Acting Commissioner of Police, Winston James should be commended for having the fortitude to allow the law to take its course thus far into alleged wrong-doing by two top officers within the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
The public have often times become cynical about the ability of the police force to take action against their own who are deemed to be nothing but rogue cops.
THE NEW TODAY is aware that many in our midst still harbour doubts about the impending cases going through the court system and coming to an end in quick time.
There is this fear among a certain section of the population that the police can never be trusted in cases against their own.
The populace always raise the case of the police officer who was supposed to be held in custody on a charge of murder but managed to escape and flee the jurisdiction for the United States and the Oscar Bartholomew incident at the St. David’s Police Station.
Despite this, Acting Commissioner James and the Members of the High Command should be commended for ensuring that the two latest matters were investigated and that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) was allowed to have carriage of these investigations and not left solely in the hands of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).
This newspaper is not suggesting in any way that members of the CID would botch the investigations.
It is far better for the DPP’s office to be seen to be in charge of such matters in the interest of transparency and fair play.
The two cases that are now before the courts involving the police officers should send a clear message to Mr. James that there are flaws in the system and urgent steps need to be taken to address them.
It is no secret that the image of RGPF has been taking a beating over the years from certain elements who use their positions to engage in the illegal sale of Driver’s licence.
A few years ago fingers were even pointing in the direction of a former Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) as the mastermind of a scheme to defraud the Treasury of its rightful revenue in the selling of these licences.
It’s time for the political directorate to get involved and look at revamping the system currently in place for the granting of licences for road users.
A good start will be to look at the models existing in other countries and to determine whether they can be adopted in Grenada.
The current system is open to abuse by corrupt elements within the Traffic Department.
The law makes provisions for the Officer-in-charge of the Department to use his discretion to grant a driver’s licence.
If the officer is prone to corruption then who can stop him from abusing his office to sell 1000 driver’s licence? He is legally right to grant these licences once no one comes forward to give proof of wrong-doing.
There is need for some other Independent body other than the Police Force to give the final stamp of approval for the granting of a Driver’s Licence.
The current system is not fullproof and provides too many avenues for bad elements in the force to take advantage of the situation and to rob the Treasury.
The Chickengate affair is similar. Why did the system take so long to realise that something might be wrong? Can a better accounting system be put in place for purchases on behalf of the police force?
THE NEW TODAY would also like to take this opportunity to remind Acting Commissioner James of the outstanding matter involving the alleged rape and other sexual molestation acts against the ex-female Police Constable by three senior officers including one who has since been promoted to sit in the High Command.
If the law books can be thrown at the feet of the latest two suspects then a sense of fairness should be seen across the board.
RGPF must not be engaged in favouritism because of possible political connections. The law ought not to be applied to one set of people but for all of us in Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
The impression is being given that some cops are “untouchable” and can do just about any and everything wrong and get away with it.
As a matter of fact, it is alleged that one of the suspects in the sexual molestation case was heard telling a suspected rogue cop that he had nothing to fear from an investigation against him since it was not going anyway under his watch.
This senior cop was trying to wash his hands and pointing fingers at two other members of the High Command as the ones who were trying to pursue the investigation instead of shutting it down.
It is the contention of THE NEW TODAY that when the Police Force have elements like these occupying high and powerful positions then the door will always remain wide open to corruption and wrong-doing.