No issues in past year and a half: Hawkins
© Andrea Gunn photo
Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Al Hawkins addresses media over concerns about the presence of two outlaw motorcycle gangs in town.
People shouldn’t stereotype others when it comes to renting and selling property, and that includes those involved in outlaw motorcycle gangs, Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Al Hawkins said.
Hawkins spoke with media after an appearance at a provincial funding announcement in Grand Falls-Windsor earlier this week, he addressed growing concerns about the confirmed presence of two biker gangs in town, both of which have established clubhouses.
The recent public attention to biker gangs is a result of a drive-by shooting in St. John’s police have alleged was the handiwork of an outlaw motorcycle group. Last week, several media outlets reported Grand Falls-Windsor is the only known region in Atlantic Canada with two confirmed motorcycle gangs.
Hawkins said the RCMP has been doing a great job in policing the area for all types of crimes, and people shouldn’t be too concerned with the recent hype.
“As a resident I can understand why people would have some concerns and apprehension as you would in any situation where you get stereotyping that happens when you have groups such as bikers,” Hawkins said. “That’s something we deal with, but in the last year and a half, we really haven’t had any issues.”
Hawkins said all residents have a right to buy and rent property regardless of their affiliations, so long as the property isn’t used for criminal activity.
“It becomes one of those situations where it’s difficult to put those stipulations in place and violate people’s freedom and rights,” Hawkins said. “There’s a lot of stereotyping that happens…and when it comes to rentals and that sort of thing you can’t stereotype, I don’t know what rights a person would have to do that.”
Hawkins said as far as he is aware, there are no laws or regulations against declaring oneself as part of an outlaw biker gang, only against criminal activity that any individual or group might participate in.
Hawkins also said he is aware of a gathering of motorcycle gang members that will supposedly take place in Grand Falls-Windsor this summer, and said he’s confident the RCMP will have a handle on the situation.
“It is my understanding that there will be a gathering in early July, we will be briefed by the RCMP and they will adequately police that weekend,” he said.
Hawkins added there was a similar gathering in the area in recent years back, and there were no resulting incidents.
“The only the only thing we can do right now is work in cooperation with the RCMP and feel confident that they are the trained people that deal with these situations and they will certainly monitor it and if there are any issues, then they’ll deal with it.”