Mixed views on how much of an impact the 24-hour shutdown of clubs since the closure of Docksiders on Front Street and Southampton Rangers Sports Club, where six brawlers were banned due to anti-social behavior.
While some residents hold the view that it’s about time, others question just how effective it will be when it comes down to the not so social side of serving alcohol when it’s Bermuda’s leading catalyst for anti-social behavior, accidents and road traffic fatalities.
The big question now, is whether or not these shutdowns and possibly others to come, will actually have an impact on the island’s abysmal track record on driving or acting up under the influence of alcohol, backed by roadside sobriety checks?
Bermuda Real asked our readers for their views shortly after the second 24-hour shutdown ordered by police.
One resident said it looks like Bermuda’s new Commissioner of Police, Stephen Corbishley “is starting to lay the smack down on these bars”.
“May he keep up the good work,” he added.
Another woman wrote: “Bad news for the Gosling family.
But another resident questioned what impact the shutdowns will have when it comes down to alcohol and anti-social behaviour.
“Unless you stop sale of liquor you risk confrontation with patrons, and I think, for example, Docksiders hired security.
“Police are responsible for maintaining law and order not just in bars but everywhere else too. Just why the Police Commissioner thinks closing any bar for 24 hours will solve anything is unclear or make our roads safer either.”
The former co-owner of a local restaurant and bar he lamented the fact that there are far “too many physical confrontations” for his “temperment” these days.
And gone are the days when
“people drank but not to get drunk”, he added.
Six men, ranging in age from 23 to 32 were injured in an early morning brawl outside Southampton Rangers Sports Club on February 2.
They were all subsequently banned from the premises by the club’s management, via registered letters informing them that they are no longer welcome.
Rangers was shutdown as a result of the fracas from 10pm Saturday, February 2nd until 10pm Sunday, February 3rd.
In a bid to “eliminate any forms of anti-social behavior”, a new Disciplinary Team has been set up to deal with it on a year-round basis.
It was also noted that “the same individuals that caused the closure of a Hamilton establishment” were arrested in connection with this incident.
On that note, the club appealed to “the Police and the Courts to do their utmost in assisting the Community Clubs and other establishments in preventing incidents like this from happening again where a few individuals are traveling the island intent on causing trouble”.
While “encouraged by the support we have received from our surrounding community.
“We ask that if anyone is able to assist in any way around the club that you reach out as we have learned that many hands make light work and that it will take all of us to stamp out these acts of anti-social incidents within our community. If you are willing to assist in any way the Management Team can be reached by email at email@example.com.
Meanwhile, other members of the community say: “It took them to be closed and loose money to pay attention.”
Others maintain that it is well known “who these individuals are and their intentions”.
Either way, Superintendent James Howard, who is in charge of the Tactical Division, has gone on record to say: “Anti-social behavior will not be tolerated.
“The public expect a robust response from the police where the conduct of certain individuals causes or is likely to cause significant harm.”
He also said: “It is imperative that liquor licenced premises take ‘social responsibility’ for the safety of their patrons and the conduct of those persons who threaten that safety, which has a profound effect on the community that they are a part of and Bermuda as a whole.”
Moving forward he said: “We will respond to incidents of anti-social behaviour where vulnerability and or a high risk of threat or harm has been identified. If this is the case, then liquor licenced premises can expect to receive an order from me authorising the closure of their premises.
“I am hopeful that the closure will allow the management of any establishment to use the time to review any incident, in addition to improving security measures.
“The Bermuda Police Service is willing to assist should that be the case.”
As a result, he said the police will continue to use all “law enforcement options – which includes but is not limited to – the temporary closure of offending properties”.
The bottom line: “Liquor licenced premises must ensure that the anti-social behaviour of a few does not affect the responsible socialising of the many responsible patrons.”
How that pans out – time will tell.