BERMUDA-CRIME-Lull in crime as Jamaicans head home for the holidays

HAMILTON, Bermuda CMC –Police have attributed a lull in deadly gang violence over the Christmas period in part to high-level gang members heading to Jamaica on a charter flight for a winter break.

Some 17 people have been shot this year during escalating gun violence. Four men were shot dead, including three in just 12 days in December.

Kumi Harford, 30, was murdered in a hail of bullets on St. Monica’s Road, Pembroke. Gary “Fingaz” Cann, 22, was murdered outside a private home in Sandys, and just two days later Shane Minors, 30, was shot dead on his doorstep on Friswells Hill, Pembroke.

Many have attributed the community’s groundswell of support for peace movements as well as various organisers who have brokered a ceasefire for the lack of gunshots.

However, the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) confirmed that a heavy travel period during Christmas was also a major factor.

A BPS spokesman could not give definitive answers on why activities had gone quiet in recent days, but said some of the more obvious reasons included heavy travel during the Christmas period of various people both suspected of being involved with gang activities, as well as potential targets.

Another reason was success in placing a number of persons before the courts for various criminal offences linked to gang activity as well as increased police visibility in and around identified hot spots, plus stop and searches.

Gang members had also been targeted, the spokesman said.

One high-level police officer, who asked not to be named, said that a charter flight which left the island on December 19 bound directly for Jamaica would result in the use of guns falling.

“It’s a who’s who of top guys on that flight and their families (along with other passengers),” he said.

“The charter means they don’t have to go through the United States so they don’t have to worry about being on the stop list (for any criminal convictions). They are going down there to avoid the heat.”

The officer said most would return this year.

Last week police conducted 40 stop and searches although no one was arrested in connection with any of the murders last year.