Miller demands answers in explosives case
(CNS): The independent MLA for North Side is demanding answers regarding the investigation into the premier’s memo sent to the collector of customs in connection with a recent case of illegally imported explosives. Ezzard Miller said the people of Cayman are being let down by the authorities, who are allowing the issue to be swept under the carpet because of the office held by McKeeva Bush. The outspoken MLA said that since the company was recently convicted, there is no question that an offense occurred and the letter sent by the premier asking for the release of those explosives must be considered as an attempt to pervert the course of justice.
“We have seen recently how the director of public prosecution’s office has arrested and charged people on the flimsiest of evidence in connection with several firearms cases,” he said. “The courts have decided against them, throwing the cases out or acquitting those involved. Here we have a ‘smoking gun’ in the memo sent by the premier and nothing at all has happened. Police don’t normally wait until they are 100% certain of a conviction before they arrest an individual. Why is it different in this case?” Miller asked rhetorically.
The MLA was referring to the recent controversial case in which Midland Acres admitted importing explosive materials and blasting caps without the correct permits. The owner of the company, Suresh Prasad, pleaded guilty on its behalf to four counts and was fined a total of $1,300 by a magistrate last month. However, before Prasad was arrested and charged the premier had written to the collector of customs requesting the release of the seized materials.
In the wake of that conviction, Miller said, the premier’s involvement now had to be addressed in the courts. He said the law should apply to everyone equally, regardless of high office, and it was plain for everyone to see the premier’s memo to the collector of customs was sufficient for an arrest as it was an attempt to circumvent the law.
“The authorities need to let the courts decide this issue and if they clear the premier of any wrongdoing, then so be it, but this suspicion and uncertainty is adding to the instability of the country that the current incompetent UDP administration has already created,” Miller added.
According to Police Commissioner David Baines, the premier’s efforts to have the explosives released forms part of a third investigation that the RCIPS is currently conducting into the premier. The first is into a land deal that Bush was involved in with developer Stan Thomas in 2004 and the second has merely been described as other “financial irregularities".
Miller said that whatever the situation with the other investigations, the premier must be called to answer for his part in this case and explain why he felt he was above the law. He said the premier, as the minister responsible for customs, had to realize that the importation was illegal.
So far, the only public comment the premier has made about this case in particular was that he was trying to help a friend.
At the time of sentencing in the Midland Acres case, Magistrate Valdis Foldats recognized that the firm had been transparent about the importation of the materials and had not deliberately attempted to evade the law, but he said that explosives are inherently dangerous and, as such, the law and regulations concerning the importation of such materials were there to protect the public. He said anyone dealing with explosives should ensure they do so properly.
When the explosives were seized by authorities and the premier wrote to the collector of customs asking for the release, the NRA director, Brian Tomlinson, whose department was holding the materials, passed the issue over to the RCIPS but shortly afterwards he was fired from his job.
Dynamite request in question (14 May 2012)
Government road boss fired (9 July 2012)
Explosive import fine $1300 (29 August 2012)
Correspondence regarding the explosives attached.
|Letter from Prasad to Premier 4 March 2012.pdf||38.06 KB|
|Memo from Premier to Collector of Customs 7 March 2012.pdf||20.39 KB|
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