THE NEW TODAY is calling for a totally independent investigation into what appears to be a gasolinegate scandal within the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) in light of credible information received that some officers are abusing the traveling allowances provided by the State to public officers.
In last week’s issue, this newspaper published a damning letter from a member of RGPF in which he indicated that some “senior police officers continue to use government vehicles even if they receive traveling allowances”.
The letter identified TU5 as one of the vehicles that regularly fill up at the Police Gas pump on the Carenage for the use of a senior cop who is known to be enjoying the traveling allowance perks.
It should not be difficult to identify those officers who are abusing the system by getting involved in this alleged act of wrongdoing as all vehicles that receive free gas from the police are logged in a book at Central Police station on the Carenage.
The newspaper article generated quite a stir within RGPF and several police officers provided us with a list of other persons who were abusing the system including of all places the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) that should be probing into criminal activities of a financial nature.
This is a serious allegation of wrongdoing involving police officers at the expense of the taxpayers of the country and the police themselves or even the FIU should not be asked to probe into wrongdoing involving their peers but to get a totally independent body to handle this matter in the name of transparency.
It begs the question – who to guard the guard? The FIU has now been brought into public disrepute if any of its members are engaged in the gasolinegate scandal.
THE NEW TODAY has no confidence in the very compromised Integrity Commission taking charge of this kind of investigation that is needed from an independent body to delve into the police force.
This alleged wrongdoing by some members of the police force is very similar to the cellphonegate scandal involving certain known persons who are not even on government’s payroll like Ex-Senator Sheldon Scott who raked up a bill of $70, 000 in just three months.
The Keith Mitchell-led government has not been fair to the taxpayers of the country with the kind of so-called investigation that took place into the cellphone gate affair.
Several months later the regime in power has failed to provide any information to the public on the exact amount of monies that were pilfered from the coffers of the Treasury by those caught in the act of wrongdoing.
The public has also been kept totally in the dark on whether a repayment plan has been put in place by government to recover the financial losses suffered by the public at the hands of Sen. Scott and others.
It is time for the Senators of the main opposition National Democratic Congress (NDC) to start asking some serious questions in the Upper House to get answers and information in the national interest on the status of cellphonegate.
If the Senators are not capable of putting together questions of substance then the NDC should use its experienced Members of Parliament to help draft those questions to be put to the Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Simon Stiell to provide the people with all the answers on cellphonegate.
Dr. Mitchell and his NNP control all 15 seats in the Lower House of Parliament and will not be inclined to give out pertinent information to the public on the issue which they hope will go away from the minds of Grenadians.
This gasolinegate issue appears to be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to alleged wrongdoing involving police officers.
Another of the stinging accusations in the letter from a member of RGPF concerns the criminal offence of rape and other acts of sexual assault by some members of the force in “Khaki” clothes against a number of female officers.
This is nothing new but the problem is that the High Command often respond by choosing to sweep this criminal act involving its own under the carpet.
A number of women in the force have told their stories to other women and close confidantes about those officers who “rape” them but are reluctant to come forward out of fear of reprisals and victimisation.
There is also a vexing issue in the force among those holding the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) who feel a sense of injustice as no attempt is being seemingly made to appoint them on promotion to fill the vacant positions.
Our information is that vacancies exist within RGPF for approximately 17 Superintendents and officers are being overlooked and denied the opportunity to be elevated to occupy those vacant positions and to regularise this situation within the force.
Does the Acting Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin and the Minister of National Security who is Prime Minister Mitchell expect to get the best out of some of the police officers when they are being treated unfairly and their concerns are not being addressed?
There is a great deal of unhappiness within the police force at a time when certain ugly crimes are taking place especially burglary.
A case in point is last weekend’s murder of Colman Redhead when a person or persons unknown broke into his apartment at Ross Point Inn in Belmont to commit a crime and killed him in the process.
It’s time to bring this lawlessness in the State and now involving the very police force under control.