It’s a very embarrassing moment for newly installed Acting Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin and the rest of the High Command following reports that a Superintendent of Police is being investigated for a sexual transgression against a 16-year old.
It must be a disconcerting time for the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) as the victim of the sexual assault act got entangled with them and unfortunately fell under their care due to neglect by a state body.
The victim is known to be a teenager who is the main witness for the State in a murder that took place in the south of the island in 2017.
The research done so far by THE NEW TODAY seems to suggest that the teenager had no right to be under the care of the Police Force but rather the Child Protection Authority (CPA) of the Ministry of Social Affairs of Minister Delma Thomas.
The ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell under Minister Thomas and CPA failed this child by not putting anything in place to look after her and leaving it up to the unprepared police to try and do something in the unfortunate circumstances.
The information obtained by this newspaper is that the parents of the child did not want her to remain in the surroundings given the existing atmosphere following the murder and the arrest and murder charge slapped on an individual within the neighbourhood.
It is also our understanding that no family member was willing to take the child into their care and she was initially put at a home in St. Mark and literally abandoned thereafter by the Child Protection agency.
The child was seemingly troubled and needed to be put into a special home that caters for her specific needs and this never happened and she became a frequent runaway from the place in St. Mark.
It is our understanding that the police unfortunately got involved in the matter to do what really should have been done for the 16-year old by CPA.
The child ended up at Central Police Station on the Carenage, then onto St. Paul’s Police Station and finally at the Special Services Unit (SSU) camp at Point Salines.
This is not a child who was put into any protection programme by the court but someone who was considered as a key witness for the State in a murder trial that will soon come up for hearing before a high court judge and jury.
However, this alleged sexual assault on the teenager while under the care of the police will have to be viewed against the backdrop of the recent launch of the much-publicised Sexual Victims Unit by Acting Commissioner Martin in the presence of Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Keith Mitchell.
The top cop made heavy weather of the amount of under-aged young girls in the country who were being preyed upon by much older men in the society and the need to stamp it out.
Commissioner Martin could not have envisaged that a month later that one of his own would be put under the microscope for the alleged sexual interference of a 16-year old.
THE NEW TODAY cannot make any definitive statement on the issue at this stage as the matter is still under investigation and the outcome would be left totally to the discretion of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Christopher Nelson.
The fact is that fingers are pointing at a senior police officer who was put in a position of trust which was apparently breached and he is now suspected of badly letting down his superiors at Fort George.
This newspaper is forced to ask many questions of the Police High Command in light of this embarrassing episode.
The questions are very important because many of them bring into sharp focus the kinds of structures put in place by RGPF to accommodate this teenager that they took under their care to offer some form of protection.
Why would anyone in their good head and senses take a decision to put a 16-year old female at the SSU camp which is known to be occupied mainly by males? This is nothing but madness!!!
Is there a system in place to ensure 24-hour protection for a young girl at the SSU?
Was there a female officer assigned to her within the camp? If so, where was that particular individual on the night in question when the alleged sex act took place? Who was the officer responsible for the overall security of this young female witness?
Government would have to review the operations of CPA as too many complaints are coming into the public domain about its failings and not living up to its expectations.
Grenada is apparently signing onto a number of international protocols and accepting money for the protection of children but not putting in place the required systems to fulfill our obligations at the international levels.
If there are square pegs in round holes at the agency then the time has come for the situation to be seriously addressed so that the taxpaying people of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique can get value for money from those hired at CPA.
If Minister Thomas cannot handle the task on hand then Prime Minister Mitchell needs to intervene and step in to ensure that CPA does what it ought to be doing to protect our vulnerable young people.