Young black men need ‘real jobs and opportunities’
It’s vital that young black men are given work opportunities to “turn their hopelessness into desire”, according to the United Bermuda Party.
In what could be the political party’s last statement, UBP MPs Kim Swan and Charlie Swan say they want black males to be given “a way out” of their destructive lifestyles.
The two MPs jointly called on the Country to urgently address the problem of males turning to gangs “with real solutions and jobs and opportunities”.
They are calling for more technical training in specific occupation trades to be made available to steer youngsters away from a life of crime. They say it would be an “exit strategy” for those caught up or being seduced by gang culture.
Their comments come on the day the UBP ceases operations following a resolution taken at a Special Meeting of the Central Council, where members voted to dissolve the party.
Charlie Swan, parliamentary spokesman for Education, Labour and Training, said: “Beyond stopping the murders and making our streets safe again for all our citizens, we must offer alternatives to persons looking for a way out of the criminal environment.
“Jobs and the opportunity to learn a trade and earn an honest living must be at the top of the list. No longer must an occupation in the trades be seen as a second choice.
“An occupation in the trades is honest and rewarding work, being the foundation upon which this Island was built, and which can provide a foundation for any Bermudian to be a productive citizen and achieve his or her goals.”
The two MPs said it was no surprise that black males were killing each other as they are the “most economically marginalised in Bermudian society”.
They said they knew times were tough in the current economic climate, but black males had to be made the priority.
Charlie Swan said: “It is a statistical reality we, the black males, are at the bottom of the economic totem pole.
“We must identify ways to change fear into action, hopelessness to desire and helplessness to realisation must be at the forefront.
“To cause a change in the mindset of our black men caught up in the gang culture … we need real job options to offer them, meaningful training in the trades and a commitment across the board that struggling Bermudians will be put first.
“Words must be traded for meaningful action, action that directly engages the needs, and in some instances wants, of those most at risk. The solutions and opportunities that are needed must be real, tangible and attainable.”
The MPs added that although the UBP appreciated the “good work and contribution” of guest workers, they understood why Bermudians were becoming increasingly frustrated with the redundancies and loss of jobs.
Charlie Swan said: “This frustration is manifesting itself in ways that are counterproductive.....indeed destructive, to the society in which we all co-exist.”
The UBP MPs added that they were “heartened” that Government was considering anti-gang initiatives including Operation Ceasefire.
Charlie Swan said: “We urge them [Government] to move forward with all deliberate speed.
“There is a huge opportunity for private sector funding to partner with Government on an Operation Ceasefire type initiative and we encourage a bipartisan /public-private initiative for the good of all in our Country.”