A former police officer who says he was unlawfully arrested and detained by lawmen more than two years ago is publicly calling for answers from the hierarchy of the Royal Barbados Police Force.
What’s more, Victor Brathwaite of Retreat, St George is requesting authorities at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) to furnish him with the medical report which he has already paid for that relates to his health condition after being taken there from Oistins Police Station.
Brathwaite, a customs broker, told Barbados TODAY that on November 19, 2012, he was heading to the cargo shed at Seawell, Christ Church to clear luggage brought in by private plane. He was in the company of three other men at the time.
He related that about 5 p.m., while on St Bartholomew Road, Christ Church, they were stopped by two vehicles manned by plainclothes police officers. He said when he enquired from the officers the reasons for the interception, he was told they were searching for illegal drugs. Brathwaite said the four officers searched the Navara in which he and his companions were travelling. He said no drugs were found but he and his companions were shoved into the vans and taken to Oistins Police Station.
“At the station my personal property was taken from me and I was told to sit on a bench. After sometime I started to feel ill. I am a diabetic on insulin,” he said, adding he told one of the officers of his condition but got the response from the officer that he cared only about his child who didn’t take insulin.
Brathwaite said the sergeant in charge of the station subsequently instructed that he be taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital where he saw a Dr Herbert and was diagnosed with a blood sugar level of 19 and abnormally high blood pressure.
“I was placed on drips and given insulin,” he said.
Brathwaite said he was returned to the Oistins Police Station about 2 a.m. on November 20 and was given his property and told that he was free to go.
“At no time during my stay in police custody was I informed of my rights as a prisoner, neither did any one of the four guys from the drug squad question or interview me pertaining to the reason why I was brought to Oistins Station,” he said.
The ex-cop stressed he was a licensed customs broker and that his professional status, rights as a citizen, and his integrity had been severely damaged by what he deemed the unprofessional behaviour of the four officers who arrested him.
“What makes it also distressing is that after bringing me to the station, when I returned there from the hospital, the four officers had all gone home, more than likely to their families and another officer who had had no dealing with me sent me home,” he said.
He noted that in addition to the treatment he had endured, he had also lost income as a result of the officers’ interception.
Brathwaite said he made a complaint to the Office of Professional Responsibility following the incident but had received no response from that department in the almost 26 months that have since elapsed.
He stated that in December 2013 he wrote the office of the Commissioner of Police about his complaint and received a reply the following month from Acting Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith informing him that his matter had been assigned to an inspector and that the investigation was at an advanced stage. He produced the relevant documentation.
“I have the highest respect for Mr Griffith but I am demanding answers for what occurred to me. That correspondence came to me January 9, 2014, and this is January 2015, and still no word from the police,” he charged.
But that is not his only concern.
Brathwaite said his lawyers had requested, and he had paid for, a medical report from the QEH in October 2013 and to date the hospital had not fulfilled its responsibility.
“I am a citizen of Barbados by birth. The statute of limitations will soon run out on this matter and I might not be able to pursue my rights. This has been going on since 2012 and I cannot get answers from the police or a report from the hospital,” he said.
Brathwaite explained that the current situation could have been averted if someone in authority in the Royal Barbados Police Force had simply apologized to him for what occurred in November 2012.
When contacted, police officials told Barbados TODAY Brathwaite’s complaint was still being investigated.
Further investigations carried out by Barbados TODAY have revealed that one of the men travelling in the vehicle at the time of its interception by police had been charged in connection with the seizure of 664 pounds of cannabis found in a container at the Bridgetown Port on September 3, 2012.