CURB calls for more timely statistics on Island’s social problems
Resource type: News
The Royal Gazette | [ View Original Source (opens in new window) ]
By Sam Strangeways
An anti-racism group wants to see better statistics collected and reported in Bermuda to help tackle the Island’s ills.
Lynne Winfield, president of Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda (CURB), says current, concrete information on poverty, crime, education, unemployment and earnings is badly needed.
In an e-mail to CURB members, she wrote: “There has been a great deal of reporting in the media recently about increasing poverty, gang violence and proposed new punitive legislation.
“As the poor get poorer, and those who have never been poor join their ranks, frustration and anger increase.
“Bermuda’s historical legacy of slavery, segregation and post-segregation policies, plus years of colour blind attitudes, and our failure and apathy at addressing the root causes of racial disparities, means we are now facing the cumulative effects which manifest at every stage of life, in the areas of poverty, family structure, health and education.”
Ms Winfield cited 2009 statistics showing the unemployment rate for blacks was almost twice that of whites and 15 percent of students were leaving school without a high school certificate.
She said the Mincy Report the same year on young black males showed almost 29 percent of the difference in earnings between black and white young men was based on race.
“We still don’t have enough information, and we need concrete information in order to heal the damage and focus our attention on what needs to be done,” wrote Ms Winfield.
“However, this requires a collaborative effort between the various agencies, i.e. Government, the private sector and charitable organisations, to provide the required statistics.
“As a society we need to collect and report better statistics, driven by Government in collaboration with various key agencies, and we need to ensure people get the required assistance so they do not fall between the cracks, again driven by Government but in collaboration with other agencies.”
Ms Winfield shared with members a report on poverty from the US Children’s Defense Fund, which she said was critical reading for every single person in the criminal justice field, social caring agencies and educators, as well as the general public.
“As in the US, the economic disparity in Bermuda, which is a historical legacy of slavery and segregation largely based on race, is one that will continue to undermine all efforts to overcome the increasing social problems unless we are willing to address it.”
The results of Bermuda’s 2010 census have yet to be released. It wasn’t possible to reach anyone at the Department of Statistics yesterday for an update on when they are likely to be.
Citizens Uprooting Racism in Bermuda is an Atlantic grantee.