Team approach

"Tackling organized crime remains a strategic priority for the RCMP." That how the force responded yesterday to former integrated illegal gaming enforcement team commander Fred Pinnock's statement that its senior managers in British Columbia have demonstrated "willful blindness" when it comes to the connection between illegal gaming. Mr. Pinnock also said, in an exclusive interview with Public Eye, that the force was "playing ostrich" about the problems inside legal gaming facilities. But, in a written statement emailed to Public Eye, spokesperson Rob Vermeulen noted the mandate of Mr. Pinnock's RCMP team - which was only responsible for illegal gaming outside those facilities - "was determined by the ministry of housing and social development."

Sergeant Vermeulen further stated the "decision to shut the (provincial government-funded) team down was made by the consultative board - a five-member panel, three of whom are from government.

Although, in an interview with the Times Colonist's Rob Shaw, Sergeant Vermeulen refused to comment on whether the RCMP "supported the government's decision to close the gambling unit."

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