More than a hundred men and women from all walks of life have expressed an interest in becoming a part of a new National Security Ministry initiative to combat antisocial behaviour and gang-related violence in Bermuda.

Minister Wayne Caines announced the establishment of the new Peacebuilders initiative, which aims “to deploy a team of citizens to support neighbourhoods, to reduce tensions in recognized ‘hot spots’ and to provide a reassuring presence in the event of a crisis”.

“Crisis situations can range from a national disaster, antisocial behaviour or gang violence,” said Mr Caines.

“The Ministry of National Security is determined to continue the community engagement that has positively impacted our efforts to combat violence and antisocial behaviour,” he added.

Following a host of meetings with business people, clergy or ordinary citizens, he said, they all end “with people asking how can they help”.

“There is a lot of untapped goodwill in Bermuda and we believe that the time has come to put that to good use.

“We will take the concerned citizens, the corporate entities looking to give back, parents, friends; anyone willing to serve; and train them in some basic skills. The aim is to deploy a cadre of citizens to support neighbourhoods, to reduce tensions in recognized ‘hot spots’ and to provide a reassuring presence in the event of a crisis.

“One hundred and nineteen (119) people have already signed up and expressed an interest in supporting the community in this way and the first training session will take place next Saturday, January 20th at Heritage Worship Centre, on Dundonald Street.”

“This is an exciting prospect and I am confident that this will serve to empower ordinary citizens to lead change in the lives of those looking to break the cycle of violence and anti-social behaviour. Under the leadership of Pastor Leroy Bean, we have assembled a team of professionals to deliver the training on topics like ‘Mental Health First Aid’ and ‘Managing Crisis’.”

Twenty people have already signed up for the first training session to be held this Saturday at the Heritage Worship Centre on Dundonald Street in Hamilton.

Pastor Bean noted that “the first step is to be trained and equipped to be an agent of change, be a Peace Builder”.

While “this initiative has its origins in a need to deal with these community issues”, the Minister said: “The possibilities for growth are equally as important.

“I have asked the Ministry team to incorporate a disaster management piece to the training so that Peacebuilders can also be used in community assistance in the event of any national disaster. Bermuda will be well served by the manifested commitment of those who want to help.”

Joined by Dr Carlton Crockwell, COO of Security Associates Limited and Mr Keith Jernigan Sr, Vice President of Electric Systems and Services, Bermuda Security Group, he said: “This Group of Companies has taken a leadership role and is the proud sponsor of Peacebuilders.

“Through their generous support, we will provide our trained personnel with distinctive vests that clearly indicate that they are Peacebuilders. This kind of partnership is vital to how we move from just talking about issues to actually impacting the lives of the people we serve.

The first training session gets underway on Saturday, January 20th with topics that will include:

  • Mental Health & Gangs – Dr Carla Bean
  • Mental Health & First Aid and What to do During a Crisis – Dr Cherita Raynor & Dr Shawnee Basden
  • Managing Crisis – Petra Spencer-Arscott
  • Disaster Management – National Disaster Coordinator – Steven Cosham
  • Understanding Your Role at a Crime Scene – Superintendent Darrin Simons
  • Understanding Grief During a Crisis

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  • Photos Courtesy of DCI