I must remember to be careful when choosing taxis in which to travel. If per chance one of those vehicles should, while I am not travelling with it, be involved in the commission of a crime, there may be an imputation by some of our so-called “credible” journalists that the Peeper is associated with the illegal activity.
It is hard for the rational mind to associate someone who may have hired an aircraft with the subsequent commission of a crime in which the very aircraft was used. But in the mad haste to accrue political capital this is exactly the sort of illogicalness that is being implicitly suggested in some social media networks. But where there are buyers, there are likely to be sellers.
Planes do not commit offences; people do. But if you follow a plane involved in an alleged illegal activity you are likely to stumble on the players involved in the illegal act. However, mere association is not evidence of guilt.
Years ago there was an attempt to muddy the reputation of the editor of this newspaper. Agents of the State media had attempted to implicate the editor of this newspaper in criminal acts simply because he had once, in the course of his duties, met with a person accused to committing serious crimes in Guyana.
The local media in Guyana are following the plane on which a large quantity of foreign currency was seized while it was en route from Puerto Rico to Guyana. But they are following the plane not to find out who is behind the large quantity of money that was found on board but to implicate those who may have innocently chartered the aircraft in the past. They are more interested in guilt by association than in determining who was behind the large quantity of cash found on board the plane.
That plane is not likely to return to Guyana. The Americans have found a large stash of cash on the plane and if they succeed in gaining a conviction the plane is likely, under American law, to be confiscated.
So far, the Americans have not established that the money was illegal. It is the transportation of the money that has been deemed illegal. This has to be tested in a court of law, if it reaches that far. So while we may suspect that the large swathe of funds may have been related to some illegal activity, at this stage all that is being contended is that its movement is what is illegal. So far!
In Guyana, the social media networks are however concluding prematurely that the sources of the funds are illegal. This is not yet established. But it is an issue that is going to be on the radar of the Americans because as day follows night the US authorities are going to follow the money. They will trace it and they will find from where and whom it originated. That will take time and possibly a plea bargain but the Americans are more interested in the source of the funds than they are about its alleged illegal transportation. They will therefore follow the money.
The Americas will follow the money just as they had followed the plane. They must have been monitoring the movements of this plane because it is obvious that its delay for alleged mechanical issues was no accident. This seems part of the monitoring of the plane’s movements. The Americans would have also asked themselves why anyone in a poor country like Guyana can afford to charter a cross- Atlantic flight. This would have raised red flags and placed the aircraft under surveillance. The authorities there will now move on to now following the money and to wherever it leads. In fact, they may have already begun this exercise.
The Guyanese authorities will have no possibility of following the money. You can safely bet that the Americans will NOT share the information or intelligence that they obtain or already have in their possession. So we may have to wait either for another plea bargain or court trial in the United States to determine the source of the funds and to whom it is connected.
But this should not prevent the Guyanese authorities from following the plane, that is, its movements since it began operations in Guyana. The Guyanese authorities should have the local records of all the flights made by this plane, its passenger lists and its declared cargo. They would also have information of the plane’s destination. They can use this information to determine whether the flight reached its original destination or if it diverted from its logged path.
There are unconfirmed reports that this plane made flights to Suriname. The Surinamese government should be approached to determine the nature of any cargo declared to the authorities there.
By following the plane, the local media can help fill in the missing pieces of the puzzle. Who knows where it will take them. But it has to be a much better and credible place than that where speculation and suggestions based on mere association have taken us so far.
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