By the end of the week, the smoke surrounding the Drugs Sou Sou (DSS) fiasco was billowing everywhere.
Four police officers were suspended; another 11 will be transferred. (That is from Trinidad alone; on Saturday a “branch” of the same operation in Tobago was closed down)
Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith declared that it had become very difficult for him to deal with this investigation.
The Prime Minister described the DSS matter as a "cancer," indicative of high levels of corruption in the police service, and reached out to Barbados and the UK for help.
Then the Police Commissioner was suddenly departing on leave he had postponed to deal with the DSS matter, apparently in need of a medical check-up.
What the public can already see through the smoke is damning enough.
After a raid on a house in La Horquetta, a video camera showed a soldier shoving an envelope from a room full of cash into his crotch.
The DSS stash was seized to be impounded, yet within hours the $22 million was abruptly returned.
From the day the scandal broke, Mr Griffith has been publicly exasperated by trying to get straight answers. Describing the resistance to his efforts as being stymied by "Trojan horses" within the police, the CoP, in a rare show of apparent humility, welcomed the plan to bring in external investigators.
The Prime Minister, head of the National Security Council, declared himself "disturbed." Like the CoP, he said, "I have not had the simplest of answers in that matter."
Everything about the DSS matter is startling.
A narrative of $22 million returned on orders from senior police officers with no reference to the CoP is appalling enough.
For a member of the Defence Force then to calmly declare himself the organiser of the project suggests high-level backing.
Dr Rowley was correct to identify the intractability of senior officers to provide acceptable answers on DSS as a threat to national security. He has moved, with as much political correctness as possible, to shift the CoP aside and taken direct control of the investigation.
The Prime Minister must be surgical and precise in his intervention. It appears both correct and shocking that it is necessary to bring in outside investigators, who can have no cocoa in the sun, to purge what seems to be a pervasive internal rot among the police.
He is likely facing a shadow organisation operating within the police service and the Defence Force that appears confident it can stand up to the combined will of the Police Commissioner and the Prime Minister.
That's a fire whose source to be identified and doused with dispatch.