Despite Rights Concerns, Bermuda To Consider Anti Gang Law

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Bermuda’s parliament is set to debate a comprehensive anti-gang law, modeled on Canadian legislation, in an attempt to increase security in the Caribbean territory.

According to Bermuda’s Royal Gazette, lawyer Kevin Comeau, advisor to the government, prefers a Canadian anti-gang policing model. Under the proposed law, low-level gang members who are guilty only by association, or who are intimidating into joining gangs, will receive light sentences. Once crimes pass a certain threshold, gang affiliation will dramatically increase the charges attached to a specific crime.

This is intended to encourage testimony by gangs members against each other. Since Bermuda is an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, witnesses can be protected in the UK.

Despite the leniency built in for low level gang members, human rights concerns have delayed the drafting of legislation. A recent Supreme Court ruling may facilitate the bill’s entrance into parliament, however.

InSight Crime Analysis

Last year Bermuda’s homicide rate was almost double the global average at 12.5 murders per 100,000 people, according to the United Nations 2011 Global Study on Homicide.

Still, Bermuda does not have the security issues plaguing Caribbean states Trinidad and Tobago or Jamaica, whose murder rates are much higher at 35.2 and 52.1, respectively. Authorities there have cracked down on gangs, with Trinidad and Tobago enacting a strict curfew and Jamaica working on a tough new anti-gang policy.

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