EDITORIAL: Questions on security and regional crime
Of all the pressing matters to be addressed by CARIC0M Heads of Government at their Port-of-Spain Summit later this week, crime and security will undoubtedly command special attention, either in a caucus or regular session.
Regional and international institutions and agencies are now increasingly lamenting the negative effects that endemic crime are having on initiatives for economic development with growth and jobs creation. There is also the related factor of organized crimes undermining efforts to improve the quality of governance.
Since, therefore, crime/security is one of the major pillars of CARICOM, it is reasonable to presume that when the Prime Ministerial Sub-committee dealing with such matters meets during the summit, time would be taken to address a particular public warning that came last week from the acting executive director of the Community’s Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), Francis Forbes.
A former Commissioner of the Jamaica Police Constabulary, Forbes made his disquieting disclosure at an investment forum in Guyana that “rogue lawmen” were colluding with criminal organizations, for financial benefits, to undermine the rule of law.
Participants in the forum, organized in cooperation with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), were told how these rogue elements, located in national law-enforcing agencies, were corrupting vital revenue-earning state agencies.
Recalling that the initial “crime and security strategy” by CARICOM leaders had resulted in formation of IMPACS as a permanent mechanism, Forbes underscored how organized criminals were currently exploiting the latest in cyber technology to defraud governments and the business sectors, including banks.
A question of immediate relevance is whether the former Police Commissioner had earlier alerted, via the IMPACS mechanism, those directly involved in the decision-making processes to the dangers being posed to the rule of law by these “rogue lawmen” functioning as “partners” of organized criminals?
Further, was the distressing scenario painted at the Investment Forum in Guyana by the IMPACS executive director previously outlined to CARICOM governments, in particular cabinet ministers responsible for crime and security matters?
If not, why not? And if so done, then the Heads of Government participating in this week’s summit must give some indication to the region’s public of how they intend to effectively deal with such “rogue” elements in the interest of security.