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New law may help Govt go after ‘Mr Big’

by Barbados Today
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Damien Sands

A Government senator suggested today that law enforcement target the proverbial ‘Mister Big’ – the invisible hand driving serious crime – and move beyond “boys on the block” as its key target in the war on crime.

And Senator Damien Sands, a lawyer, indicated that the Proceeds and Instrumentalities of Crime Bill could help authorities go after crime’s higher echelons, as the legislation moved through the Upper House.

The Senator suggested that the real criminal was the person calling the shots – the ones not in handcuffs and in court yards.

He declared: “The landscape has changed the way in which criminals operate. We don’t have street level criminals living lavishly. When you read the newspapers there seems to be a common sentiment when they interview [people in] the village and communities. They would suggest the young boy that you’ll accuse doesn’t have the means or network to import a firearm. We don’t manufacture firearms here so somebody else is the source.

“The person we see being arrested and convicted they do the leg work those are the ones we see law enforcement apprehending. We only see the end product we only see where the crimes are committed . . . . We don’t see where the crimes began. The reason for that is because there exist the link, the connect, the facilitator, this invisible hand, that controls the underworld while not directly involved in the underworld. It is extremely hard to link those types of persons to the offences we see being committed because they don’t leave finger prints cause they don’t touch anything. A phone call a direction and everything else falls into place that is the most that some of them may do.”

Senator Sands said the only way to fight crime was to get more serious and modernised about crime-fighting, indicating his support for the bill which will empower the Government to reach back in time and seize the assets of crimes dating 20 years.

He continued: “Yes, we are getting convictions. We are putting persons behind bars but we are not dealing with the problem. We are dealing with the result after the fact. In order to fight crime in a 21st Century Barbados a bill like this is needed. We need to approach it in a practical modern and fair way. Having acknowledged that the current criminal has become sophisticated, what this new legislation does is enhance the framework by expanding its scope, by creating tentacles that are far reaching.”

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