ACTING Commissioner of Police (CoP) McDonald Jacob said on Saturday not only law-enforcement officers but members of the public should pay special attention to what is happening regarding the $22 million Drugs Sou Sou (DSS) scandal.
At a PNM public meeting in Belmont on October 15, the Prime Minister said the Government has asked for British and Barbadian police officers to come to TT to investigate.
CoP Gary Griffith, who is on leave, agreed on Friday with Dr Rowley's position.
He urged all police officers to co-operate fully with the foreign investigators and warned failure to do so could result iin suspension or criminal charges against non-compliant officers.
So far four police officers have been suspended and another 11 transferred as a result of investigations into the scandal
Asked if the probe signalled a tangible effort to deal with rogue elements in the police ranks, Jacob replied, "My statement wouldn't be based on that. My statement would be based on the question of the way how this process, this whole scheme, is being conducted.
"It provides the right environment for persons who are involved in illegal activity and who are into money laundering and other things to get involved."
Jacob said this issue resonates with a joint statement issued in August by the Central Bank, Financial Intelligence Unit and the Securities and Exchange Commission about the dangers of pyramid schemes. In that statement, the three entities said traditional sou-sou arrangements are one of the forms that pyramid schemes can take.
Jacob said the police service regulations clearly state that police officers should not get involved in any activities which can bring the service into disrepute.
The public must avoid these schemes at all costs, he said, because it could create "a tremendous overload" on the Fraud Squad if it had to investigate a plethora of cases where people invest and lose their money in such questionable ventures.
Former minister in the ministry of national security Subhas Panday said, "The Prime Minister has said what everybody knows. There is rampant corruption in the police service."
Panday added, "It seems to me that the police service is very lethargic in dealing with its own members. How that could happen?"
Panday declared the DSS is not a sou-sou.
"Those of us who are old enough and come from the country, know what a sou-sou is."
He said everyone who invests in a sou-sou gets back everything they invested.
He added, "There is no payment for the person who is organising the sou-sou."
He felt the DSS probe could be a tangible effort to deal with the long-standing problem of rogue police officers.
Panday also believed this unaccounted $22 million sized from and then returned to the DSS poses a direct national security threat, as Dr Rowley said. He warned that money could be used by criminals to buy arms, ammunition and drugs "without any money trail."
Former national security minister Carl Alfonso described the DSS scandal as "shameful, disgusting, dishonest and obscene." He said it pained him as the son of a police officer and former chief of staff of the TT Defence Force (TTDF).
"Getting rid of the bad eggs from our law-enforcement agencies is certainly a welcome exercise. We need all the help we can get."
Over the years, there have been several attempts to deal with rogue elements in the police service.