Acting Commissioner of Police, Winston James says he is not responsible for his return to the top position with the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
James told members of the media last week Wednesday that his appointment to the post was ratified by the Public Service Commission (PSC), the body responsible for hiring civil servants.
The former Police Commissioner who served the RGPF for 41 years took up the acting position to replace Commissioner Willan Thompson who decided to proceed on 257 days leave after meeting with new Prime Minister and Minister of National Mobilisation, Dr. Keith Mitchell.
After the meeting, the Prime Minister told the media that he had concerns about someone holding the post of Commissioner of Police if he did not have confidence in him
According to James, it was quite easy for him to return to lead RGPF despite his retirement from the force in July 2008.
However, when he was further questioned about the essence of the Police Ordinance by THE NEW TODAY Newspaper Editor which says that when a Commissioner is going on leave that the person who has to take command of the Force is the Deputy Commissioner, James said that responsibility did not lie with him.
He confirmed that the Police Ordinance makes it clear that in the absence of a Police Commissioner, the Deputy Commissioner takes charge as the Acting Commissioner.
“In my case, I must inform you, I did not come here (by) myself, I did not promote myself. There is an Institution, according to law that is responsible for doing what is expected to be done in respect to appointing somebody to act as Commissioner, and that Institution… did what they were supposed to do in order to make me now Acting Commissioner of Police,” he said.
“I am not responsible for making such a decision,” added James who left office during the first half of the 2008 to 2012 rule of the former Congress administration.
The Acting Commissioner said he expected the question from the press and that is mainly the reason why a Press Conference that was first scheduled to take place on March 6 had to be postponed.
When members of the media arrived at Fort George for the Press Conference they were told that due to an emergency it was postponed.
“A process, as a matter of fact, was supposed to happen, and when I was ready to have the Conference, it did not happen,” James said.
Since he assumed the top position with RGPF on March 4, a number of Police Officers who are perceived to be supporters of the former National Democratic Congress (NDC) government have been transferred from their original postings.
Among the affected officers are Superintendent Godfrey Fleming (Immigration), Inspector Senneth Joseph (Financial intelligence Unit (FIU), and Superintendent Vannie Curwen (Head of Special Branch).
James noted that Police Officers have a constitutional right to support any Political Party of their choice and that right “cannot be taken away from us by anyone”.
However, he quickly cautioned his subordinates to cherish that right by being careful about what they say politically in the public since he believes that that can serve to affect the RGPF in the future.
“I spent 41 years in the Police Force and I’ve seen a number of persons who opened themselves politically and they regretted it at the end of the day,” he remarked.
James announced that he was taking command of RGPF on a month-to-month basis for a period of six months in the first instance.
The Acting Commissioner also addressed the promotion of 51 Police Officers that took place just before the February 19 General Elections.
He dismissed reports circulating in the country that he would be stripping the newly promoted Police Officers from their new ranks.
“I want to assure members of the Press and all the persons who were promoted that I have no intention of interfering with such promotion, neither do the Minister of National Security,” he said.
The Acting Commissioner charged that the “season for propaganda” is still alive.
The recent promotions done by Commissioner Thompson included three Superintendents of Police, Two Assistant Superintendents of Police, five Inspectors, 14 Sergeants, and 26 Corporals.
Head of Operations, Edvin Martin was also promoted to the rank of Assistant Commissioner of Police.
The Acting Police Commissioner said in order to achieve the goals and objectives of RGPF he intends to work along with the high echelon of the Force including the Deputy Commissioner, Franklyn Redhead.
“My first priority would be to get my senior rank, persons in the Commissioner’s rank to come together as a team so that we can be seen as working in the interest of the Police Force. We are expected to work as a cohesive team and to set examples that our Juniors would follow,” he added.
James spoke of his determination to unite the RGPF, which is said to be split between NNP and NDC supporters.
He said he told the members of his executive that they have a responsibility to carry the Police Force, and “we cannot be seen as fragmented in doing that because our Juniors would soon identify that and start to disrespect us”.
He made a plea for police officers to “come together in unity and work in the interest of the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique.”
“We have to put aside all bitterness and egoistic behaviour against each other, and join hearts and hands together to build the public image of the Royal Grenada Police Force,” he said.
“I will serve without fear or favour, ill-will or malice,” James added.