'We have been effective' - Anti-corruption arm says cloud of silence is deliberate
Barrington Flemming, Gleaner Writer
ASSISTANT COMMISSIONER of Police Carl Williams has said despite the perceived silence of the five-month-old Major Organised Crime and Anti-Corruption Task Force (MOCA), it has been effective and will be cracking down on businesses known to be financial backers of organised crime units.
ACP Williams told The Gleaner on Wednesday that the "cloud of silence" was a deliberate strategy to keep away from publicity to ensure that the initial successes of the task force would not be stunted.
"So our targets really at MOCA are the big crime bosses who are operating with impunity for years and years. We are also going to be looking at those people who are the facilitators of these organised crime bosses, including corrupt lawyers, bankers accountants and all those people who help these organised crime bosses to launder their money or to conceal it, or who help them materially or otherwise in any way to perpetrate crime in the country."
ACP Williams, who was the keynote speaker at the 'Securing a Nation Expo' staged by the University of the West Indies' Western Jamaica Campus' CARIMAC Public Relations Class of 2013 at the Half Moon Conference Centre, Montego Bay, on Wednesday, said MOCA was here to ensure that no drug don or organised crime boss continues with his operation as an untouchable.
"When I joined the police force 30 years ago, I was told of a man who operated somewhere in Jamaica who was a big, big crime boss - drug don - and 30 years later he is still in his position virtually untouched by the criminal justice administration. These crime bosses get someone to do their dirty work for them while they insulate themselves. So basically, MOCA is here to ensure that there is no insulation between them and criminal prosecution."
In highlighting the successes of the task force, ACP Williams said since February, 32 major operations have been carried out and several smaller ones, from which 368 persons were arrested, with fewer than 30 charged for counts of fraud or larceny by false pretence, as they cannot be arrested for lottery scam offences as they don't exist.
"We have seized 123 vehicles. Of that number, seven have been forfeited to the Crown and we are looking to have others; two firearms seized, and more than $30 million in varying currencies, 80 computers with incriminating evidence, 500 cellphones with incriminating evidence. So we have disrupted it, but it is still here."
ACP Williams, who heads MOCA, said while the security force and its stakeholders have reaped success in disrupting the activities of some major crime bosses, he was now concerned and is warning people to brace for another wave of crime from the jaded lotto scammers, who still have their guns and will be prepared to turn them on the communities if nothing is done to curtail them now.