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November 2003 - Commissioner of Police accepts what this site has been warning him of for years: Bermuda has a prolific drug trade.  for full story click here
In 2002, Bermuda Police made 1,300 seizures of drugs with a street value of $44 million – more than the Police budget for the year. Police Commissioner Jonathan Smith revealed that 800 arrests were also made that year, a worrying statistic with drugs accepted as being the cause of many other crimes.
He admitted that despite boasts at the volume of last year's haul, there was no way of knowing how much had got through – "how long is a piece of string" – but he was keen to praise officers for their work combating Bermuda's prolific drug trade.


July 2002: Head of Police watchdog organisation resigns

The Police Complaints Authority has lost its chairman and deputy chairman, both of whom resigned last month.
"I didn't see the Authority as being effective and I couldn't see any change coming forward to make it effective in the reasonable future and in my view it was too frustrating to continue," said Coles Diel, who has been the chairman of the Authority since it came into being in 1998.

Deputy chair Alan Dunch would only say that he shared Mr. Diel's concerns.

"The function that the Authority can perform in any community is a very important function," Mr. Diel said.
"But it's a waste of time making a complaint if nothing happens.

The law creating the Authority passed the House of Assembly in October 1998. Its purpose then was to create an independent civilian body to investigate complaints lodged against the Police. Prior to the legislation, complaints against the Police were handled and investigated by the Police : a civilian oversight committee existed but without any real authority.
Mr. Diel said that the legislation which created the Authority is "too cumbersome" for the body to work properly and that more administrative support was needed. Further the Authority does not have its own investigative staff which means that the Police still have substantial input in deciding the facts of a case.
"It's not really fair for members of the service to be involved in investigating their colleagues. It makes it a very difficult task," said Mr. Diel. "Really if you are going to have an independent investigation you should have investigators who are not involved in the service that is being investigated. That would be ideal."

"You're dealing with the rights of people here – the civilians as well as the Police - and you can't do it by bush justice," Mr. Diel said.

The members of the Authority have also been concerned that they are not in a position to prevent the Police from "whitewashing" a case once wrongdoing has been proved.  Discipline of wrongdoers rests solely with the Police Commissioner and Mr. Diel has been pushing for changes which would give the Authority an oversight role.
"The Authority should be in a position to prevent whitewashing or a slap on the wrist," said Mr. Diel.

Comment: the
island's Officers do not wish to give up their authority ... where's the fun in being a chief if you can't push a few indians about?  Being 'fair' and the 'rights' of people are not considerations for the Bermuda police service; rule by intimidation is the rule of senior officers and those wishing to progress themselves through the ranks.  Human rights and acting in a fair manner are for civilised organisations and communities, not the introverted, self-serving and self-protective.  Many officers are unable to investigate crime in the big wide and daunting world so they pick on their colleagues who fear for their careers and future.  You are talking about bullies who organise kangaroo courts, people who wish to remain unaccountable and to have their utterances treated as the law.

As long as the situation is permitted to remain the service will continue to be a second rate, immature organisation, held in distain by those who have experienced professional organisations.  Members of the service will continue to play at being police officers and the island appears to have accepted that this is the best they can get.  

see: discipline ... nothing has changed!

July 2002: another officer arrested

A second Police officer has been arrested in connection with an ongoing investigation into drugs and corruption in the Service.
Police spokesman Dwayne Caines announced that a female officer was arrested yesterday.
The 32-year-old woman was released on bail the same day and Mr. Caines said Police would not release any additional information on the matter.
“An active investigation has been ongoing for some time,” Mr. Caines said at the time. “Police are working vigorously to bring the case to a close.”
The move follows on the heels of a late May drug charges arrest of a male officer.
The male officer has yet to appear in court to answer formal charges on the matter but at the time of his arrest, Assistant Police Commissioner Carlton Adams said an internal investigation into allegations against a number of officers had been underway since last summer.
Mr. Adams said a Detective Chief Inspector and a number of other officers had been working the case since a red flag about corruption in narcotics was raised by a member of the public in August 2001.

Without wishing to say we told you so ... one only need read the entry for May 2002 below to understand that the problem is well known and worse than has been made public.

May 2002:              Officer arrested on drug charges

One sacrificial lamb to appease the public?  The problem is a lot worse than one police officer.  Possibly something will come out in the wash ... probably not.

The following was reported in the Royal Gazette

A serving Bermuda Police officer was arrested yesterday on drugs charges and is expected to appear in court this week.
At a press conference yesterday, Police refused to disclose any further details, but said an investigation launched last year after allegations were made against a number of Police officers is still ongoing.
The investigation began last year after a member of the public made corruption allegations against members of the Narcotics Department.
Assistant Commissioner Carlton Adams said yesterday: "I have an update on a significant development in our investigation into allegations made against a number of Police Officers.
"That investigation was commenced in August 2001 and that matter has been diligently pursued by a Detective Chief Inspector and a number of Police officers from that time to the present.
"Today, at 12 noon, a serving Police officer was arrested at Hamilton Police Station in connection with offences against the Misuse of Drugs Act 1972, and following consultations with the Director of Public Prosecutions, a court appearance is anticipated in the near future."
Mr. Adams would not elaborate on his statement, but he did say the "investigation is ongoing".
When asked if he was concerned that such allegations had been made against serving officers, he said: "Certainly, but I stand behind the integrity of the Officers of the Bermuda Police Service."

