John Boy says: “Who knows they are probably contemplating not charging the business person . . . well let’s see how he/she gets out of this one! After all he/she may claim the “stuff ” was planted on his/her premises.”
Positive Lucian says: “How is it possible to charge some criminals immediately and release their names and yet it takes so long to charge others when the evidence is clear? Charging someone does not mean that they are guilty. I have to agree with the common sentiment being expressed that this has a lot to do with who is involved in the alleged crime. A crime is a crime. In fact the crimes that seem to be most “guarded” have more lasting effects than the ones where the police are quick to charge. There needs to be some kind of consistency.”
MLJ says: “Before long the evidence will disappear and they will walk, like they always do. They have their friends all over the judicial system.”
TOOT TOO BOOSHE’ says: “The police should charge someone for this huge haul of this illegal substance, lest they lose all the confidence and goodwill which has been coming their way!”
The above are just few of the comments posted on the STAR website in response to police making two drug busts in the island’s north. The general outcry from St Lucians is why hasn’t the local businessman been charged after 93.9lbs of compressed marijuana was found on his business compound.
The STAR spoke with the Assistant Police Commissioner in charge of Crime and Intelligence Frances Henry, who said there have been many significant drug seizures since late last year. Said Henry, “The police force has been under scrutiny and society has cast aspersions on us saying we only going after the small guys and we afraid to go after the big fish.
“As the executive we sat down and strategized and we can see our efforts are bearing fruit. We did research, we analyzed data and trends, both locally and internationally. We realized globalization has forced a lot of issues on us. Security is a major issue. We analyzed the intelligence and we know we are capable of handling our business. We have to do it.”
Henry admitted the recent drug seizures are part of Operation Restore Confidence. The Crime Chief says this operation has been successful so far. “We have the support of the community because we see more people coming in to give intelligence and evidence and we also have members of the community commending us for our efforts.”
We put the burning question to her, why haven’t charges been laid against the businessman arrested initially after the drug bust? She answered, “There is no special treatment for anyone. Once there is a drug bust, people’s expectations come to the fore. We cannot charge someone on assumptions.
“We have to have evidence. There are protocols we must follow and they differ by situations. After we execute a warrant, depending on the situation, we may or may not be able to charge a person immediately for an offense. Especially when we deal with certain levels of people and certain players, we have to ensure we dot all the I’s and cross all the T’s because if we don’t do a proper investigation then these people are allowed to get off and then the public rage is directed at us.
“We have to ensure our investigation is tight so we can ensure there is justice. In some circumstances we do not have the capacity to deal with the case right away. For example, if the case involves DNA we would have to send it away to be tested and so on.”
The businessman was arrested on Thursday March 16 following a raid on his place of business at Beausejour, Gros Islet and has yet to be charged. The marijuana was discovered on the premises in metal drums containing dishwashing liquid. The man has since been released on bail after submitting a medical certificate.
Said Henry, “In this particular case, we did nothing wrong. We followed protocol under the circumstances. We did what needed to be done and we hope to put this matter to rest soon.”
Commenting on the man being given bail before charges were laid Henry said, “When it comes to speculation as to why people get bailed for medical reasons, we operate under human rights guidelines.
“Our fundamental rights under the constitution are protected. If a suspect has a medical issue and it is brought to our attention by a medical professional, the police have an obligation to address it.”
Henry reinforced the police’s commitment to the people of St Lucia.
“We have to ensure that the public maintains a level of confidence in the police force. There is continuance in what we have been doing. We are relentless in our pursuit of the criminals in our society.”