|Letter: Commissioner Miller should discipline 'Fireman'|
|Published on September 5, 2012||
Email To Friend Print Version|
All workers, including police officers attached to the Fire Department, have the right to the best conditions of employment that their employers could afford to offer. Basic working standards must be established and maintained.
Equally so, rules, regulations and company/department procedures must, at all times, be observed. More so by police officers sworn to uphold the law.
The “police officer” who went public with his so-called complaints of poor conditions of service within the fire department is clearly out of order.
As far as I am aware, there is a Police Welfare Association, the head of the Fire Department, the Commissioner of Police and the Minister of National Security, to whom this officer could have taken his concerns and complaints. If he did not access those channels, why did he not? Is this “whistle blowing” or a case of a (political) partisan “police officer”, being used by irresponsible opposition politicians? Does this “officer” even work in the Fire Department or the Police Force?
I read Commissioner Miller’s response to the Searchlight newspaper story, highlighting the complaints of the so-called concerned fireman. As a former police officer (who also served as Secretary of the Police Welfare Association), given the efforts of the Gonzales’ ULP government to upgrade working (and living) conditions for the Police Department and all public servants, this writer is inclined to believe and support Commissioner Miller’s response to the complaints.
Despite reference of “witch-hunt” in the Searchlight editorial of Friday, August 31, 2012, Mr Miller now has no choice but to investigate and finger the culprit. He/she should be disciplined for any breach of the regulations of the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force. Such disorderly conduct should NEVER be acceptable in our society.
And please do not give me the crap about “rights and freedoms”. Even human rights advocates and activists should refuse to support such ill-discipline and misconduct on the part of any public servants.
The Modern Way to Do Politics: Launch Drip?
Qualify yourself with a few university degrees; loosen a few screws upstairs; show total disregard and disrespect for those in authority; claim to have single-handedly won a referendum; jump from red to yellow in search of instant political power; and become a Cult Queen, who wants to be the first female prime-minus-her of our country.
Next, “launch” a one-person “national political party” with clearly no support from even your cult members. Then claim to be on the verge of forming the “next government” in your country.
This latest public relations gimmick seems to have everything to do with the promotion of a future law practice and absolutely nothing to do with “Democratic”, “Republican”, Independent (or) “Party” (DRIP).
Yes Cult Queen, sport your red heart with a clenched fist -- symbols of left wing politicians you hate with a passion -- and blasphemously evoke the teachings of God Almighty. Now convince me why such actions should not be perceived as not those of an inexperienced power-hungry lunatic.
Is this the modern way to do politics? Are you providing entertainment for the man who started his own “political party” with four members? And ten years later, he is still unable to recruit 10 members in his Green Rump, or receive a combined total of 200 votes in the last two general elections?
This is not the way one gets to warm a chair in Parliament as an elected representative or appointed Senator.
Give your head a shake Cult Queen. Go chain yourself to the “Iron Man” ...and let lunacy DRIP.
Still Waiting For King Dotish?
After visiting with NDP banana farmers, including himself, King Dotish promised an urgent banana plan from the NDP, to save this vital industry whose slaughter begun under an NDP government, of which King Dotish was a senior Cabinet Minister.
Months after his promise to the nation, King Dotish is now telling us to “hold strain” while he fine-tunes Minister Saboto Ceasar’s programme, which is supported by most banana farmers and appears to be bearing good green fruits.
King Dotish has NEVER presented a single proposal for anything dealing with the economic and social development of SVG, save and except for a “plagiarized” Social Charter.
So why should we now expect a “banana plan” from King Dotish?
Congratulations are in order for former West Kingstown Parliamentary representative, Sister Rene Baptiste, on her (history-making) election as the first Speaker of the recently established OECS Authority Assembly.
This writer is confident that Honourable Speaker Baptiste would preside with distinction at all times.
Bless Up, my sister!
According to three FB messages received and at least one post, my longtime friend Elison Crick is reported to have sworn that he will be suing this writer over a FB article.
I feel sorry for Eli-sue Quick. Such is the behaviour of arrogant operatives when they finally come to the realisation that their power and influence are coming to an end. And the truth hurts.
Come stone me too!
Win or lose the 2015 general elections, Elison Crick, Clem Ballah and a few others would be history.
Prime Minister Gonsalves could never continue to show Vincentians disrespect by offering the generous contracts that these old men have enjoyed for several years, at the expense of the Vincy taxpayers.
Let’s face it: they have long outlived their usefulness.
Wade Kojo Williams, Sr.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
here to receive daily news headlines from Caribbean News Now!
