How could the lotto scam work?
The issue of the lotto scam has again hit the headlines with the arrest of some prominent political figures. A few journalists are screaming at civil society to "say something". But civil society is busy.
I can remember being stopped by a policeman in Half Way Tree one night and ordered on to a side road. I was then ushered into the back seat of a police car where a young man was sitting. He wanted some information about an enterprise I owned on the outskirts of Spanish Town. He turned out to be one of the dons responsible for the hostage status that existed in Spanish Town. I was released in two minutes. Long after I had stopped shaking, I continued to be amazed that such a person could be chauffeured by a man whose salary I was helping to pay - and in a car I was helping to pay for. I decided to try to learn - from a distance - as much as I could about the siege of Spanish Town. Every new lesson increased my sense of amazement. Nothing was done in secret. Young men, moving with the confidence of Island Traffic Authority officials, were collecting cash and making entries in books. Business people were either paying or paying a price. Communities were in terror. And many were dying.
In Montego Bay, I was never able to understand how something as transparent as the lotto scam could work. Every time I turned on my TV I won something. I simply responded that I was elated and could the sum required of me be deducted from my winnings. I am still waiting.
It seems, however, that many lost much. Not just that. Many lives were snuffed out by the operators of this programme. Apart from lip service, nothing of consequence was done until the Americans took notice.
I have started to ignore the pontifications of those in authority when it comes to crime. If it is that they are sincere about fighting crime, why is it that all the modern crime-fighting technology has been studiously kept from our shores? Why do we have to be learning about them on Law and Order?
I am not joining others and calling party names.
I am writing to say that Spanish Town and Montego Bay are not one-horse towns in the Wild West of 1850. They are thriving centres of commerce, each with more than one police station. The nation needs to understand that it is impossible for a few underprivileged boys to start a criminal enterprise, see it take root and flourish to these proportions unless it has the support of people of power and influence.