Wolves and sheep and white collars

Well, it came straight from the horse’s mouth –– so to speak. And, if one can bear with the mixed metaphors, we have now been burdened, like pack mules, with the debilitating thoughts and imageries of many a wolf strutting among us in sheep’s clothing. We may have produced our very own adaptation of George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

The thread of thinking remains the same, though. All the transgressors in the illicit drug trade are equal; but the white-collared ones are more equal –– at least, that’s what the latter highfalutin criminals believe –– and for sure less identifiable!

But Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith will have none of it –– not as long as he is in charge!

“I am going to make sure,” the police chief told a gathering of Rotarians at Bagatelle Great House in St Thomas on Tuesday night, “that we do all to weed out those persons, small or big, who are involved in criminal activity.”

Commissioner Griffith was speaking in particular to those Pharisaic Barbadians striding and sashaying about the place,  with heads held high and tongues frothing forth on respectability and the tenets of social conduct, while malevolently financing the Barbados illegal drug trade.

And the chief offered no doubt that he was aware the financiers of drug trading in this nation of ours could be found among the white-collar criminals in our midst.

Such high and mighty misdeeds, as officially announced by Mr Griffith, is not exactly recent news. Rumours of such wrongdoing in sheltered places have quietly made the rounds for years now, with little or no official backup –– until now. Clearly, the commissioner does not fancy the notion of privileged citizens of this country believing they are above the law.

But what is particularly disturbing and discomfiting is that these white-collar felons could be, or might be bankrolling hits and executions, engendering fear –– even terror –– in the hearts of ordinary Barbadians well outside of the intended targets and victims, or those who run afoul of the code of conduct of the illicit drug trade. To be blunt, in the current circumstances of increased gun abuse, the police chief’s submission that the average Barbadian person going about his business has little to fear from these fire power missions may be overly positive; and we advise that the state of extremity might be better placed in the private and public caution we exercise in respect of our own personal safety –– the law-abiding ones of us.

Today’s prevalent use of the gun naturally follows the high illegal importation of a device that is an obviously life-threatening hazard to our communities. That there is some laxity at the formal points of entry is unchallengable, given the number of unlicensed weapons in the country. And Commissioner Griffith has our sympathy when he laments the unsatisfactory performance of some of the Government agencies responsible for stymying the entrance of contraband.

It is difficult to grasp illegal guns making their way successfully through our Postal Service or Customs Department where officers boast having weather eyes, and where from the tiniest box to the broadest barrel are dissected or disembowelled on the picking up. Given Mr Griffith’s specific complaint, we may even have to debone these imported gun-bearing television sets as well.

But the informal doors of entry are not to be downplayed. As the commissioner pointed out, simple fishing vessels go out and return without being checked –– which exercise, to be truthful, may face the challenge of practicality in  many a circumstance. It comes down to this: that as a people, our safety yet hangs on the principles of honesty, integrity and social responsibility; and these qualities are not only to be found among the noble of the white-collar class.

It is customary, it has been said, for most white-collar crime to go undetected, and consequently the perpetrator unprosecuted and unpunished. Thus misconduct that embosoms violence by the gun, as a matter of course, to reinforce selfish gain conjures up executive gangsters eluding the arms of justice, as their disposable, gullible and villainous soldiers possibly pay the price, while a community chokes in unwarranted despair and dread as the police seek to instil confidence and peace of mind for remedy.

We cannot have these white-collar criminals ever bringing us trembling to our knees. We must therefore do whatever we can as individuals in supporting the police in their relentless pursuit of those felons –– within the drug ring and without –– who practise their serious crime and art of gunplay on the misled and the innocent among us. And may they lead us to their “fathers” in their “haven”!

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