Pubdate: Mon, 30 Jun 2003
Source: Royal Gazette, The (Bermuda)
Copyright: 2003 The Royal Gazette Ltd.
Author: Matthew Taylor


Public Safety Minister Terry Lister has ruled out a "Clean Sweep" style
crackdown on the Island's drug dealers.

He said newly arriving police officers had been used for undercover
operations but only for short periods because they soon became known in such
a small place.

But he said there was no plan to get in overseas undercover policemen for
covert anti-drugs operations as in the 1990s operation where they bought
small amounts of drugs from dealers and filmed them using hidden cameras.

Mr. Lister told The Royal Gazette: "Once you back off from Operation Clean
Sweep you have to ask yourself what it really accomplished.

"Just about everybody who went to court was a street corner drug pusher. Mr.
Big did not come out of that."

Then Police Commissioner Colin Coxall, who masterminded the scheme, has
always contended the small pushers would lead to nabbing the main players
but the operation had been stopped by Government before it got to that

But Mr. Lister said the former United Bermuda Party government was right to
do that.

He said: "It cost them a lot of money to get some very small people.

"At the end of the day you have to measure who went to jail. Nobody went
other than street corner people."

Pressed on the earlier abortion of Clean Sweep Mr. Lister said: "I would
like to say they were 90 percent through given the money that was spent."

He said hundreds of thousands of dollars had been spent with little to show
for it.

Mr. Lister said Government's chief weapon in the drugs war was intelligence
but he admitted locals preferred jail to informing on their friends.

He said: "Every time we arrest someone on the cruise ship, we are trying to
get to who it is they made contact with, who it is they are working with in

"Every time we catch people at the airport it is the same thing.

"They are the people most likely to pass out information we want because the
local people very quickly close up.

"We don't get a lot from locals because they are more inclined to say 'I
will do the time'.

"I don't know whether it is because of retribution or whatever but they
choose to go that route."
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