It appears that you are very out of touch with the direction the Royal St. Vincent Grenadines Police Force (RSVPF) should take with regards to the police officer who spoke out because he was clearly disgruntled about his working conditions. Let me first say to you that the RSVPF is a para-military organization and not a defence Force. Irrespective of what type of organization it is, the officers have a right to speak out if their working conditions are unfavourable. There are clearly a significant number of health and safety challenges facing our police officers. Quite frankly, I think our Police Force is lacking behind in manner in which we treat our officers. Over the years, there has been a serious leadership gaff in the RSVGPF especially in its upper echelon. Officers always faced victimization for speaking out.
Freedom of expression is guaranteed under our constitution. Therefore, if the Commissioner was to discipline the Officer he will be clearly infringing on his constitutional right. In case you did not know, the constitution is the highest law in the land and any other law that is enacted must not contradict it. The Officer who spoke out was not being indiscipline but clearly disgruntled about his working conditions. Quite frankly, I support the officer’s action and I think all members of the RSVPF should do this more often that’s the only their plight will be answered.
The Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force needs a change manager. Number one on the list of prioties are to change the working dress uniform. The uniform is not conducive for the climate and totally unappealing. A Police in uniform must be highly visible and properly equip to deal with any potential threats i.e. he must be equipped with a handcuff, aerosol projector (MACE), Expandable Baton, Radio and a Utility vest that can double as body armour. The African Safari Bush Jacket worn by the Commissioner and other senior ranks must go. It is intimidating to the public and costly to make. Additionally, this uniform is not operationally workable. We are wasting money by having our senior police officers sitting in offices in khaki while the men are left out there without proper leadership and a clear strategy to pursue. Many Vincentians have complained about the manner in which they are treated when approached by our police officers. This has to be fixed; we are there to protect the public not to fight against them. Problems like these can be easily corrected with proper training and supervision of our officers.
There needs to be a comprehensive overhaul of the Force training mechanism, welfare association, operational protocols and the organizational structure. Most important, the Force needs an Information Technology (IT) platform to effectively meet the challenges of the 21st Century. I looked at the NDP debacle in parliament and the public order challenges that spun off from that. Our police officers were very vulnerable because they were ill equipped to deal with a potential riot. The public order gear worn by members of the Special Services Unit (SSU) is obsolete. It seems the Commissioner is waiting for handouts from Canada, the United States and Great Britain. This demonstrates a complete lack of concern for our officers.
Traditionally, RSVPF Police Commissioners have treated their subordinates very poorly. Those officers who fail to worship them faced the axe and stifled growth. The number one priority in any organization is to look after your employees. I realize the major problem faced by the force over the years is a question of leadership. The reality is RSVGP needs a complete turnaround. The Prime Minister needs to step in and appoint professional committee from the UK to conduct a review into the Force so that we can move to modernize it.
I am not some person speaking idly. I have served in the RSVP and have almost twenty years policing experience. So Mr. Kojo you need get in tune.
Wade Kojo Williams, Sr.:
@ “Augustus Carr”:
Greetings Augustus Carr.
["...I am not some person speaking idly. I have served in the RSVP and have almost twenty years policing experience. So Mr. Kojo you need get in tune". - Augustus Carr]
Yes Sir, I realise you were not speaking. You wrote and wrote a lot. Most of which I disagree with.
Like you, I am not some person speaking idly. Did very well on Course 50 at the RPTC in Barbados. Returned home and served as Clerk at Central Police Station, where my main duty was preparing the Daily Duty Roster (Scheduling). Also served as Clerk of Eastern Division. Represented the Police Force at Track and Field, Cricket and Foot Ball. Sang at Police Guest Nights.
Served as Secretary of the Police Welfare Association and made several representations to Premier James Mitchell, Premier Milton Cato and Et Joshua. Also dealt with police matters as a member of the Milton Cato government.
Worked for over 12 years as a Manager of a Security and Investigations Company here in Canada.
If I am out of tune``, blame the SVG media. I listen to several radio programmes daily (including your favourite on Nice Radio) and read most of the weekly publications. And trust me, I communicate with many police officers via FaceBook Messages and emails.
["It appears that you are very out of touch with the direction the Royal St. Vincent Grenadines Police Force (RSVPF) should take with regards to the police officer who spoke out because he was clearly disgruntled about his working conditions..." - Augustus Carr]
May be I am "out of touch", my brother. You may be right.
["...Freedom of expression is guaranteed under our constitution. Therefore, if the Commissioner was to discipline the Officer he will be clearly infringing on his constitutional right..."]
Nonsense!! My brother, freedom of expression comes have limitations. As a former police officer “with 20 years experience”, you should know that.
May I suggest that you start a movement to work to remove Oaths of Secrecy and
confidentiality from all policies, regulations and Acts in SVG, in the public and private sectors?
Brother Carr, my commentary (above) addresses process.
["...So Mr. Kojo you need get in tune"]
Sorry to disappoint you my brother, De I nah ah geh inna fohyo tune.
