Police are investigating claims that law enforcement officers may be proprietors of strip clubs where foreign dancers were found performing without work permits, said Minister of National Security Marvin Dames yesterday.
Last month, several foreign women were arrested at three establishments in an operation “to infiltrate the illicit night life circuit in New Providence”.
Asked about speculation that some of those clubs may be owned or run by law enforcement officers, Dames said, “Those are assertions. If there is evidence out there that this is, in fact, the case, then it should be taken to the police so it would be addressed.
“The commissioner and I would have discussed this because I would have heard it too. But, again, we have to make certain that when we say things, that there is evidence to back it up. And if people know this as a matter of fact, then I would recommend that they take it to the commissioner of police so that it can be addressed.
“I heard the same thing and I discussed it with the commissioner and he has assured me that he will be looking into it. And where it is found out that this is, in fact, the case, and it is a violation of the law or any force policies or regulations, whatever, then I’m certain the commissioner will take the appropriate action.”
During the prosecution of those women last month, Acting Assistant Chief Magistrate Carolyn Vogt-Evans blasted immigration officials for failing to prosecute the owners of the clubs where the foreign dancers were found.
Chief Immigration Officer Harold Thurston told the magistrate, “We fully intend to go after everybody; we intend to carry out the government’s mandate.”
The court heard that an immigration officer went undercover in the clubs and the raids occurred after the officer watched the women perform for funds.
Five Colombians, one Jamaican, one Venezuelan and one Trinidadian were arrested.
Dames noted yesterday that those types of businesses are bringing down the “moral fiber” of the country and have an element of criminality.
“This is a concern for us where persons are being recruited from neighboring countries to come here and to work in these clubs,” he said.
“That’s a form of human trafficking and the penalties are stiff. And we will be going after those persons very, very assiduously.
“We will be going after those persons very aggressively…to ensure that they are not growing this business because it’s bringing down the moral fiber of this nation and it is exposing it to other forms of organized crime and criminality that should not be accepted.
“And, so, I’m certain the commissioner of police and his team of officers are looking into these matters and I would expect that as the agency responsible for enforcing the law, that they ensure that everyone in violation [is] brought to justice.”s
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications