Police shooting mentally ill people

The Grenada Association of Professional Social Workers (GAPSW) is expressing dismay at the murder of yet another person with mental health issues. This is made even more unpalatable that these murders are committed by an arm of the State and GAPSW is disturbed to note the direction in which the RGPF is heading in its dealings with mentally ill people.

The RGPF have stated that that they have trained people who should be called on to respond to these kinds of incidents so are these people being called on when required and are they stationed strategically around the tri-island state?

Grenada is known internationally as a very safe and friendly country to visit, the recent conference attended by our Minister of Tourism, Clarice Modeste-Curwen, in Costa Rica, confirmed that fact and yet our police force feels the need to sport firearms when attending incidents.

This behaviour in itself begs the question as to why this is happening in a peaceful place such as Grenada and also demands that we look at the consequences of such behaviour.

Since the firearms laws in Grenada allow licensed people to carry their arms in public, are we not heading towards an escalation of firearm use if the police force are visibly seen to be using theirs?

The RGPF’s motto is stated to be ‘to serve and protect’, so how safe is the population of Grenada at present when firearms are seen to be used against one of the most vulnerable groups in our society.

We have to remember that the murder of Oscar Bartholomew by the State has not yet been resolved, someone whose only offence was to ask to use the wash room at his local police station, therefore voices have to be raised in the defence of innocent people, particularly those who are less able to defend themselves and seem to be being targeted.

GAPSW is questioning what is behind such actions and will pursue answers to the following questions.

– Why have four persons with mental health issues been murdered in such a short time space in Grenada by the RGPF?

– Is this in retaliation to the murder of the officer in St John, earlier in the year?

– Why is the RGPF suddenly arriving at incidents with firearms? Has this now become the policy?

– Are police officers to be armed at all times when attending to local reports of altercations?

When some answers are forthcoming, GAPSW will report their findings to the population. In the meantime, however, we urge people to lobby their Parliamentary representatives regarding the issue of RGPF and their use of firearms.

(The above was submitted by Grenada Association of Professional Social Workers)

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