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The Meuller file

By Terry Joseph
October 28, 2005

Tuesday's visit by FBI Director Robert Meuller was little more than a whistle-stop but even so, he must have left with a bulging dossier and if the Bureau maintained its tradition of checking every possible lead, airlifting so thick a file probably required the police blimp which, come to think of it, has not been seen since.

And with yesterday's explosion on Upper Henry Street, even more documents will have to be sent to the FBI labs for analysis, joining the bag of clothes and other personal effects reportedly seized from Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr and five others held after the incident outside Smokey and Bunty Sports Bar two weeks ago.

Although touted as a meeting to discuss recent bombings in Port of Spain, it is reasonable to conclude Prime Minister Patrick Manning wouldn't invite Mr Meuller here for event-specific dialogue at a time when his administration is reeling under relentless criticism over runaway crime in general and from every social quadrant, so they must have examined the issue in its fullness.

In the circumstances, Mr Meuller would require exhaustive data on the elusive "Mr Big" which, we might surmise, involves sifting tons of Special Branch data, then sending the distillate to CIA colleagues, allowing them to monitor-with GPS accuracy-suspicious movements of half the population; given the presumably studied conclusion by UWI Principal Dr Bhoe Tewarie that "Mr Big" is not to be found among the other half.

The equally astonishing claim by UNC Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday (not to be confused with the party's Political Leader, Winston Dookeran) that Indo-Trinidadians living in the Central heartland will soon come under bomb attacks, will undoubtedly also be treated as serious information-at least in the first instance, as will the counter-intelligence position adopted by Abu Bakr, who introduced political motives; pointing a finger back in Mr Panday's general direction.

Mr Dookeran (not to be confused with the UNC Opposition Leader) has also adduced political motives although confining his argument to the visit of Mr Meuller, saying the ruling party invited him here as mere window-dressing, after Mr Manning let slip his information on "Mr Big", a position later softened by National Security Minister, Martin Joseph, who indicated it was not the primary quarry.

Of course, Chaguanas MP Manohar Ramsaran's trivialisation of "Mr Big" at last week's Death March would also come under the microscope since, by his own admission, he too knew a "Mr Big" but didn't forward his information about the candy bar of the same name to Police Commissioner Trevor Paul; sharpening the focus on last weekend's raid in his constituency that netted the alleged leader of a kidnapping gang.

Mr Dookeran, whose eyebrows reportedly raised at least twice since the Manning-Mueller meeting, is seeing only politics in the FBI Director's conclusion that there are no terror cells in Trinidad and Tobagoand apparently experiencing even greater astonishment after hearing Mr Meuller's statement about the Prime Minister being dedicated to reducing crime in the country.

Quite apart from examining political utterances, Mr Meuller would also have gathered notes on all other groups making statements about crimes against the person or bombings or pointing fingers regarding other areas of social conflict, if only for the purpose of reconciling commonality of objectives; a list that could stretch for reams.

And yet there are those who believe FBI involvement in seeking convictions or long-term solutions would result in little difference to the local level, sneering at the world's most celebrated crime fighters, implying Trini criminals are more sophisticated than the likes of Al Capone, Bonnie and Clyde or, for that matter the league of white-collar villains collared by the Bureau in the US. Perhaps, when Scotland Yard officers do come, we should first be asking them to investigate the FBI?

All deduction is, of course, an elaborate process of elimination so indeed whatever the FBI or Scotland Yard can achieve, we can also do, given the tools and savvy required to unravel the same clues. For openers, we know "Mr Big" is not Mr Small (aka Olive Enyahooma El), since he is already doing time in an American jail, after having been convicted of gun-running.

So at least, local police have a starting position, if only they could avoid distractions like the issue of whether officers in rural districts should be allowed to light deyas for Divali, since the Meuller File is already heavy with notes on infinitely more serious matters.

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