The issue of rampant Sexual Abuse within the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has once again come to the forefront of national attention.
THE NEW TODAY would like to commend the female police officer for the bravery displayed in coming out and bringing attention to the plight of some of her colleagues especially at the hands of perpetrators who hold some of the most senior positions in the force.
It is a problem which no Commissioner of Police has ever attempted to tackle in a serious way despite the establishment of a Sexual Crimes Unit within RGPF.
It appears on the surface that the current Commissioner of Police Edvin Martin established the unit to deal exclusively with the civilian population and not those members of our law enforcement agencies.
It is said that charity begins at home and Commissioner Martin has a duty and responsibility to clean up the sexual abuse mess in the Police Force.
Martin’s predecessor, Winston James had the well-publicised case on his hand to deal with in which three top members of the force including one who is currently sitting in one of the chairs set aside for members of the High Command, were identified by a junior officer for sexual harassment including rape by a Superintendent of Police.
The issue was swept under the carpet as the culprits were not given as much as a slap on the wrist.
Today, one of the culprits named by the female junior officer is knocking on the door for promotion to the High Command as an Assistant Commissioner of Police.
A deeper look into RGPF can easily see the reason for some of the problems within the Police Force. No serious law enforcement agency will have someone as Michael Francois with a very questionable past and track record as Deputy Commissioner of Police.
There must be some other reason other than performance on the job for Francois to be given such rapid promotions over the years above several more competent, hardworking and astute police officers.
Is there more than meet the eye when Francois who was just brought back into RGPF after suspension over the purchase of a vehicle from a drug lord in the country was appointed as the police officer to assist Sir Richard Cheltenham in the one-man investigation into the US$500, 000.00 Briefcase inquiry involving Prime Minister Mitchell?
The female junior officer who came out to raise the issue of growing sexual abuse in the Police Force also alluded to rising tension within RGPF among several female police officers and female Traffic Wardens who are involved in sexual relationships with several of the men in Khaki.
The complaint is that many of the female officers cannot give instructions to the Traffic Wardens because they are quickly overturned by their superiors not on the grounds of any work-related matter but because of sexual connections. What kind of police force is this in Grenada?
The irony of the situation facing Grenada is that the Traffic Wardens and the Imanis are vital components of the election machinery of Dr. Mitchell’s ruling New National Party (NNP).
The “green machinery” is looking to these two categories of workers for votes to ensure victory on Polling Day.
It is common knowledge in some communities on the island that the Traffic Wardens are very powerful and growing increasingly in influence within RGPF.
As one villager pointed out, civilians often call the police station in their area for assistance and the excuse is often given that there is no transport available at the moment.
However, within minutes, an officer from the very police station will drive into the area to pick up some young lady to go and buy a cylinder of gas for her home use.
Villagers also reported that during the Covid-19 curfew, many of the police officers could be seen in just about each and every hole at night doing everything else except police duties with females.
The latest happenings within the police force where sex predators are on the rampage is a reflection of the growing breakdown of law and order in the society.
THE NEW TODAY is convinced that as long as Dr. Keith Mitchell remains in office as Prime Minister and serves as the Commander-in-Chief of RGPF that the issue of sexual abuse in the police force would continue unabated.
Dr. Mitchell has already told us that the system has broken and nothing is being done by him to arrest the situation.
There are too many instances of sexual abuse of our women folks happening under his watch and the response from him is rather lukewarm.
The Cletus St Paul episode is a case in point and the reaction of the Prime Minister to the incident when the victim met him to alert him what was done to her by his Personal Assistant whom he directed to assist her with a housing problem.
It is time for Dr. Mitchell to step aside and allow someone else even within the NNP set-up to take over the mantle of leadership of the country to seriously tackle some of the burning problems affecting Grenada.
The current holder of the top office in the Botanical Gardens can win another five more elections but the truth of the matter is that the society has gone past him and left him behind as a lonely figure for a long time now.
Grenada needs to breathe some new fresh air under a new dispensation as the man who has been in charge of the nation’s affairs for the better part of 30-years is no longer capable of successfully leading the process.