Dat dey ah "lang meter heavy tune" wid poor lyrics.
Peace & Love.
The problem with the fire service stems from the heads of the establishment which is the arshole of SVG policing.
Fire officers are ill disciplined and lazy. They are also under equipped to a dangerous level and what equipment they have is generally useless.
The whole police force is in the doldrums, people being brought in to hop over the heads of long serving officers, stealing their commissions and futures.
Police officers with criminal records, employed when there are plenty of new young talents shoved aside to facilitate criminal officers, officers who know to much and cannot be let go, less they reveal, or let the cat out of the bag.
The fire department have fire vehicles which are grossly neglected by them. When you drive past a London or New York fire station, you will see officers washing and polishing there fire engines, everyday. You will find fire engines twenty years old gleaming like new vehicles. Kingstown firemen have never polished a fire engine, never carried out daily and weekly maintenance of the engine and equipment.
I doubt that the fire service has ever put a fire out. They arrive with no gear, defective pumps and hoses, and no water in the tank is common. The public watching have a good laugh, this is now the SVG standard for firefighting.
God help us if the airport fire engine has to put out an aircraft fire, I doubt there is any foam. And you know that such fires cannot be put out with water.
At most airports around the world they have a drill every couple of months, where several 50 gallon drums full of old oil are ignited, then the fire engine and the officers tested in their ability to out the flames. I doubt such a drill has ever been carried out in SVG.
And we are building an airport at Argyle [which is already cursed] for big jets, with no emergency capable hospital and a crap record for airport fire service.
MILLAR AND GONSALVES, should be ashamed of themselves, they are ultimately to blame.
That's why I opened with "The problem with the fire service stems from the heads of the establishment which is the arshole of SVG policing".
Before I move on, I need to make a point unequivocally clear; long serving police officers doesn’t make the best Commissioners. Intelligent people with good leadership skills and acquired competence make the best Commissioners. St. Vincent and the Grenadines needs a dynamic and innovative Commissioner. A Commissioner who can articulate the kind of change our police force needs to address the many serious issues of crime that confronts our country. Unfortunately, our police leadership is very much caught up with the status quo and stifled in the abyss of colonialism. That’s the reason why our Force is not advancing and many forces in the Caribbean are failing. Despite these concerns, I think we have capable police officers to implement the kinds of change necessary and lead the Force in the 21st Century.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines does not have an Official Secrets Act. There are certain stipulations in the Police Standing Orders that prevents officers from speaking about police matters. This however relates to operational matters. Generally, police officers are forbidden from commenting about matters i.e. raids, execution of warrants, and any other operation involving enforcement. They are also forbidden from circulating and leaking official police documents outside the Force. This is very important to prevent compromise. Most police Forces like ours now have a press officer but senior officers can speak about certain matters. Whereas there might be restrictions on commenting on operational issues as indicated, there is nothing preventing an officer from voicing his welfare concerns.
On another note:
Our Police Force is at a critical stage where it has to do more to prevent violent crimes. We need to move expeditiously to deal with illegal firearms and drugs. Each Police Station should be assigned at least four (4) vehicles to be used in conducting stop searches and responding to reports. I heard guns are all over SVG and completely out of control. We also need to strengthen our laws to give a mandatory seven (7) year sentence for illegal gun possession and no bail for such offenses. I know the magistrate’s court has a limit on it sentencing guidelines but this should be raised to a maximum of seven (7) years or gun related matters should be tried on indictment in the Supreme Court. Any person who is found with an offensive weapon in public place should be taken to court and remanded.
I am calling on the Prime to appoint two United Kingdom professionals to conduct a review of our Force with a view to modernize it. I am requesting this because our Police Force needs to be reengineered to meet the challenges of the 21st Century and we must move to root out all aspects of police corruption. The role of the police Force is to prevent and detect crime, protect life and property, and arrest offenders. That’s what our policemen and women are to being nothing else.
There is no reason why our fire service should be under the police. It is time for the Government to look at hiring civilians to fill these roles and place it under a separate head in home affairs. Immigration should be removed from under the police completely. The Police band should be allocated two (2) days to practice and the other three (3) days assigned to police work. I see no reason for police officers to be assigned to playing music for a whole week unless they are going around to the schools to teach music and even that is questionable. More police on the streets and high visibility policing is the way to go to prevent crime.
GONSALVES, told us he worships Obeah, he told us that in parliament, its in the Hansard recordings, I was there and heard him say it, I was in the public gallery. Yet I have never heard Gonsalves apologize and retract that statement. The statement was either blasphemous, because he said he does’ Obeah for the Lord, or he was referring to the Lord of Darkness, Satan, whichever, he said it, his words.
Thank you AUGUSTUS CARR, for your well constructed and informative post.
