15 June, 2007

Missing Evidence

Police and Crime. From time to time I get an email that stirs my curiosity. If it is about the police, my ears prick up. Our police force in Anguilla is relatively clean. For it to remain so, will require continuous vigilance by all concerned. That means you and me. We have to keep our eyes and ears open. When we learn anything suspicious, we have to open our mouths. No keeping quiet and not getting involved. Not if you want to remain safe. The integrity of the police forces of many of our neighbours, by comparison, has long ago been compromised.

There is nothing more frightening than a corrupt police force. It has been aptly described as an armed gang, backed by the full force of the State. Corrupt elements of the police force of Antigua control all drugs importation and distribution in that country. They own and run the whorehouses of St John’s. They control “security” at the casinos, and run all the illegal ones. They collect “protection money” from every little business on the sidewalk. In Grenada, St Vincent, St Kitts and St Lucia, corrupt police officers control prostitution, gambling and drugs trafficking. Police and Immigration officers openly usher Dominicanan prostitutes through the airports when they arrive. The main use of police cars in those countries is to distribute drugs to the approved outlets. In those islands, the only persons ever accused and charged in court are from the unauthorised competition. The Grenada Coast Guard distinguished itself after Hurricane Ivan by mounting a series of piracy attacks on boats bringing hurricane relief to the island. Typically, these police forces protect themselves by collecting evidence of corruption by politicians and businessmen. There is nothing such police like more than a prosecutor or an attorney general with a penchant for little girls, or better still little boys. They collect the evidence and then use it as blackmail to keep them quiet. The business communities and the professions in those islands know all about this state of affairs. They discuss it in hushed tones among themselves. They put up with this outrageous situation for one of two reasons. A few refuse to believe it is happening all around them. More often, they are too terrified to do more than give you a knowing wink and a nod when the subject of police corruption comes up.

So, it was with some unease that I read an email received recently from a correspondent. It raised fears. It read:

Check the Kristy Richardson thread on anguillatalk. Go to the second page of comments - there's not much of interest on the first page, a lot of whining by Yanchie and others about how young mothers should be exempt from criminal laws, including smuggling large amounts of illegal drugs.

The first entry on page two from Rudeboy alleges that the substantial amount of drugs she was convicted for is missing!

Now drive around in back of the police station and look at how many of them drive cars that are more expensive than the average.

You may ask, why did I not take my concerns to the Commissioner of Police? What in the world would I do such an idiotic thing for? The Commissioner’s job is to defend the members of the force from unwarranted attack. Notice that the correspondent did not offer a single name of an officer who might have stolen the drugs. Nor did the poster on anguillanews.com provide any details that can be checked by an outsider. Only the police know what is missing from the Evidence Room. Any Commissioner would strenuously deny to someone like me that even one ounce of the stuff was missing. There is no regulatory body of any kind that we can take any concern to. Besides, the Commissioner read the post on anguillanews.com just as my correspondent did. I did not hear any loud protest emanating from police headquarters.

The question is this: did the drugs disappear?


  1. The four security agencies are very vital and play an importnt role in society. Customs, Labour Immigration and the Police. They should stand out among the rest. I hope that they stand above board. I attended the meeting last evening and I listened I reliase that these agencies are more so important in these challenging times and they must be clean. I listened to a man as he commented on each of the speaker's as they spoke and I realize that important departments like immigration and the labour are only in name they are not functioning or they are not allowed to function,the police is still under the governor so the poliicians can not totally get involved without the governor knowing, then another man said the shift around of the heads of these department this was done by design. These people were placed they would ask no question and they would tell no tale. What a thing in Anguilla. Lord have mercy on us.

  2. Keithley BenjaminJune 21, 2007 4:39 pm

    Dear Mr. Mitchell,

    I was referred to your June 15 2007 publication on the above subject due to inference that members of the RAPF is responsible for the disappearance of the drugs the subject of Kristy Richardson matter and the implication in your conclusion that there is some truth and that is why you did not hear any loud protest emanating from police headquarters.

    I have no desire to engage in any loud protest particularly when you made it clear to me that you do not intend to present a fair view because that is not the purpose of your blog. I think if you did plan to present a balance position you would have made some inquiry before you decided to run with what your correspondent had to say and you would have learned that the drugs in the Kristy matter is not even in Police Evidence Room but rather in the confines of the court. Hence the answer to you question, the missing evidence is safely within the custody of the court and will soon be destroyed and you will be invited to witness the destruction.

    I will be surprised if this position finds any space in any of you future publications.

    Yours Truly

    Keithly Benjamin.

  3. There are many questions about many police matters. We hear them often, but the police simply ignore them. If Commissioner Benjamin persists in creating the impression that his administration is arrogant and secretive, he should not be surprised to learn that he has lost the trust of the people to the extent that some of us have given up expecting meaningful answers.

    Justice Mitchell's expectations of the police administration reflect that of the community. To attack him for this is to attack all of us. It is the lowest form of cheap politics. We have quite enough desperate, defensive, offensive, arrogant cheap politicians in Anguilla, thank you. What we need from the police is openness, transparency, accountability, professionalism and - most of all - leadership.

    Stop your whining, Benjamin, and start doing your job.


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