The numbers in no way reflected the devastating impact of gun violence in Bermuda when relatives and friends who have lost loved ones joined supporters in a silent peace march through a number of areas plagued by gun play.
But the low turnout in no way deflected the magnitude of the message intended – ‘Enough is Enough’ when it comes to gun violence and the toll it takes on black families in Bermuda.
Organisers by Nicole Fox, Ceble Crockwell and fellow members of MOM Bermuda – Mothers on a Mission, urged participants to carry placards on Saturday (February 28) – some with one-word messages that said ‘Tired’ and ‘Hurt’.
Another placard read: “You took my son – why?’
Ms Fox initiated the march following a tearful public appeal to stop the violence, after her 22-year-old son was wounded outside of their home in Happy Valley, Pembroke.
Another son, 25-year-old Ricco Furbert, was killed in a double murder in Belvin’s Variety store on Happy Valley Road in 2013.
Ms Crockwell lost her brother to gun violence, 30-year-old cricketer Fiqre Crockwell, who was shot and killed in 2016.
As marchers gathered at CedarBridge Academy, Ms Fox urged participants to carry placards during the silent walk.
“It’s no chanting, it’s no rambling, it’s no beating it into anyone’s head,” she said.
“We just need the community that we’ve had enough without any words, just read our signs.
“We can’t do it anymore – we’ve had enough and we need to come together because too many of us are hurting in silence.
The marchers were joined by a number of public figures, who spoke with Trevor Lindsay, who streamed the event live on TNN.
Progressive Labour Party MP, Jason Hayward said: “I’ve marched for many other things in our community, but I think this is one of the more significant movements and marches, in that we are marching for our black Bermudian boys’ lives.
“I’m watching brothers kill each other and I think the community has had enough.
“I stand behind Moms on the Move and I think that the community needs to come together just to send a message that we love our young people and that we’re here to support you and that they don’t have to engage in that sort of activity,” said Mr Hayward.
Anglican Bishop of Bermuda, the Right Reverend Nicholas Dill said it it time to get down to the “root causes” behind this gang mentality.
“We’ve been doing this for a long time now – 2008 I think is when we first started walking through the communities and I think we forget so quickly.
“Everything calms down and you forget and then you realise actually simmering under the surface it’s the same things are there and they just need to be dealt with, in a way which is healing,” said Bishop Dill.
“And I think a lot of these guys are lost, who are getting into this gang stuff.
“We need to look at the root causes for that but also to show that as a community there really must be a different way to express frustration and anger and all the stuff that people are feeling.
“And we as a community need to come together to support those who are grieving, to protect our communities, to protect our young people from these influences and also to see unity back in the community,” he added.
His comments were echoed by the Commissioner of Police, Stephen Corbishley.
“Obviously the police have got a role in regards to investigating a matter but we’ve also got a role in supporting these events because these problems are only solved by communities coming together.
“And I think over the past week there’s been a real realisation that gun violence, any form of violence has to stop,” he said.
“There’s risk of young innocent people being shot, young lives being ruined through incarceration. And communities have got to have conversation and quite often mothers, parents are the ones to lead that.
“And I think the reason why I’m really pleased here is that there’s a mixture of people.
“We’ve got Nicole Fox here and Nicole’s had terrible experience with some of the losses that she’s had.
“I think she’s a combination of angry but also she’s confident.
“She wants to raise her voice and get the community to raise their voice and say enough is enough, let’s work together.
“We’ve all got differences but differences can be solved through talking, they can be solved through community. And this is why this event is important.
“And hopefully it’s not the first event – hopefully it leads to a conversation, it leads to some of these guys that perhaps live on the edge and are committing these types of offences, to maybe think twice, realise the risks that they face.
“I mean it’s not cool being in a gang, it’s just a dead end road that eventually they will hit and all they leave behind are grieving families and a grieving community. And time is the time now to stop.
“We had a successful 2019, pleasingly we didn’t lose any lives through homicide but we can’t be complacent. In the last three weeks where we had five shootings reminds us that this is an agenda that everybody has got to get involved with,” he added.
“That’s the community, the police, education, government right away – across the board because a solution can only come together when everybody comes together as one.”
The march started in Prospect and moved along Parsons Road, through Deepdale, Happy Valley, Court Street, Middle Town and Friswells Hill in Pembroke.
- Top Feature Photo Courtesy of TNN: Nicole Fox, one of the peace march organisers, carries a placard with one word – ‘Tired’ in silent march against gun violence in Bermuda, with Rolfe Commissiong, PLP MP for Pembroke South East