Cops prepared to tackle corruption in illegal quarrying

File photo of Snr Supt Kerwin Francis. Photo by Angelo Marcelle
File photo of Snr Supt Kerwin Francis. Photo by Angelo Marcelle

Police from the Multi Agency Task Force say they are prepared to aggressively tackle cases of illegal quarrying and have partnered with other units to root out corrupt elements from state agencies.

Earlier this year, head of the Northern Division Snr Supt Kerwin Francis revealed that officials from state agencies were either willingly involved or forcibly coerced into facilitating illegal quarrying either through fraudulent paperwork or other means.

Responding to those concerns, ASP Leon Haynes of the Multi Agency Task Force, at a police media briefing on Thursday, said he was aware of claims of corruption from state agencies, noting that his unit worked closely with other investigative arms to treat with those elements.

Referring to a recent incident where an investigation was launched after documents bearing the forged signature of the Commissioner of State Lands were being circulated, Haynes said his Task Force took those claims of malfeasance very seriously.

"That is a clear fact that we have agencies that are somewhat complicit in this, but when we work with other agencies we also have a close relationship with the Anti Corruption Investigations Bureau (ACIB) and the Professional Standards Bureau. So when we get this intelligence or information we act on it.

"So as this comes up, it is investigated and dealt with, but the only way we can treat with that is to fix it.

"We have robust laws, we have competent officers and not all officers are complicit. So when are faced with this, people are investigated and people are charged for these kinds of things."

Haynes said, while several people had complained of being threatened or forced off of their land, enquiries revealed that they were not legally entitled to occupy the land in the first place.

He said illegal occupation was usually the first step towards illegal quarrying.

"When people illegally occupy state lands, soon after they fight because there are no boundaries. It results in gangs being involved and violent crimes.

"What we're looking at to stop the violence, to stop the shooting for state land is for the State to take back it's land. So we said, when we do that, we will reduce the violence because there will be no need for these occupiers to fight for land afterwards."

Haynes said since the formation of the Multi Agency Task Force in 2018, 127 operations were conducted that led to the seizure of 13 trucks, eight excavators, one bulldozer and the charging of 11 people.


"Cops prepared to tackle corruption in illegal quarrying"

More in this section