THE NEW TODAY is asking the question in light of statements allegedly made by the island’s top cop last week Wednesday at a meeting held between newly re-elected Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell and members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
It should be recalled that Mr. James was lured out of retirement by Prime Minister Mitchell after the 2013 elections to take charge of the force once again after a perceived problem developed with the then office holder, Willan Thompson.
The perception had been around for sometime that Mr. James might have been a supporter of the Mitchell-led NNP but no one had any concrete proof of this at all.
However, some felt that James’ address last week in the presence of PM Mitchell was concrete evidence that he was pro-NNP and was being backed up by statements made in the past by Dr. Mitchell that he likes loyalty from persons more than one’s ability to perform on the job.
In addition, any casual observer who heard the unfortunate utterances from the man at the helm of the force could logically reach the conclusion that Mr. James was very insensitive in the address as head of a body that should be independent and non-partisan.
It is clear that the COP was showing political favouritism when he used words to the effect in the presence of PM Mitchell that, “no weapons formed against you can prosper” and “who God bless no man curse”.
This is heavy partisan political stuff in front of a force in which some members would be supporters of the ruling New National Party (NNP), others might prefer the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) and yet others might have no preference for either of the two major parties.
The Acting COP was also insensitive when in the presence of the Prime Minister he singled out for praise two members of the High Command – Deputy Commissioner Edvin Martin and Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP), Jessmon Prince for their performance on the job.
The other deputy Commissioner of Police, Franklyn Redhead was present at the meeting and might have taken note of what was happening around him.
Was Mr. James giving some kind of a hint to the Prime Minister that he should look in the direction of the two mentioned senior officers as his likely successors as head of RGPF? What about Redhead? How did he feel when James was praising two others and not him?
It should also be noted that while James was speaking, Dr. Mitchell, might have already identified his man for the COP job based on the well-established philosophy of the Grenadian leader that loyalty is the main thing to him and not performance.
The Acting Commissioner might have already compromised himself by the speech and is no longer in a position to take any form of disciplinary action against those police officers who came out publicly during the campaign to show their loyalty to NNP and not the force.
The world was exposed to the posting of Police Officer Vicroy Richardson who was seen during the campaign dressed in the full NNP gears and said openly on Social Media: “…Am moving on with the New National Party” and also Woman Police Constable Victoria Simon from the sister isle of Carriacou.
Are we seeing a different set off rules being applied to the supporters of the so-called “Green Machine” in the police force and another set of standards for the rest of the men and women in uniform?
The last Commissioner of Police who degraded the position was Fitzroy Bedeau who often told persons that he was the 16th member of the NNP Cabinet of Ministers.
The sad truth is that RGPF is not an independent and non-partisan establishment.
Many of the junior officers often complain of being overlooked for promotion while those who are less qualified but known to be supporters of NNP are given preference.
Is it any wonder that some police officers took Mr. James to court to seek justice on the issue of promotion?
THE NEW TODAY will be looking forward to the signal coming from the force in this current period in light of Grenada’s unofficial designation of now being a “one-party state” given the results of the last two general election.
The proponents of “Project Grenada” are now seeing their hopes and dreams being materialised but should be very mindful of history.
It took March 13, 1979 to end the Eric Gairy era and four-and-a-half years later when Grenadians were in despair and kept praying, the instrument that was used to end the dark period was Bernard Coard who made a grab for power with his pro-Moscow and anti-Cuba faction within the New Jewel Movement (NJM).
The “Project Grenada” outfit should remember the words of PM Mitchell after Hurricane Ivan destroyed a great portion of the island in September 2004 and calls were made for national unity between NNP and NDC.
How many of us remember the words – two male crabs can’t live in the same hole?
History has a funny way sometimes of repeating itself.