Former top cop warns about police impersonators

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Former Police Commissioner Rawlston Pompey has advised law enforcement agencies to immediately develop strategies and ‘hunt down’ civilians who are impersonating officers in order to commit crime.
He warned that failure to nip the worrisome development in the bud could result in the erosion of the public’s trust in those who have sworn to protect and serve.
Pompey’s admonition came Thursday, a day after Charlesworth “Junie” Richards was gunned down at Ras Freeman in the wee hours, by perpetrators who had allegedly claimed to be from the Office of
National Drug and Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) but were reportedly dressed in blue coveralls similar to those worn by the police.
Police officers made a startling discovery while carrying out investigations at the crime scene – fields upon fields of cannabis plants.
And a total of 30, 938 marijuana plants were uprooted from the Ras Freeman compound and taken, along with 67 pounds of cured ganja, to the Police Headquarters on American Road.
Pompey has expressed concern that Narcotics Department officers entering the compound while the Crime Scene Investigators (CSI) were “processing” the site, could have resulted in “contamination”.
He however explained that since the drugs fell under “strict liability offences” the officers had no choice but to seize the
contraband in order to
protect the welfare of citizens.
Ras Freeman is a place of worship and gathering for Rastafari, according to well-known Rastafarian Franklyn ‘King Frank-I’ Francis.
He labelled the homicide on the holy ground and the raiding of the ganja fields as “sacrilege”.
The Rastafarian Elder said it appeared that the police officers were more concerned about confiscating the ganja than in investigating the killing that had prompted their presence on the compound.
“They were informed about the incident within half an hour of its happening and yet they did not make any attempt to follow up or set up a road block since a vehicle had left crashing through the gate,” Francis said.
He added that measures which would be expected in a more sophisticated crime fighting environment were “defused” by the officers’ interest in the herb.
Ganja is a cornerstone of the Rastafarian religion with it being used in a highly ritualised manner in order to enhance feelings of unity and help generate visions of a spiritual and soothing nature.
When asked what impact the seizure on Wednesday would have on the religious ceremonies at Ras Freeman, Francis responded: “That [marijuana] can barely suffice the needs of the Rastafarian community at Ras Freeman”.
He also said the near 31,000 ganja plants are a “drop in the bucket” of what is being produced in Antigua & Barbuda.
The economist, who sits on the CARICOM Marijuana Commission and the national Marijuana Decriminalisation Commit-tee, advised that the Antigua & Barbuda authorities can do nothing “credibly” and “realistically” unless they become aware that the country is a massive importer and utiliser of weed.

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