Attorney General Dale Marshall today led debate on the Police (Amendment) Bill to Parliament to regularise the appointment of the second Deputy Commissioner to the Royal Barbados Police Force.
The Police Act, which was the centre of heated national debate, was first highlighted by Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn on May 5. Since then there has been outrage by the public with some people calling the appointment “illegal”.
But the AG told the House of Assembly that Government was responding to a plea made by Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith who penned a letter to the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs on November 7, 2018.
The AG then outlined the contents of the letter:
“It is headed Recommendation for an Additional post of Deputy Commissioner of Police within the Royal Barbados Police Force.
“Apropos of various discussions with Prime Minister Honourable Mia Mottley and the Minister of Home Affairs Honourable Edmund Hinkson I write to formally make a recommendation for the creation of an additional post of Deputy Commissioner of Police.
“’This is an earnest request from the Commissioner of Police asking that this administration creates an additional post and he set out the rationale.’
“He says: ‘The Deputy Commissioner of Police is expected to assist the Commissioner of Police with his responsibilities and act as Commissioner of Police in his absence. He is specifically responsible for ensuring that all complaints made against members of the force are properly investigated and appropriate action taken and takes direct responsibility for overseeing the operations of the Police Band. Further, the Deputy Commissioner has four Assistant Commissioners of Police reporting to him on the areas of responsibility. The Assistant Commissioners are assigned the following areas: Assistant Commissioner Human Relations, Assistant Commissioner Administration, Assistant Commissioner Criminal Investigations, Assistant Commissioner Operation Services.
“’Oversight of all these Departments have proven to be very demanding and results in some areas not as effectively monitored and managed as is desirable. Added to this the demands of law enforcement have grown exponentially over the past ten years requiring the constant rethinking and reviewing of policing strategies and the need to pay greater attention to detail and follow through. In this regard, it is expedient that we move towards the institution of two posts of Deputy Commissioner of Police, the attainment of which will lead to greater administrative effectiveness and efficiency.’”
The chief lawmaker said that amid all the opposition no one had said that there was no need for two deputy commissioners.
“It is a plea that was answered by this administration,” said Marshall. “We have spent a lot of time and energy debating the matter of the Deputy Commissioner of Police and as far as I can distil the essence of the debate the argument has never been that we don’t need an additional deputy commissioner of police. Not a fella has said that.”
Marshall said it was Senator Franklyn who created and magnified the issue.
He said: “The argument fanned, created, blown up and invented too by the second lieutenant and second in command of the Leader of the Opposition’s party is that the appointment was unlawful.
“The argument has never been that by attempting to create an additional post of deputy commissioner of police…. That we were engaging in some abuse of power, in some licking out of Government expenditure, in some ignoble and dishonourable purpose; none of those things were ever canvassed. That tells me that at no time could it be said that the Barbadian public felt that the appointment of a second deputy commissioner of police was not justified.”
The AG lamented that the debate has been focused purely on a formalistic approach as oppose to a substantive approach.
He explained: “We have gotten two legal opinions from the finest minds in Barbados on this issue as to whether or not it was lawful to appoint an individual to an additional post of deputy commissioner of police in circumstances where the Police Act says there is to be a Deputy Commissioner of Police.”
“There are many ways to approach the issue and the one settled in law has to do with the doctrine of implied repeal which says Parliament is in limitable and therefore if it passes a law that is inconsistent with an earlier law then by virtue of that limitability the earlier inconsistent statue is deemed to be impliedly repealed for that purpose. The only limitation known to law is the Constitution.”
The Attorney General recalled that at the time he gave a commitment and that he was fulfilling that commitment today.
“I did not feel that we wanted to get into a public debate, drawing in the opinions of legal luminaries, the niceties of the law and citing two or three dozen cases supporting the point. In my statement on the issue I said that it needed tidying up and that we would tidy it up at the earlier opportunity given the COVID challenges,” Marshall said. (IMC)
Read our ePaper. Fast. Factual. Free.
Sign up and stay up to date with Barbados' FREE latest news.