A telling indictment | Daily News


A telling indictment

That it took the Government’s chief law officer to deliver a tongue lashing to the police and prison officials over the rising incidents of organised crime and sleaze within our prison walls itself is a clear indication of the rotten state our prisons have plunged into over the years with the situation showing no improvement.

Attorney General Dappula De Livera on Friday handed out severe strictures to heads of prisons countrywide after a visit to the Welikada Prison where he stated that public trust in the prisons has eroded as the rule of law did not prevail in prisons.

He said the prisons have turned out to be training centres for budding criminals and blamed the deterioration of discipline among prison officials for this dangerous state of affairs.  “There are a few honest prison officers but the majority are corrupt,” he said in an unprecedented broadside by the country’s chief law officer to members of the prison law enforcement.

Earlier, Defence Secretary Major General Kamal Gunaratne (Rtd) too waded into certain prison staff who colluded with convicts and made prisons awash with drugs and crime.

It was President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who fired the first salvo by issuing a stern warning to prison officials who worked hand in glove with criminal elements within prison walls. He said he was determined to end the wave of underworld crime via the prisons and would spare no individual whatever his rank, position or political affiliation found aiding and abetting criminal elements in his mission to end the menace of killings and drug related crime orchestrated behind prison walls. The appointment of a new Prisons Chief was just the first step.

Citizens who are aware of the record of President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who as Defence Secretary launched a crackdown on the underworld in Colombo would hardly doubt his commitment to end the netherworld of crime and sleaze emanating behind prison walls. Besides, President Rajapaksa today has almost all the top men who helped him win the war on his side if he decides to enlist the services or the expertise of the military  to eradicate not only crime organised from the prisons but also the underworld monster as a whole  that has grown out of proportion.

Besides the whole purpose of prisons is the protection and security of the innocent peace loving public from criminal elements who are a danger to society. This whole purpose is defeated if major crimes are being organised and directed from the prisons themselves as was the case when a former High Court Judge who delivered an adverse verdict against a drug lord  fell victim to an assassin’s bullet, the killing planned and organised from within prison walls.

Over the years the media was full of reports of the goings on in the dark underbelly of prison life where incarcerated drug lords and police officers/jailors figured prominently. It is this subterranean layer that has been found to be responsible for even contract killings outside prison walls. It is also common knowledge that for a majority of those behind prison bars with drug money to throw around the prisons have become a home away from home.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa who has sent a clear unambiguous message to all and sundry on his determination to fight the underworld and crimes and drug running orchestrated from behind prison we are certain would not condone nor sparer any member of his  Government having any such links with the drugs business. His earlier assertion that he would not spare any politician in his fight against the drug underworld is most welcome because most citizens feel it is their influence that permit the drug lords to operate with impunity. The drugs trade would not have grown to such monstrous proportions had politicians and the law enforcement had not extended their patronage to the drug lords and the drugs driven underworld. Now with the country’s chief law officer pulling up the law enforcement in this regard in no uncertain terms it is hoped the country has turned a corner in the fight against the big time drug business.

There can be no half-hearted measures in the fight against big time crime. In this respect all arms of the law enforcement including the courts and the justice system should work in tandem. We say this because while the police may apprehend suspects and haul them before the Courts, more often than not this is a futile exercise.

Now with the Attorney General taking up a strong stand in the fight against crime it is hoped that the laws too would be strengthened to deal effectively with criminals, especially those involved in the drugs trade.

President Gotabaya Rajapaksa it will be recalled in his early days as the President earnestly pleaded with all concerned not to scuttle his efforts to tackle crime. This is the way to ensure the safety of the people’s lives from marauding criminals on the loose.

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