It is becoming quite obvious that the new rulers in Grenada are committed to some kind of “ethnic political cleansing” within the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
The treatment meted out to Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Smith Roberts on Monday by the Acting Commissioner of Police, Winston James is a clear indication of the policy that is being pursued by the change of regime following the February 19, 2013 general elections.
The first to become a victim of the new dispensation under the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell is the substantive holder of the post of Commissioner of Police, Willan Thompson who was appointed to the post under the former Congress administration.
Thompson decided to take forced leave after meeting with new Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell who as Minister of National Security expressed grave concerns with some of the decisions taken by him since he was appointed to the post by the Public Service Commission (PSC).
And one of these related to a decision taken by Mr. Thompson not to provide Dr. Mitchell in his capacity as Opposition Leader with official police protection.
The Thompson/Mitchell mistrust is something that dates back to the 1980’s when the Commissioner of Police then held the post of Head of the Special Branch and would have been engaged in monitoring the activities of the current Prime Minister who as then Minister of Works and General Secretary of NNP was engaged in moves to rest the party from the late H.A. Blaize.
Mr. James who was brought back from retirement to Act as Commissioner of Police following the February 19 general elections is now giving the impression by his actions that he too is embarking upon a course of action to clean out the force of some elements.
ACP Roberts and ACP Dowlin Bartholomew were given questionable “verbal instructions” by Mr. James a few weeks ago to proceed on vacation leave that had accumulated.
Persons who are familiar with the operations of the public service hold the view that Mr. James had no such legal authority to order any of his ACP’s to proceed on leave since this fell within the domain of the PSC.
The Prime Minister, Dr. Mitchell has since stated publicly at a press conference that he was in full support of the actions taken by the Acting Commissioner of Police against the two high-ranking members of the force.
As expected, both senior officers sought legal advice from the country’s foremost constitutional lawyer, Dr. Francis Alexis and from all indications the island’s former Attorney-General is preparing his legal papers to haul Mr. James before the high court and to challenge his authority to send home the two senior police officers.
Dr. Alexis has won several similar cases in the past for civil servants who felt they were treated wrongly by arms of the State and got the court to make the Treasury pay dearly. Two names come to mind immediately – Richard Duncan and Dr. Brian Francis.
Despite the looming court battle that lies ahead, THE NEW TODAY is making a special appeal to both Prime Minister Mitchell and Mr. James to show some kind of respect to ACP’s Roberts and Bartholomew given their years of service to this country and especially to law-enforcement.
If the authorities do not wish for these two senior officers to be of further service to the country as members of the police force then a more honourable and dignified way can be found to pave the way for their exit from RGPF.
It is sending a bad signal to the current members of the force, as well as persons who might be thinking of making policing a future career about the kind of treatment they can be subjected to at any stage of their careers.
This newspaper would also like to make a few passing remarks on the policy decision taken by the current Mitchell administration to return to the old days of selling Grenadian passports through a Citizenship by Investment programme.
THE NEW TODAY is philosophically opposed to the selling of passports for cash purposes in the name of development.
All the credible investors now doing business in Grenada were never attracted to the Spice Isle with the waving of a passport before their eyes.
The region’s leading hotel tycoon, Butch Stewart of Jamaica got involved in La Source resort because he saw something good and went after it. He was not lured to invest millions into this country because of any economic citizenship that was dangled before him.
This citizenship programme that Grenada is embarking upon could put the final nail in the coffin on the country’s chances of getting a review of the visa imposition that was imposed by Ottawa on St. George’s due to the first failed programme.
A check made by this newspaper on the webiste of the Canadian government found the following interesting statement dated July 2013.
It reads in part: “ Visitor visa restrictions were imposed on Grenada in December 2001, after increasing concerns with its Economic Citizenship Program. This program has since been suspended indefinitely. Canada’s consistent view remains that, unless citizenships sold under the program are rescinded, it is impossible to sort out which potential visitors to Canada from Grenada are legitimate citizens, and which purchased their status”.
This is a clear warning from the government of Canada as regards its policy towards Grenada on the selling of passports.