The decision to send Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin on administrative leave pending his retirement and Government’s continuing silence on the matter are a threat to Barbados’ safety and security.
That’s the view of Opposition Barbados Labour Party spokesman Senator Wilfred Abrahams, who today maintained his party’s call for Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite to tell Barbadians why Dottin had to go “in the public interest”.
Speaking in the Senate during debate on the Police Complaints Authority (Validation) Bill, the attorney-at-law also said he did not think that the Police Service Commission “fully understands and appreciates the import of their actions” and he believed the Royal Barbados Police Force was “imploding”.
“The safety and security felt by the majority of Barbadians and felt by tourists and visitors coming to Barbados is dependent on the belief that the Royal Barbados Police Force and its members will protect and serve us and our visitors,” he said.
“We cannot have that same confidence at this point, we cannot have that same confidence in the face of silence by the Attorney General and the Prime Minister as to what is happening with the police force
“None of the force’s top positions are settled, they are all locked in litigation before the Supreme Court of Barbados. Enough is enough, the Government needs to take the people of Barbados into its confidence and it needs to speak on this most important topic.
Abrahams said Brathwaite “needs to say something by way of explanation”, and that Stuart “has to say something to reassure the public of Barbados that the Government is still in control and operating to a plan”.
“There is a constitutional right to silence, but that right still needs to be exercised. Continued silence by the powers that be will lead any right thinking person to lose all confidence in the machinery of Government, will lose all confidence in Government’s ability to govern and the Prime Minister’s ability to lead. If ever there was a time for the Prime Minister of Barbados to speak that time is now,” he stated. “The right of the public to know what is happening with the Royal Barbados Police Force … must supersede the right of the Attorney General of Barbados and the Prime Minister to silence. This silence is a blatant disregard and utterly contemptuous to the public of Barbados who demands an explanation.” The BLP representative also saw a need to improve the functioning of the Police Complaints Authority, saying “the average Barbadian believes that the Police Complaints Authority is a complete and total waste of time, they believe that nothing actually gets done”. “The workings of the Police Complaints Authority are shrouded in mystery,” he said. “When a complainant makes a complaint to the Police Complaints Authority a couple months later you get a letter saying that your complaint has been received and it is being investigated and nine out of 10 times … you hear nothing again in relation to the complaint. “You get some action if the complainant is actually angry enough and follows up over and over…, but it is almost as if the complaint is filed away in drawer 59 never to be heard of again. The public wants to know and the Opposition wants to know what really is going on with the Police Complaints Authority.” (SC)
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