September 9, 2011

Fri, Sept 09. 2011

Contributed by the Financial Intelligence Unit

In the wake of 911, the world remembers the turning point in history, where we confronted the dangers of the future and assessed the choices facing humankind. What happened on 911 was without parallel the most heinous in the history of terrorism.{{more}} Around the world, there was a realization that laws will be changed, not to deny basic liberties, but to prevent their abuse and protect the most basic liberty of all: protection of life. 911 brought governments together to consider and change the way they deal with this nefarious crime. Since September 2001, there was a man hunt for the public enemy Osama. On May 2, 2011, that manhunt came to an end as Osama was declared dead.

“Osama is dead”! This phrase could be heard worldwide as persons rejoiced and praised the American government for finally bringing Osama to justice. Indeed it is a momentous occasion. Today, in addition to remembering the persons who lost their lives on 911, we remember the death of Osama, the mastermind responsible for the 911 attacks. The bigger question remains, what are the effects of Osama’s death on the War on Terrorism? Does terrorism end with his death? Certainly not! The reports that have been issued thus far point to the fact that Osama’s death has fueled his supporters to continue their reign of terror seeking vengeance on his behalf. Thus, the International world has tightened its security measures and stays alert for the possibility of terror acts on their countries. However, what is sure is that the death of Osama marks an important milestone being met and the conclusion of a too long chapter in history.

Terrorism causes havoc to any society. Terrorists’ objective is to frighten and scare a wider people. It can be an ethnic or religious group, an entire country and its political control, or the entire international community.

Several countries around the world have experienced this scare. “Mumbai bomb blast kills 21 during the city’s rush hour”. This is one of the headings in the Guardian newspaper dated Thursday, July 14, 2011. The report went on to state that “Mumbai was struck by three powerful bomb blasts during the evening rush hour on Wednesday that killed at least 21 people and at least 113 persons injured and hospitalized”. This blast was reportedly caused by powerful explosives planted in a scooter and motorcycle. In the “Huff Post World” dated August 17, 2011, it was reported that a suicide bomber blew himself up as police were praying, wounding at least 28 persons. The United Kingdom also remembers their horror story in July 2005 as a series of coordinated suicide attacks were launched, targeting civilians using London’s transport system. Over 30 persons were killed and at least 700 were reportedly injured. The effects of these bombings were great as the transport and telecommunications systems were disrupted from the blast, their currency (pound) decreased and exorbitant amount of monies were expended for the investigations and prosecution of these terrorists.

Terrorist attacks are done to cause alarm and instill fear in the lives of citizens. This is the case in the countries mentioned as persons are unable to go back to their normal routine after being the victim of such reprehensible crime.

Other effects of terrorism include the hampering of foreign investment; it hinders tourism since visitors are now fearful for their lives, it causes a strain on law enforcement and medical resources. To combat the crime of terrorism is costly, as it demands legislative framework, technologically advanced tools to facilitate investigation and prosecution of these terrorists, thereby placing a dent in the Government’s budget. In some cases, Terrorism causes political instability, and in others, it is extreme as dismantling governmental regimes. Terrorism is designed to have psychological effects that reach farther beyond the impact on the immediate victims of an attack.

The Financial Intelligence Unit urges all citizens to continue to pay close attention to what is happening around us. Although, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has seen no instances of terrorism, it is imperative that we remain vigilant and ready to deal with such a crime in the event that it happens. We must ensure that we have the necessary tools at our finger tips, thereby being adequately prepared to detect, investigate and prosecute successfully terrorists and honour our obligations under International Law.