‘Unacceptable’ absence from gun crime forum

Community activist Gina Spence has criticised the “unacceptable” absence of Bermuda’s political leaders at last week’s forum on gun violence.

The public meeting, called by former minister Dale Butler, took place on Thursday evening at the Bermuda Industrial Union. The panel of four guest speakers comprised Gina Spence from anti-gang initiative StreetSafe, Department of Corrections education officer Shawnette Somner, Leon O’Brien from empowerment group the Black Alliance and teacher Pamela Richardson.

However Ms Spence, who has lost two relatives to gun violence, voiced her disappointment in the lack of parliamentary interest in the event.

“I was really disappointed that more of our leaders and decision-makers did not attend,” said Ms Spence, who commended Junior Minister for Tourism Kenny Bascombe and Progressive Labour Party MP Kim Wilson for their presence.

“(The politicians) send out almost identical press releases after each new murder — we can almost predict what is going to be written.

“Where are their priorities? Where is their compassion?”

Ms Spence chastised MPs for being more concerned with projects such as the America’s Cup than finding solutions to gun violence.

“It is very disheartening. I hold them accountable, because evil flourishes when good people stand by and do nothing.

“When will it become urgent enough for them to do something drastically different?”

She also called on the wider Bermudian community to support the “Champions” programme run by her charity, Gina Spence Productions, which helps those left behind by gun violence.

To donate your time or money, visit www.ginaspenceproductions.com<;/i>

Full article courtesy of the Royal Gazette.