The public has long ago figured out, but not accepted, that the police cannot catch anybody for murder except for some obvious domestic violence assailants and small fry.
Even then, there is ground for suspicion that the small fry are taking the fall for bigger accomplices or for those covering up something significant, like human trafficking or murder for hire.
Last week we had the spectacle of Edmund Dillon and Wayne Dick, Minister of National Security and Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) respectively, loudly telling off a self-proclaimed informer for creating “a sense of unease” and for “disrespect”.
My first column this year was entitled ‘Left over dick’. Not surprisingly we are still plagued by those leftovers.
Shouting down inquiries about the acts and omissions of law enforcement is standard practice. Likewise, when it is revealed that officials, their families or known associates are involved in slackness, every effort is made to disparage the person who reveals it.
What was more disturbing, some days before, was a manifestation of the extent to which citizens must now live in the certain knowledge that “coming for someone” is an established feature of everyday life in any neighbourhood. This was reflected in the reported remarks of a resident of a densely-populated area where there was a drive-by shooting with much “pow, pow, pow” at 7.30 in the evening.
I quote the reported remarks because I believe they demonstrate that we now live at the mercy of the bad guys and not under the protection of the State. This condition is another manifestation of the form of coup d’état that has already occurred and against which I had been warning more than ten years ago—even before a Prime Minister dismissed the murder of a bystander as “collateral damage”.
Now, as appears from the quotation below, the potential for collateral damage has grown.
Residents were reportedly still “coming to terms with the method utilised by the gunmen”, as though there is a protocol for murder. One resident reportedly said as follows:
“If you come for someone go for that person. That happen at about 7:30pm. People children were still on the roadways. This whole thing could have taken an even more tragic turn for the worse, if someone child had pick up a bullet.
“You have your war with someone, that’s already bad by itself but keep it to that person. Don’t be including innocent people in your war. They shot so haphazardly last night that anyone could have picked up. As horrible as it may sound, I have to say thank God it wasn’t more people who died.
“Them gunmen didn’t care about anyone, they saw their target and shot at the man, with zero regard for who grandmother, mother, sister, daughter, brother, son, children, was in the way. That is madness.”
In addition, there was much talk and cross talk last week about “corrupt cops”. An astonishing statement was made that “corrupt cops don’t kill anybody”—in pretended ignorance of the murders that inevitably flow if corrupt cops protect illicit operations that give rise to turf war and gang killings and also hinder investigations.
Also in January this year, I tried to demarcate what are the respective responsibilities of the Minister of National Security and the police.
It remains a pressing matter for the National Security Council and the Minister of National Security to consult on and bring before Parliament new constitutional arrangements for the management and operation of the Police Service.
These new arrangements must not only have effective policing as their objective. They must target corruption. As indicated last week, the existence of the rogue element in the police service is well documented since 1991.
For example, the 1993 Scotland Yard inquiry into our police service found the practice of “using rank to frustrate honest police action and grant concessions is an irregular but repeating occurrence that can generate large bonuses.”
I have previously mentioned the work of Guyanese born Professor Ivelaw Griffith, work that is probably as valuable, or even more so, than the metropolitan experts that we love so much.
In his paper, published in 1997 in the Penn State International Law Review, to which I referred earlier this year, citing the 1993 Scotland inquiry and other sources, Griffith adopted one definition of law enforcement corruption in the Caribbean as being institutionalised:
“Corruption becomes institutionalised when individuals within an institution are complicit in the trade and the institution acts as a shield against accountability.”
Arguably the entire establishment in our society is complicit either by giving dishonest assistance, or at least by being wilfully blind and happily sucking the juicy fruit of unduly influenced contracts and assorted freeness. That’s why items resembling cocaine pellets can be removed from a person’s stomach in a private nursing home without an appropriate response or investigation.
Not a Dick raised his voice about that.