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posted 6 Dec 2018, 10:15 by Gerry Kangalee
Image result for stuart young and gary griffithThe most striking thing about Minister Stuart Young’s statement is that it reveals how much he does not carry loyalty cards. Hardly had news broken of the raid in the heartland, so to speak, of the drug trade, his statement came out distancing himself from one of the women arrested in the exercise.

Not that she is a stranger to him. He was her step-father for a while and had recently been featured in operations to rescue her from kidnappers. In the absence of substance, image trumps all. Thus she was thrown under the nearest unmarked police SUV…headlong. She immediately became a liability, politically speaking

What is interesting about this raid is that it took place at all. From all appearances those arrested clearly thought themselves in sanctum. Raids take place in the forest, or 'hotspots' or roadblocks are set up. Who raids high end duplexes in the elite Westmoorings area? Gary G. has gone where no other police commissioner had ever dared to go before? Beam me up Inspector Gadget!

Now let us give him his just due. He did not refer to any of the suspects as cockroaches or animals. Oh! Cockroaches do not live in high end apartment complexes. Okay…okay...In the old days a call to the Commissioner, acting or active, would have put an end to this; except that the Commissioner himself was leading the exercise.

Whom do you call then? Ghostbusters? The Minister of National Security? So with his carefully crafted public image as the man who is getting the job done, Gary is now seen as a true crime fighter. Except of course if it is corporate theft, or income tax evasion or not submitting payments deducted from workers paychecks for NIS. Nothing glamorous in that! Which employer high tails it away in a BMW after not submitting payments?

What will be the impact of Gary operating so high up on the food chain? One suspects that a lot of folks are not sleeping well tonight. This is not how it is supposed to work. Lock up the housekeeper on Monos island in the country's biggest ever drug bust, but not the home owner. She could not have imagined this happening in her home! Ownership, unlike charity, does not begin at home. But to strike so close to the nerve centre, the heartland? Whew…someone must be sweating 9mm bullets. And to rein him in would create such a backlash because of his equal opportunity/affirmative action policy. Be they university students, peaceful pickets or speeding motorists

Please let us see this for what it is and what it is not. A 'gung-ho' chief of police cannot disregard the rights of suspects, wherever he perceives them on the evolutionary scale. In fact these are the ones whose rights must be most protected and ensured. Absent that; the law enforcers become judge and jury and all too often, executioners. We have a long history of that in this country. The hands of the Police Complaints Authority are as well bound as the hands of the young lady hearing the condemnatory responses of her ex-step father.

The presumption of innocence, the right to be tried in a court must still hold, regardless of the nature of the crime or whether one is labeled cockroach or animal.

How far will this reach? Some embarrassment for one or two perhaps: charges will be laid; ask the drunken judge and Minister arrested on DUI charges. This is more serious you say? So is stealing oil. No one has been charged for that! The self serving media conferences will follow. Bail will be granted. Then given the power and profile of the suspects the matter will drag through the courts. Petrotrin might re-open long before the matters are concluded. Another set of ''part heards'' to clog up the court systems for the foreseeable future

Down the street the shattered lives of individuals, families and communities in the wake of the closure of the refinery will hardly raise a yawn in newsrooms; that children in primary and in secondary schools and university will be forced to drop out. Banks and other financial institutions will foreclose in the wake of the biggest criminal trespass in the country's recent history. Fuel prices, with the inevitable ripple effect, will increase because unlike the French workers we 'ain't riot yet'

But the above mentioned is a different type of crime. And police commissioners are not hired to deal with such!