The New Today
Editorials

Dealing with distrust!!!!

THE NEW TODAY is calling for the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to take full charge of the investigation into the incident involving the Regis Family in Fontenoy, St. George and members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPG).

The atmosphere is too charged-up between the grieving family members for the police to be seen as leading the investigation into the troubling events which led to the death of the father and the shooting of his son by gunfire at the hands of the police.

There is too much distrust right now and the DPP is best placed to take charge of the situation and to give directions and for the police to report to him directly.

The shooting incident has also raised for a public conversation the need for Parliament to pass legislation for the establishment of an independent body to deal with shooting incidents involving police officers and not for RGPF to have oversight of it.

This newspaper had called in the wake of the Jamol Charles shooting incident in Gouyave, St. John earlier in the year for the establishment of a Police Complaints body to handle such matters.

Our politicians who are law-makers already know the old cliché that justice must not only be seen to be done but manifestly done.

The police should be kept as far away as possible from investigating sensitive matters involving members of RGPF itself.

The Grenadian society has come a long way from the pre-independent era when no one objected strongly to a situation in which the police were called upon to investigate matters like these involving their own.

THE NEW TODAY is not pointing any accusing finger at RGPF in the current circumstances but decency and commonsense should dictate that the society will be better served by a totally independent body taking charge of the current situation.

This is especially needed in light of reports coming out from the Regis family that three police officers visited the injured “Santa” while in hospital to sign two things – one a bail form as he was charged for illegal possession of ganja and secondly to initial a bag with the illegal drugs allegedly found at his home.

This is a serious issue in light of statements made to the media earlier by Head of the Community Relations Department (CRD) of the Police Force, Superintendent Vannie Curwen that the police chose not to question “Santa” while hospitalised.

If so, who are these police officers who visited the injured youth on his hospital bed and made requests of him to sign onto something which is relevant to the investigation into alleged drug possession? Was this part of a set-up?

Do we have two police forces in Grenada – one under the command of Commissioner Martin and another run by rogue cops?

This matter should be investigated by those with the lawful authority to run the force in light of allegations made over the years by citizens that some police “plant” evidence on suspects in order to get a conviction in court.

There is also some concern over reports that on Wednesday, the Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. Keith Mitchell visited the Regis family and indicated that he had not seen the police report on the shooting incidents in which the father was shot dead and the son was injured from a bullet in the arm.

It is our sincere hope that the Prime Minister was not trying to throw the police force “under the bus” in order to save face among members of his constituency.

The Prime Minister might be implying that he had not seen a written report from the Acting Commissioner of Police on his desk about the shooting incidents as opposed to verbal communication.

THE NEW TODAY knows that the usual practice is for the Chief of Police to inform the Prime Minister of the country in short order about any shooting incident and the death of anyone in the country especially with the use of firearms.

The Commissioner of Police is also duty bound to ensure that the Prime Minister of the country is briefed on a daily basis whether through a designated person on criminal activities on the island and the Regis shooting will definitely be on the top of the agenda.

It is hard to believe that Commissioner Edvin Martin would not keep the Prime Minister who is also the Minister of National Security and Member of Parliament for St. George North-west fully informed and abreast of the police probe in the incident involving the Fontenoy family.

In addition, the Prime Minister himself should have a keen interest in the shooting as the newly appointed Minister of Youth since this is a matter that involves a youth and also an individual who represented the island at the regional and international level in the sport of swimming.

This is a most unfortunate incident that was allowed to escalate as enough warning signals were given by Mr. Regis that he was badly disturbed over the shooting of his son and might be driven to take the law into his own hands in the pursuit of his own style of justice.

It is time for the “ole talk” to stop and for serious action to take place in these times with all the noise coming from certain quarters about the role of Social Services and Counselling that is available for those really in need of help.

Are Grenadians getting value for money from the government budget that is said to be set aside annually to handle cases like the Regis family?

THE NEW TODAY would also like to express sympathy to those police officers who were injured in the attack against them by Mr. Regis who seemingly went berserk a week ago.

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