Has “political ethnic cleansing” once again reached the hierarchy of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF)?
This is the question that THE NEW TODAY is forced to ask in light of the decision taken this week by Acting Commissioner of Police, Winston James to issue “verbal instructions” to two of his Assistant Commissioners of Police, Smith Roberts and Dowlin Barthlomew to proceed on vacation leave.
Several persons who are knowledgeable about the rules of the Public Service Commission (PSC) have questioned the decision of James on this issue.
As one senior public officer intimated to this newspaper, both Bartholomew and Roberts are gazetted officers of the force and any instructions to them along those lines should only come directly to them in the form of a letter from the Commission.
Mr. James has legal teeth to deal with officers up to the rank of Sergaents and from Inspector upwards, this is the sole domain of the PSC.
As a matter of fact, no Commissioner of Police can take on his own to promote a Sergaent to the post of Inspector. The Commissioner would have to first approach the PSC in order to get its blessings for the appointment to take place.
So the verbal instructions issued to Bartholomew is even more puzzling since this ACP had already gotten permission from the PSC to take Vacation leave on the following Monday.
Where does Acting Commissioner James get the authority to send him on Vacation leave one week earlier?
It is only the PSC that can alter ACP Bartholomew’s leave – not James as Acting Commissioner of Police.
As one senior retired public officer indicated, if any changes are to be made to the original letter granting Bartholomew his Vacation leave, then the PSC will once again have to be approached in order to issue a fresh letter.
It is clearly emerging that Mr. James who has been put in the post as Acting Commissioner of Police is not very knowledgeable about the business of Administration.
He has clearly opened up himself for possible court action as both ACP Bartholomew and Roberts would most likely seek legal advice on whether their constitutional rights were infringed upon by the “verbal instructions” given to them on Monday to immediately proceed on Vacation leave.
The information reaching this newspaper is that ACP Bartholomew has approached Dr. Francis Alexis who is considered to be one of the best legal brains on the island on matter pertaining to the rights of public officers in cases brought against the PSC.
The “verbal instructions” given to ACP Bartholomew could be interpreted as sending an unfortunate message to this senior police officer that he needs to move out of the office he occupies at headquarters as quickly as possible since he is seen as some kind of a national security risk.
Why the need to resort to such an action if this ACP has already received communication from PSC that his Vacation Leave will take effect from Monday coming?
The bottom line is that Mr. James has no legal authority to issue those instructions to gazetted police officers to take Vacation Leave because to that he would be taking on the role of the PSC itself.
THE NEW TODAY believes that Mr. James should be removed from the police force as soon as possible since he might prove to be too costly to the taxpayers of the country in light of some of the questionable decisions that he has taken while on active duty.
This island is already strapped for cash in the Treasury and the cost factor to the taxpayer for bad and questionable decisions is more important than political expediency.
The Acting Commissioner is unfortunately regarded in some quarters as merely a “rubber stamp” for the wishes of the political directorate of the day. It is a sad way to go down in history and be remembered for someone with over 40 years of service to RGPF.
The issue of NNP “ethnic cleansing” of the police force has once more raised its head in light of the Barthlomew/Roberts issue.
After the February 19 general elections, the NNP activists within the police force were openly dropping hints that the days of these two senior police officers were numbered.
James’ return was seen as merely one to facilitate the ambitions of the NNP political hierarchy to re-arrange the top brass within the force and to elevate the likes of trusted officers like Superintendents Michael Francois and Anthony De Gale into the ACP ranks.
It appears that De Gale will eventually succeed James as Deputy Commissioner of Police, Frank Redhead and another newly appointed ACP, Edvin Martin will most likely be overlooked for the post of Commissioner of Police.
THE NEW TODAY would like the Minister of Foreign Affairs to inform Grenadians about the status of the post of Grenada’s Consul-General to New York.
Is NNP downgrading the post from that of a Consul-General with full diplomatic accreditation to that of an Honorary Consul with no diplomatic teeth from the U.S government?
Will the change in status cost the taxpayers more money especially if additional office space might have to be found in the New York area to facilitate the work of an Honorary Consul as opposed to a Consul-General who will operate from office space provided by Grenada’s Mission to the United Nations?
The Foreign Minister needs to offer some clarity to Grenadians both at home and abroad on this important issue.