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I feel sorry for Former Judge Paul Lam Shang Leen, chairman of the Commission of Inquiry on Drugs. He’s very unlucky indeed! Think about it: he has stirred up a hornet's nest, is conducting an enquiry on drugs without indecision, timorousness, fear or favour, has shaken and exposed some of the most powerful and loud-mouthed members of the government, has disturbed some of the most notorious drug dealers while reacting in a dignified manner to the resulting bullying of those who stand to lose everything… Yet, not a single death threat against him! How sad! 

Unless he has received threats that he has been discreet about, the great work he is doing might be relegated to second position in comparison to the members of our government who are receiving death threats and beefing up the security around them. 

Death threats can be a status symbol and can do wonders for one’s waning popularity. Not so long ago, Roshi Bhadain, then ostensibly the most powerful man in government, apparently received death threats. Many. His life was at risk. Very badly. He suddenly started benefitting from bodyguards, motorcycle cops, and a whole procession of cops followed him on his outings. Apart from protecting his very valuable life, that carried the additional bonus of helping him breeze through traffic and making him look extremely important, particularly in comparison to his colleagues, admittedly higher in rank, but whose lives nobody was interested in taking. When he fell from grace and started moving about like a normal citizen, it would seem that those who had been threatening his life either died or joined the Peace and Love movement.  

The new threats against the Jugnauths – father and son – through apparently anonymous letters which they were happy to publicise, are rather unfortunate. First, in other countries, a threat through an anonymous letter hardly ever makes the headlines as the secret police would deal with it secretly. Here, it is screamed from all rooftops. 

Secondly, would those threatening Pravind Jugnauth’s life know anything that we don’t? So far, the deputy speaker is still speaking from his position, trying very hard to dodge the questions of the commission but using every other forum possible to talk – interviews and press conferences are not given under oath – and Roubina Jadoo-Jaunbocus is still PPS and MP. As for Raouf Gulbul, according to the latest reports, he is still heading both the Gambling Regulatory Authority and the Law Reform Commission! As for the prime minister, he has not even as much as hinted that any of them should resign! So, aren’t the threats rather premature? 

This whole episode sounds awfully familiar. In the 80s, while drugs were freely coming into the country through the floodgates and when many drug dealers were allegedly boasting about ‘gouvernment dan nou la main’ (government is in our hands) – the Amsterdam Boys saga and the allegations of a then key ally, Harish Boodhoo, of drug money flooding Government House, suddenly came to an end when there were death threats against then Prime Minister Anerood Jugnauth! Talking about the war on drugs, Madun Dulloo, one of Jugnauth’s then closest allies, happily told Weekly, on 6 April 2012, that there was an element of theatre to all this: “We dressed SAJ up in bulletproof jackets saying that the drug mafia wanted to gun him down or something like that.” 

Oh dear, now they want to gun down the son too? Well, I am sure his private security force will do an excellent job protecting him. If they need any lessons, they can take them from their counterparts at the State House! Since the Álvaro Sobrinho affair, they have been so efficient at protecting the president from everyone – particularly journalists! The biggest threat these days. 

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