I think most people are now aware of the arrest of Dennis Pamplin, the husband of former Opposition Deputy Leader, and current Shadow Minister of Works and Engineering, Patricia Gordon-Pamplin. Mr. Pamplin has been arrested on charges relating to importing up to $15 million of cannabis to Bermuda. The RG has an article on it here that details the charges and the story behind it.
Obviously Mr. Pamplin should be regarded as innocent until proven guilty, and I hope that he recieves due process. However, I don’t think I’m alone in saying that the circumstantial evidence really doesn’t look good, especially with his arrest last year (August 2007) in drugs-deal related charges. Furthermore this arrest will only fuel further speculation regarding who really controls the drug trade in Bermuda, speculation that has long alleged that the ‘Big Men’ of the drug trade here are really the rich and powerful families, many with political connections and links to the old Forty Theives. The farce of the Operation Cleansweep certainly strengthened these perceptions.
As I recall Operation Cleansweep, it had a slight racist tendency of targeting ‘black’ areas and dealers, mostly small drug operations. However, as it progressed it is understood to have increasingly led the police to investigate several high-profile Government (then the UBP) politicians, the only one that I recall being made public, John Irving Pearman, although other names were whispered of. Shortly after this development the then Commissioner, Colin Coxall, was forced to largely abort the police investigations and was ‘encouraged’ into early retirement. While the police report he had presented to the then Governor led the Governor to reccommend the resignation of Mr. Pearman, as far as I am aware no further action was taken, and investigations concerning the ‘Big Men’ were effectively wound up. Interestingly, it was Ms. Gordon-Pamplin’s sister, Pamela Gordon, who was the Premier at the time of this farce, and in many ways was responsible for the farce that Operation Cleansweep was.
Anyone with a better memory of the above, please feel free to correct my account, or add to it for the benefit of discussion.
I understand that Mr. Pamplin lives in the US for most of the time, and his relationship to Ms. Gordon-Pamplin is quite frankly none of my business. All the same I find it hard to believe that if Mr. Pamplin was involved in the alleged business of drug importation and dealing that Ms. Gordon-Pamplin could have been totally ignorant of his involvement. While his actions are his alone I don’t think that Ms. Gordon-Pamplin can escape this incident without increased speculation about her involvment.
Reflecting on it, I really do think that it might be best for her to resign her seat in the House of Assembly for the timebeing. This issue will only serve as a distraction for them, and if he is found innocent, then she can be appointed to the Senate until the next election. Thats my initial thought at least.
This will also I think raise connections to the now infamous drug sting involving former Opposition Leader Micheal Dunkley. Not to sure about any real connection, but the perception will certainly be there.
My general view on drugs…
On drugs in general I am actually for the decriminalisation and then legalisation of marijuana. I really don’t see that it is any worse of a drug than alcohol or tabacco, and should be controlled legally just as they are. I even believe that Dockyard could be converted into a ‘Little Amsterdam’ enclave to the great benefit of tourism (why fly to Holland from the States when a sub-tropical paradise is much closer?), and it is one location where it could be controlled quite well. Personally I don’t smoke, either tabacco or marijuana. My ‘drug’ is alcohol, mostly in the form of stouts, red wines and rum, all in moderation of course (I have always viewed alcohol as something to compliment a meal and not something consumed by itself for the purpose of getting drunk). I am however quite opposed to the ‘hard’ drugs, such as cocaine, herion and amphetamines. But I am open to the decriminalisation of mescaline and psilocybin.
As to the use of drugs here, I do think that it is extermely widespread. There is a perception that its consumption is limited mostly to the lower classes, the ‘usual suspects’ of ‘back-of-town.’ In my experience (and I affirm here, I am partial only to alcohol and have never really had any urge to experiment with other drugs despite the ease with which I could have), I am of the belief that drug use is no more widespread in back-of-town than in Fairylands or in Paget as opposed to Warwick. I’m even of the opinion it may well be more consumed in Fairylands and Paget than back-of-town or Warwick, although the more obvious addicts are concentrated in the back-of-town area. And I have no difficulty in accepting that the true ‘Big Men’ of the drug trade here are rich and politically powerful people.
While I have no interest in a witch-hunt, I do hope that any discussion arising here could be of benefit in really uprooting the cancer that is drugs in our community.