Let’s unite against drugs

Monday June 10, 2019 Written by Published in Opinion

The Meth Menace Campaign has captured  good positive reactions from the public. 

I have received some quite emotional phone calls about it.  Some people were nice enough to compliment me for my contribution in Cook Islands News, in the High Court in Avarua, and when shopping in town.

The heightened awareness is most gratifying.  We are establishing common ground to fight this scourge.  Let’s drain the swamp, then sift and sieve through it for evidence. 

Let’s bring the disciples of evil who bring the drugs into our country, before justice.  Let’s engage to fight the problem and not each other.  It is a desperate challenge to make a stand to fight it or take flight!

I will raise eyebrows in this article.  Can you honestly give examples of seeing young men and women walking along the streets, like zombies, aimless, blank, awkward, sometimes well dressed, sometimes not so good?  They walk the streets of Avarua, and on public roads around the island during the day. 

Sometimes they use bad language. 

They thankfully are pretty quiet.

The damage is there to be witnessed.  Why are we allowing the El Chapos and Escobars to get away?  Firstly, an anonymous intelligent article writer wrote an excellent dissertation about the drug problem.  He, within his rights, questioned the reality of my mention of the huge amounts of money being made by the dealers. 

I recall a famous line from Sherlock Holmes, “you see but you do not observe my dear Watson.”

Mate, it’s there right before your eyes.  There are businesses successfully operating as a front.  They bring in containers, motor vehicles, boxes and parcels by ship and by air.  Much of the illicit drugs are inside the tyres of motor vehicles, in cartons, inside containers and different types of boxes and receptacles.  They own properties in New Zealand and Australia!

There are no CCTV cameras on the wharf in Rarotonga and Aitutaki or around the cargo and strategic areas at the Rarotonga International Airport, Aitutaki, Atiu and outer island airports.  The drug dogs are under-used.  They must be bored with no work.

Study the assets of some individuals.  The assets are huge machinery, motor vehicles, accommodation units, far more than their income and revenues from their businesses.

Study the front line government agencies and the assets some individuals have accumulated or the elaborate functions they stage.

I am compelled to expose this as I have asked the Police and the Financial Intelligence Unit to investigate these over the past five years.  But yes the toxic truth is, nothing has happened.

About three years ago, a forensic accountant was brought over by a certain government department to study the business of some business people.  I was advised that one particular business cannot account for two thirds of its revenue.  These are people on the suspect list.  It is a criminal drug-related money laundering offence to have unexplained wealth.  No charges were ever laid. In fact, the results were concealed!

Some of the dealers are straw money lenders, commonly referred to in the mafia world as “loan sharks”.  They lend to select clients.  There are expensive properties on this island not funded by the banks.

There is no electronic monitoring equipment, the Police have authority to eavesdrop or tap telephones under the Narcotics and Misuse of Drugs Act.  Written authority must be obtained from a Judge in the High Court.

Such action is confined to drug dealing suspects, not random!  The Police must have probable cause to the satisfaction of the Judge.

Still everything stays cold and switched off.  As Sir Edmund Hilary once said, “nothing ventured, nothing gained”.

We need to resuscitate and breathe new oxygen into our Police Service.  To the new minister of Police Mac Mokoroa there’s fierce urgency to do something now!  This is no walk in the rose garden.  There is a grim necessity to act now!

Upgrade your equipment! Get help from New Zealand! Strategise! Establish enforcement common ground.  We had former NZ Police Commissioner Peter Marshall here for two years.  We were too polite, or more likely too stupid, to ask for help.

Let’s engage and fight the drug dealers, the disciples of evil. Adopt high confidence assessments.  And be mean and direct like the FBI and DEA!

Kua rava teia (enough!)

Ka Kite!

Norman George

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