There has been a major shake-up in two critical unit of the Royal Barbados Police Force.
While police Public Relations Officer, Inspector David Welch, declined to comment in the absence of Acting Commissioner Tyrone Griffith, well placed sources said the entire national security arm of the forced had been removed, along with the head of the Special Services Unit.
Barbados Today understands that Superintendent William Yearwood has been shifted to replace Assistant Superintendent Richard Boyce, as head of the Special Branch, which is charged with collecting intelligence related to national security.
Additionally, attorney at law and Inspector of Police Barry Hunte, the second in command of the unit, one of nearly two dozen officers who have asked the High Court to examine their non-promotion after a recent revision exercise, has also been removed from the unit.
One senior lawman, when asked about the changes, said: “I have heard about the changes, I am told there is a memo circulating, but I have not received anything official. What I am being told is that the entire Special Branch has been moved, including the two station sergeants and all the constables.
“We have had changes in the force from time to time, but I can’t recall ever seeing anything like this. It would appear that a decision has been made to remove anyone who had any kind of relationship with [former Commissioner of Police] Darwin Dottin.”
Sources also revealed this afternoon that Assistant Superintendent Antonio Forte, the man in charge of the Special Services Unit, has been given temporary command of the entire Operational Support division of the force. One source explained that technically he would still have responsibility for the SSU, since it falls under that division, even though someone else would take charge of day-to-day missions.
Barbados TODAY was told today that last Friday a number of the persons who were impacted by the changes were summoned to the office of the acting commissioner and informed of the pending changes.
One affected member of the force said today: “Of course I am not happy… I am upset! Tell me what crime we have committed to be treated in this way. Have we stolen from CLICO and are now living like kings? Have we been involved in corruption? Have we done something that offends the political leadership?
“Why are we being made to look like criminals in the eyes of other members of the force? Why have we been put in a position where colleagues are making fun of us — dropping remarks?”
This evening, sources in the force said they were also expecting an announcement about a shake-up in the Drug Squad any day now. (RRM)