Hard on the heels of a party at Somerset Cricket Club that ended up with a fight that escalated to a fatal stabbing incident, Minister of National Security, Renée Ming reinforced “some of the guidelines for large group gatherings”.

Speaking at a news conference held this afternoon, the Minister said: “I think it’s becoming critically important to reinforce some of the guidelines for large group gatherings and the approval process for such events.

“Additionally, we have seen a number of events and activities taking place over the last few months, and there has been concerns raised that individuals at these events are not following the appropriate guidelines,” she added.

“But before I speak to this, I wish to once again take this opportunity to extend condolences to the family of the young man who was killed this weekend.

“As a mother of a son, I cannot imagine the hurt, the pain and the grief that this young man’s mother must be going through.

“This is such an unnecessary tragedy and again my heart truly goes out to this family during this extremely difficult time. I also take this opportunity to condemn in the strongest possible terms, the gun violence which took place in the Pembroke Park area this weekend.

Photo: TNN

“I met with the Police Commissioner earlier today to discuss all of this weekend’s violent activities and I am satisfied that all the necessary resources are being dedicated to bringing the perpetrators to justice,” she said.

“You also will have heard at the Police Press Conference earlier today that they are taking these events extremely seriously and they’re asking for the public’s support in their investigative efforts.

“As the Minister of National Security, I’m also making a plea to our community to please come together to help stamp out these acts of violence.

“This year sadly, we have recorded six murders. Two by fire arms, and this weekend’s fatal stabbing is the fourth stabbing murder this year.

“We cannot continue on in this way Bermuda. As I said in my message over the weekend, we must do better.”

Ms Ming also appealed to anyone who has “any information about this weekend’s stabbing fatality and fire arms incident, no matter how insignificant you think it is” to “please share what you know with the Police by calling 295-0011 or dialing 2-11”.

“You can also call the anonymous Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800 8477.”

On the issue of large group gatherings, social distancing; or the lack thereof, the Minister said: “Bermuda simply put… COVID-19 continues to be with us, and I’m urging residents not to become complacent.

“As a reminder, we all have a responsibility to do what we can to mitigate and limit the spread of the virus and comply with the policies in place.

“Regarding large group gatherings, it should be noted that the Public Health [COVID-19 Emergency Powers] Regulations [No. 2] 2020 prohibits any person from assembling in a group of more than 75 persons for any reason in any public or private place.

“And if you’re planning to have an event where more than 75 people will assemble, you must apply to the Ministry/Minister of National Security for an exemption.

“The Regulations also require all persons to take all reasonable precautions to maintain “appropriate physical distancing” at all times in any public or private place.”

She also provided a list of “specific reminders of the application and approval process” already in place:

  • 1. Applications should be submitted by email to the Ministry of National Security at emogroup@gov.bm.
  • 2. The application is reviewed against the following guidelines:
    • a. Venue dimensions.
    • b. The WHO / CDC guidelines.
    • c. Mass Gathering Guidelines which are found at government website and in this document.
    • d. Input from the Department of Health.
    • e. The applicant’s plan to address minimizing COVID-19 spread – this includes the type of event and having the required security at the event; and
    • f. The status of COVID-19 in community.
  • 3. Lastly applicants should expect an approval by 10 business days, from date of application, provided there are no questions regarding the application.

Moving forward she said: “The Ministry of National Security is willing to work with any individual or entity who is wishes to hold a gathering of more than 75 people.

“However there must be a degree of responsibility on the part of the host or host organisations.

“Again Bermuda, we have managed this pandemic extremely well, thanks in large part to the health guidance and recommendations put in place, and we have done well to enforce these guidelines and polices.

“We are about to enter the cooler months and leading health experts and organisations are predicting a surge in those contracting COVID-19.

“We are already seeing this play out in the UK, Europe and the US,” said Ms Ming.

“So we’re asking people to please continue to follow the health guidelines in place to protect you and your families.

“This includes wearing a mask, hand sanitizing and maintaining the appropriate physical distancing.

“And finally, if you are in attendance at any establishment or location around the island and see any breaches of the COVID-19 regulations by persons or businesses – please do not hesitate to call 2-11 to report the violations.”