An incensed member of the Police Service Commission (PSC) has described Prime Minister Mia Mottley’s recent attack on the body for its handling of promotions in the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) as highly irresponsible.
Retired Deputy Commissioner of Police and former top crime sleuth Keith Whittaker has taken Prime Minister Mottley to task for the statements she made last Friday at a news conference at Parliament Buildings to address the current upsurge in gun violence in the island. Mottley launched a verbal assault on the then Guyson Mayers-led PSC as she promised to deal with the issue of promotion which she said had eroded the morale within the police force.
“We are satisfied that the greatest cannibalization of the Royal Barbados Police Force took place in the last few years. It cannot be allowed to happen again. You cannot attack an institution and expect it to prosper…You cannot have successive Commissioners of Police making recommendations for promotions in the police force based on their perceptions of performance and merit and discipline, and then have a Police Service Commission completely ignoring those recommendations and choosing to promote who they want on criteria known only to them,” she told reporters.
But in an equally strident rebuke, Whittaker, who represents the interests of the force on the PSC, this morning lambasted the PM Mottley for lumping everyone on that constitutional body and labelling them in the same manner.
“It is a very irresponsible act…and it is not fair to get on national TV and lambast the Police Service Commission without being aware of all the facts,” the respected former senior cop told Barbados TODAY.
Noting that he was not a political person, the retired senior police officer said it was sad that Barbados had come to this juncture.
“I am not interested in no politician or no political party. I am interested in Barbados and the Royal Barbados Police Force. And that is what I am trying to do on the PSC. I am transparent in everything that I do. Tell her that. If they find the chairman [former] political, that is a matter [for them]; I am not political,” Whittaker stressed.
Whittaker told Barbados TODAY he was hurt by the Prime Minister’s comments.
“After serving 40 years in the Royal Barbados Police Force, it hurts me to know the excellent service that I gave in the force and then I could be pulled in the gutter by the Prime Minister lambasting the PSC…putting all in one basket. I am not in that,” he declared.
Whittaker, who was in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) for lengthy periods during his four decades in the force and linked to the apprehension of some of Barbados’ most notorious criminals, sought to defend his reputation as a “professional”.
“I have a proper character…integrity…I serve; I get shot at; I get dynamite pelt at me for fighting for this country; I get urinated on while waiting for criminals … for this country… and then to be labelled like that. I’m annoyed.
“All of these things I did for this country, then to be lambasted by a Prime Minister. It is wrong…to me. I’m hurt,” he lamented.
Meanwhile, Whittaker told Barbados TODAY he was not sure if the Prime Minister had consulted with the PSC on the appointment of former Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin to be a consultant to the sitting COP Tyrone Griffith.
The PSC, which is headed by new chairperson Margot Greene QC, is responsible for advising the Governor General on appointments in the police force, and to remove and exercise disciplinary control over persons holding or acting in such offices.
Apart from Greene and Whittaker, the other members of the commission are the Reverend Vaughn Watson, Neville Lewis and Shirley Farnum.
This is the first time that a retired commissioner of police has been returned as a consultant to the force and/or government on matters related to crime. The Police Act makes no provisions for the appointment of such a consultant to a sitting Commissioner of Police nor obliges a sitting Commissioner of Police to adhere to any advice given by a civilian consultant.
Neither former PSC chairman Guyson Mayers nor current chairman Greene could be reached for comment.