I must however point out that GONSALVES has just spent the last 12 years reengineering the police into its present form. As part of that he removed PACE to allow police officers to torture confessions from people. GONSALVES and the government obviously support torture, otherwise why did the they reemploy convicted police officers who specialized in torture, beating youths until unconscious.
GONSALVES like the police as he has them, and the Black Squad are now his own political squad.
Do you really think he wants British here, North Korean, Iranian, Venezuelan, Cuban, maybe, but British, I don't think so.
And Augustus, don’t forget we now have training facilities at the ALBA military school who are training ALBA member police forces. The school is currently using Iranian Revolutionary Guard as trainers. How many of GONSALVES Black Squad have passed through there already?
I have looked at the PACE Act and I think it is a pretty good peace of legislation. The Police have a greater level of accountability under this peace of legislation; at least in the UK. There are safeguards against Stop Searches, and arbitrary arrest and detention.
It is wrong to say Gonsalves supports torture. I have my reservations about some of the Prime Ministers decision but I think for the most part he means SVG well. While Prime Minister Gonsalves might be doing things slightly different from other politician I think it is wrong to insinuate this. Other than Prime Minister Mitchell and himself there is no one in our political sphere who has the vision and the courage to move SVG forward in such difficult times. Suffice to say, our Country might be a lot better off if Gonsalves just focus on the economic and fiscal side of things and leave National Security to the Governor General. We must change the “status quo”.
The worse thing that ever happened to Police and Defense Forces in the Caribbean were to place them under a Minister of National Security. My view is that it is time for Governor Generals and Presidents in the independent Caribbean Countries to assume these responsibilities. I am of the firm belief that Police and Defense Forces, and the Attorney General Chambers should be placed under the Governor General or someone who has no political affiliation. Our Caribbean Islands are too small to politicize these essential services. These services must be allowed to stand on there own to prevent political interference and avoid them from being used as political machinery. I have seen how politics have influenced and affected the prosecutorial process from Bahamas in the North to Guyana in the South. We must move to change this.
It is time for SVG to sever ties with the ALBA before things get worse. The ALBA is part of Hugo Chavez conceited plan to undermined American influence in the Caribbean and create a major security block to repel American Invasion of Venezuela. St. Vincent and the Grenadines is playing with a double edged sword. We must choose between siding with Venezuela or America. We can’t accept American aid and then support a country whose president is anti American. I believe we will pay the ultimate price sometime in the future. Our relationship with Venezuela should only be one of necessity nothing else. How can we support Chavez when Venezuela has an ongoing territorial dispute with Trinidad and Guyana both members of CARICOM? If there was a war between those countries and Venezuela who should we support? Prime Minister Gonsalves is a man of many compromises. He needs to conduct a serious introspection. Despite this, I still think he is the best man for the job.
Augusta’s, whilst I agree with much of what you say, there are of course some things which I do not agree with.
I cannot accept that a man such as Gonsalves is the right man fit for the job.
I believe he behaves in a crass and unbecoming manner, tells dreadful lies and is very spiteful. He took us into ALBA without asking the people. And is leading us down a very dangerous road to being a communist state.
Who else would be suitable is a matter which one needs to study. But I would replace him with a younger [unrelated] man. There are some promising people in both parties.
Isn't it great that we can communicate with each other without all the malice that some of these people bring with them?
I respect your insight and your personal position on Prime Minister Gonsalves. That is why I said he needs look at himself internally. Integrity in public life is a major cornerstone of good governance. He has to improve this aspect of his life so the Vincentian people can have confidence and trust in his leadership.
I believe the PM is conscious that he has made some mistakes in his style of governance but I do think his ego clouts the better side of him. Additionally, I think the opposition has defamed him over the years. We have to face the facts. No matter how great a politician might be he cannot please everyone.
Hon Sabato Ceaser shows tremendous potential. I believe that he will become a really great candidate for Prime Minister in the future. He should be considered to become the Deputy Prime Minister as replacement for the defunct Hon Girlin Miguel. A good Prime Minister has to have the will and determination to succeed. That is PM Gonsalves greatest attribute. I really do not see much of the other ministers out there taking charge and providing the leadership as they should. Is it because he micro-manages them?
I would like to see PM Gonsalves become a better listener and get rid of his policy of exclusionism. He should become a Prime Minister for all. This includes giving the Grenadines 100% support through improved infrastructure. It is time for each Grenadine Island to have its own desalination plant. He should also subsidize the operation of the Old Hegg Turtle Sanctuary in Bequia through the Ministry of Agriculture. Simple things like these can change Vincentian perception of him and the Labour Party.
Finally, kudos to the editor of Caribbean News Now for giving us the opportunity to have such an insightful discussion. Caribbean News Now is a great journal.