March 2002:              Soldiers up in arms over failed drug bust

The following was reported in the Royal Gazette by
Stephen Breen

Bermuda Regiment commander Colonel David Gibbons is to hold a clear-the-air meeting with soldiers who are furious at having been forced to take x-rays after they were suspected of carrying drugs back from annual camp in Jamaica.
The Royal Gazette
has been told seven corporals were among the seventeen soldiers pulled aside and they are so angry that they want to resign their posts and serve as privates.
The soldiers were detained at Bermuda International Airport on Saturday night following an intelligence report from Jamaica that some had smuggled drugs. They were later x-rayed at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
No drugs were found on any of them, although sniffer dogs at the Airport did detect a smell of cannabis from some of the soldiers.

Having worked when drug detection dogs have been employed, I am aware they are less than 100% effective.  Evidence of this is that annual competitions are held throughout the world - if the dogs were all 100% accurate, each dog would come joint (excuse the pun) top.  The dogs are an asset.

However, I would certainly not be comfortable stating that the sniffer dogs (more than one?) in Bermuda 'did detect a smell of cannabis'.  The dogs appear to have reacted.  Just what they reacted to will never be known, the assumption, based on experience is that this was a narcotic.

Are Bermuda's dogs trained specifically for cannabis and nothing else?  Does Bermuda have the luxury of acquiring dogs for specific drugs?  Possibly the reaction to each drug is different? - maybe not.  Could it have been cocaine, heroin (or something else)?  If so, the report is undermined.  Just what was the reaction (to 'cannabis') and would it have been different with cocaine of heroin?  If not, then the Royal Gazette report is flawed, possibly naive.

To which soldiers did the dogs react positively?  Were they the only soldiers x-rayed?  If not, why not?

How are Bermuda's dogs further trained after initial training period?  Is the training they undergo conducted regularly, appropriately and comprehensively?

The sniffer dogs appear to have reacted to something.  We are not told what the reaction was and the dogs are hardly likely to expand on their findings.  Did any of the soldiers associate with bitches when in Jamaica?

Is the reporting accurate or is the newspaper report intentionally, recklessly or carelessly biased?   Is the Royal Gazette simply churning out spoon-fed remarks?  Do the journalists consider the content of their articles?  Is the real 'story' about the drug dogs, not the soldiers? 

Did you read the article above and form the impression that the Royal Gazette considers the soldiers had been in contact with cannabis?

On reflection, are you satisfied that the quality of reporting is all it could be?  Would you like to know more ... or are you another who accepts everything at face value?  It appears there is something every wrong with the situation.  Brush it under the carpet if you wish to Bermuda, but is it symptomatic of a bigger problem?

I read that a dog apparently reacted to something. I would not be comfortable stating that the dogs did smell cannabis, but then I have always been a stickler for a little thing called 'evidence' and the reporter probably has far better experience than I and questioned the facts before placing the comments to paper ...

Police abuse islander's human rights ... surely not?   :-)

Top cop defends roadblocks
(extracts from)

By Karen Smith

Police Commissioner Jonathan Smith last night promised to continue the campaign to make arrests for the remaining 6,000 outstanding warrants – and said the Attorney General’s Chambers had assured him officers were acting within the law.
The Commissioner said since a warrant team had been activated a few weeks ago, more than 900 warrants had been wiped off the wanted list, resulting in fines worth thousands of dollars being paid....

Mr. Smith spoke out after defence lawyer Larry Mussenden accused the Police of acting outside of the Constitution and of “trampling” on people’s rights to move freely by setting up random stops and road blocks.  He said he was appalled that Police were unjustly stopping people without having “reasonable grounds”.

 As of yesterday he said there were 6,177 warrants outstanding, and noted the courts were issuing up to 200 warrants every week.

Besides the volume of work involved, he said the Police did not have cell capacity to be rounding up dozens of people every day.

Anyone wishing to see if a warrant is out against them should call Hamilton Police station on 299-4500.
comment: is the excessive number of warrants indicative of high crime, a high disregard for the law or police incompetence?  Approximately one warrant for every 10 head of population and one police officer for every 100 head of population.  Still think the island does not have serious problems?

Start the year as you mean to go on?

Thursday, January 3, 2002
By Nea Talbot

The first monthly arraignment session of 2002 saw several Jamaicans appearing in Supreme Court on separate drug importation charges suggesting that drug trafficking to Bermuda is big business for foreigners.
Wheelchair bound Jamaican national and alleged cocaine smuggler Patrick Joseph Scarlett pleaded not guilty to importation and possession of 1.7 kilos of powder cocaine on October 24.
Calvin Henry Doeman, 28, also from Jamaica entered a guilty plea, for one of four counts of importation and possession before his lawyer was present. However once Victoria Pearman did arrive, she halted the court proceedings in order to advise her client to plead to not guilty.
And three other Jamaicans, Andrew Nathaniel Hall 37, Barris Dawkins (aka Rudolph Everton Pusey) 45, and Teartia Laverna Smith, 38, appeared before Mr. Justice Ward to answer to charges of conspiracy to import, importation and possession of heroin on March 24.
Smith pleaded guilty to importing a quantity of heroin, while lawyers for Hall and Dawkins/Pusey requested to have the charges against their clients thrown out.
comment: this has been known for years and Bermuda needs to consider the problem recently reported in the UK given the very high price of cocaine and cannabis on the island(s) see: UK Daily Telegraph report

January 2002 - DRUG SEIZURES UP

Police arrests for drugs offences and seizures of narcotics rose dramatically last year. The Bermuda Police Service reported that total arrests rose by 19 percent to 496 and seizures of all drugs except cannabis, increased by 12 percent to 853. Drugs seized at the airport jumped 55 percent to 48 incidents and street arrests rose from 389 to 433. The number of women arrested for drugs offences almost doubled from 28 in 2000 to 54, while the number of males arrested was up 14 percent to 442.




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