

“But it’s not always about telling people what to do — it’s about giving people the support to get things done.” n