That unfortunate incident at a police sporting event three weeks ago has again served to cast a dark shadow over the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
THE NEW TODAY is referring to the action of a junior member of the force to confront in a demeaning manner, the man who officially still holds the post of Commissioner of Police, Willan Thompson.
The force was brought into public disrepute because some members of the public who attended the event were able to witness something that can be considered as unheard of within a police force.
It is not uncommon to hear police officers bad-mouthing their Commissioners behind their backs but not openly confronting them in a hostile manner in a public place.
This is an issue that crosses the political divide in Grenada. The Commissioner of Police – regardless of which administration is in power – should be duly respected by all especially those under his command.
The ball is now in the court of Acting Commissioner of Police, Winston James to fully investigate the incident that took place at the Roy St. John playing field at Tanteen and to take the appropriate action in the circumstances.
Mr. Thompson has sent in a report to Mr. James to give his version of the incident. It would be interesting to see what statement would be given by the junior officer in his defense.
The information in our possession is that the police officer under scrutiny is one who seemingly lacks proper decorum and is prepared to show disrespect to his superiors.
He was found guilty sometime ago by a Senior Police Officer for verbally abusing one of his superiors. It was the same Commissioner Thompson who gave him a reprieve following representation made on his behalf by the head of his division, Superintendent Rodriquez James.
How much weight will Acting Commissioner James place on this piece of information in looking at the latest incident involving this junior member of the force?
Mr. James himself is already under the microscope for one or two of the decisions taken since he was brought back to the force in the aftermath of the February 19 general elections and change of government on the island.
As a mater of fact, Mr. James did not exit the force in the best possible manner after the National Democratic Congress (NDC) took office following the 2008 general elections.
Several middle ranking police officers took him to court on the issue of promotions. These officers who are still members of RGPF felt that they were overlooked based on political considerations under the former NNP administration.
This action by the police officers against their Commissioner was again a first within RGPF.
Now, the most contentious issue involving James relates to his role in the decision that was taken to bring back into the force, one Sergeant Karl Caton, a clear political activist for the governing New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
Mr. Caton had served in the Parliament as a Senator after being appointed as the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture after the 2003 general elections.
As a matter of fact, the same day on which Mr. Caton left the Police Force, he was selected by the NNP as its Caretaker Candidate for St. Patrick East to run against the then Opposition Leader, Tillman Thomas of the National Democratic Congress (NDC).
Mr. James has to take full responsibility for bringing a clear political operative back into the force.
The Public Service Commission (PSC) has nothing to do with Caton’s appointment as it is only responsible under law for police officers from the rank of Inspector and upwards.
Who took the decision to open the door for Mr. Caton, a clear political person to be brought back into active duties as a member of RGPF? Mr. James was also at the helm when Caton resigned his position and entered frontline politics with NNP.
It is doubtful whether former Police Commissioners, Nestor Ogilvie and James Clarkson would have bowed to political pressure and take back into the fold someone who had crossed the line.
This newspaper would be watching very carefully the decision that is taken by Mr. James on the Willan Thompson incident.
There is a feeling in some quarters within the force that the individual should be dismissed forthwith for the manner in which he sought to belittle Mr. Thompson who is still the legitimate Commissioner of Police on the island.
THE NEW TODAY is not advocating any such drastic action in light of the current economic and financial hardship in the country but some form of punishment in which the officer would feel the pain through less money entering his pocket at the end of the month.
Finally, it looks like some of the chickens are apparently coming home to roost. The reported theft of $EC100, 000.00 from the ticket sales of the much-publicised Gospel Concert at the National Stadium is only laughable given the characters involved.
This newspaper will only make the following comment at this time, “Stay Tune” because there will be more breaking news about the incident.