Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s recent appointment of former Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin as a crime consultant to the current Commissioner Tyrone Griffith has raised a red flag from ex-Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite.
Last Friday Mottley told a press conference at Parliament Buildings that Dottin was being brought back to the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) to lend “his skills” to the crime fight.
While the Prime Minister did not elaborate, her Attorney General Dale Marshall later explained that Dottin, who was sent on administrative leave during the previous Democratic Labour Party administration’s tenure amid allegations of illegal wiretapping being carried out by the Force, would be advising Griffith on crime matters. Dottin had denied the wiretapping allegations. Two members of the Special Branch had given sworn affidavits to the Police Service Commission that they had carried out the wiretappings under instructions. Those officers have recently been transferred from the Special Branch.
“I believe that this will be an opportunity, first to welcome the former commissioner back in the area of lending his skills in helping us deal with the issue. The current commissioner has welcomed him and has welcomed the advice of the former commissioner because he recognizes that many of these issues have presented themselves in Barbados society in the past,” Marshall said on Friday.
However, former Attorney General Brathwaite is not buying that.
“I find it difficult to support such an appointment. What does it say about the deputy and other Gazetted officers,” Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY this afternoon.
He also saw the return of Dottin as having an adverse impact on the morale of the constabulary.
“I can only see such an appointment undermining the confidence that the rank and file and the ordinary man in the street have in the [present] commissioner who in my opinion has been doing an excellent job in tackling crime in this country, [while] repairing a fractured police force which he inherited,” Brathwaite warned.
This development comes on the heels of a frightening spike in gun violence which is responsible for five of the eight murders so far and a decision by the Prime Minister to relieve Home Affairs Minister Edmund Hinkson of those duties related to law and order and reassign them to AG Marshall.
Meanwhile, the former Attorney General has hit back at Government accusations that the police force was starved of resources under his watch, resulting in the present crime situation.
“It is not true. Yes, we had certain measures in place that all ministries were impacted. But over the last three years, if my memory serves me correctly, the [then] Minister of Finance made it quite clear, that when it comes to law and order that we would not be compromising this society by [being] forced to cut back within the ministries [the AG’s Office and Barbados Defence Force (BDF)],” he added.
He recalled that the former Minister of Finance had told the commissioner during the time of the last Democratic Labour Party Estimates he would get what he requested.
“The police were given the resources that they required. They didn’t get everything that they would have liked. No ministry gets everything that they would like. But it is untrue to say that they were starved of resources and that impacted on their ability to solve crime because they were solving crimes all along,” the ex-Attorney General told Barbados TODAY.
Brathwaite also conceded that he would have liked to see more police officers on the streets and an increase in community policing.
In further defending his stewardship as Minister in charge of the police, he said he had discussed with the commissioner removing officers from doing clerical duties to undertaking actual crime-fighting.
“Certainly as Attorney General and certainly as an administration, we didn’t put our hands up in the air and said we could not do anything to arrest the issue of gun violence in this country. We identified what was required,” contended the former legal advisor to the DLP Government. He insisted that his administration did more training for officers during the tenure of the present commissioner than was done in the three years previous.
Barbados TODAY reached out to former commissioner Dottin for comment, but he declined to speak at this time.
Another former commissioner Grantley Watson said he was not in a position to comment as yet, while his predecessor Orville Durant said he was not touching the issue of Dottin’s appointment.
“You are dragging me into the political thing and all of that . . . I don’t want that. I have had enough of that in my life,” declared the ex-top cop.
Barbados TODAY also sought to hear from Sir Elliott Belgrave, who, as then Governor General, was called upon by the Police Service Commission (PSC) to sanction its recommendation that Dottin be sent on administrative leave.
However, Sir Elliott refused to be drawn into any discussion on the Dottin issue, insisting that he was retired.
When contacted, president of the Barbados Police Association (BPA) Mervin Grace made it clear that Dottin’s appointment was not an issue for its members.
“He is there to consult to the commissioner of police on the matters in relation to the crime situation, not the other internal running of the force,” Grace said.
This would mark the first occasion in modern Barbados’ history that a retired police commissioner has been brought back to serve as a consultant/advisor to a sitting commissioner of police and/or Government. firstname.lastname@example.org