A Heather Cole Column – People Get Ready

Steven Weare, murdered in Barbados

People get ready, there’s a train a comin’
You don’t need no baggage, you just get on board
All you need is faith, to hear the diesels hummin’
Don’t need no ticket, you just thank the Lord! – Curtis Mayfield

I now have a firm belief that the Commissioner of Police is a praying man. I can even picture him on bended knee, night after night talking to God. We all Know that God answers prayers in the strangest way his wonders to perform. For the strangest of things has happened to cause one to marvel especially when we thought that nothing would happen.

Sometime ago in the midst of criminal problems facing the island, the Commissioner of Police lamented that his hands were tied. One could have taken his statement to mean that political interference was preventing him from undertaking his constitutionally bound duties of solving crime, apprehending criminals, fighting corruption and raging a battle against illegal fire arms and drugs.

One can now recall that since the national conversation again turned to illegal firearms, murder and violence that some politicians have been noticeably quiet. Even the Prime Minister of Barbados did not address or bring to the table any solutions that would impact or negate the action of those who were importing drugs and firearms into the country.

Then all of a sudden, an Englishman was murdered and it was not just a crime. It was a crime that exposed several crimes. The murder of the Englishman opened Pandora’s Box not only in Barbados but internationally as it is alleged that all involved are now connected to a ring of drugs, fire arms, car theft, bribery and money laundering. The sex, lies and video tapes are yet to be discovered. What is unfolding seems reminiscent of a script of some movie on an exotic island but alas it is not; it is unfolding right in Bim.

The Commissioner is now the most powerful man in Barbados. Along with the burden of Pandora’s Box came the relief of a Scotland Yard investigation. This crime can be the leverage that he uses to his advantage to untie his hands. It is he who is responsible for gathering evidence. It is he who will decide if the guilty will be brought before the Court of Law and be prosecuted. Most of all, it is he who will have to decide that his words and actions are not egregiously misaligned. One will therefore find out if he has the balls to untie his hands or sweep this muck under the carpet. One hopes that he will remember to show no mercy to the merciless and unscrupulous persons who are bent on destroying Barbados for personal gain.

We all know the facts that have been reported in the newspaper. Five men have been arrested for the murder of an Englishman who was residing in Barbados. It is alleged that the Englishman was importing stolen vehicles for resale onto the Barbadian Market. It is also alleged that he was involved in the guns and drug trade as well as money laundering. Furthermore, there are allegations that recently, 7 vehicles were imported by the Englishman for 2 members of the ruling Administration. It is alleged that no duties were paid on vehicles imported by the deceased thereby defrauding the government of import duties.

Then there is the politics of this all. How does and will this impact politics in Barbados? With eight months to go one would have believed that DLP would have held onto power until elections were constitutionally due. Now I have my doubts. All is in crisis. An Englishman was murdered and his death has turned Barbados upside down. Will this all lead to a constitutional crisis? What if anything does the Constitution say about such actions if the allegations bear fruit? Will the Prime Minister open his mouth to utter a word about corruption at the heart of his government or is he too consumed making allegations of elitism against the Leader of the Opposition to have discovered what has been happening under his watch? One cannot help but wonder what would happen if we had an extradition treaty with the UK. Could the conspirators be somehow extradited? When will the Cabinet implode? When will the election be called?

Now the Commissioner of Police does not hold appointment but this fate can be sealed by the politicians just as occurred to the previous holder of his position. But this Commissioner now has Scotland Yard at his disposal. He does not have a crystal ball to see the future in terms of predicting what will happen but for now he now has the ability to shape it. To shape his future with respect to having his hands free of political interference to perform his duties. The guilty will seek cover. While they could have prevailed in home grown inquiry where the outcome would be swept under the carpet, not so with a Scotland Yard investigation.

While I do not know the extent or the context of the investigation, one can only envisage that the opening of this Pandora’s box may well be like the tip of an iceberg. How could the nation have elected persons who have placed a yoke of economic strangulation on the necks of their children and willfully fed then a steady diet of drugs, guns and violence? At the end of it all, the Commissioner must report to the people of Barbados regarding his investigation and bring the guilty to justice. When all is said and done, I firmly believe that the Commissioner said “thank the Lord” so let us get ourselves ready for the general elections.