The New Today
Editorials

Systematic failure!!!

The Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has become “the whipping boy” for the major tragedy in which three prisoners escaped from the South St George Police Station and are now the subject of a murder investigation in the death of two American yachties.

As unfortunate as the incident is, THE NEW TODAY would like us as a nation to start a deep reflection and look into the root cause of the entire situation and the problem.

A few years ago former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell was bold and honest to admit that the system for good governance in the country has broken down and needed to be fixed.

It is well-known and established that Dr. Mitchell himself played a significant role in deliberately dismantling the system that was handed down to us by the British, in order to rule with an iron-fist over the entire country and its population.

The Judiciary, Public Service Commission, Police Force, Healthcare for the public including the Hospital services are all in shambles in Grenada due to this massive breakdown of the system.

With specific reference to the current situation with the alleged murder of the two American citizens, the Police have to accept some of the blame but the country also needs to look at the kind of legal service that is now in force in Grenada.

The Political Directorate has not done anything in the last 20 to 30 years to remedy some of the glaring shortcomings in the Judiciary.

Every year, several criminals will be brought before the court to answer for crimes committed and are sent to the Richmond Hill prison and soon thereafter granted bail and allowed to come back out into the community.

Our Judges and Magistrates should not be blamed in most cases as they have to operate and dispense justice within the confines of the law that is presented to them by the lawmakers in our Parliament.

Our policemen and women are human beings just like all of us and must feel a sense of frustration to see known dangerous criminals being caught by them for infringing on the law and within a matter of days are released from custody at the Richmond Hill Prison.

The country has failed to look at serious alternatives to address this weakness in the system.

Congress came into power 20 months ago on the Transformational Agenda platform and should start the ball rolling in looking at alternatives to the current broken down system.

THE NEW TODAY is suggesting that it is time to give serious consideration to handling known dangerous criminals who often violate the law as if they have some kind of impunity from punishment.

The time has come to start using tracking devices on some of the convicted criminals as part of a “who-is-who” list to be released to the public so that everyone at the community level will be fully aware of these dangerous people.

The Government Legal Department should also look at engaging Constitutional experts to determine whether human rights are being violated and infringed upon in any form or fashion in this kind of approach to these criminal elements in the society.

There is nothing worthwhile in pointing fingers at the Judges, Magistrates and Lawyers for the current problem because all of these people are subjected to the rule of law that is now existing in the country.

These officers of the court have to often play a balancing act in terms of taking actions that can result in over-crowding at the prison, as well as the implications on the public purse to upkeep persons at the Richmond Hill prison.

The High Command of RGPF, the Prime Minister in his capacity as Minister of National Security and the National Security Advisor have their work cut out to ensure that the incident with these three escapees and two American yachties will never repeat itself at any police station on the island.

Heads should roll wherever it is found that the Police at South St George did not execute their duties properly and badly embarrassed the entire nation as Grenada is still in the spotlight in the international media over the tragedy.

The Acting Commissioner of Police Don McKenzie has announced that an investigation has already started into the entire episode.

The Chief Cop did give assurances that he was prepared to make available the findings to the public and this is a correct decision.

A few years ago, former Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell was forced to make significant changes to the High Command of RGPF due to the dismal showing of some of them during the passage of Hurricane Ivan in 2004.

The public was able to get a glimpse into some of the shortcomings of the hierarchy of the Force during the hurricane, especially the lack of leadership that was demonstrated by some of the high-ranking officers.

Finally, THE NEW TODAY was not satisfied with the total silence of the government especially the Prime Minister on the issue given the fact that it took on major international ramifications for the country.

PM Dickon Mitchell could at least use Social Media on his overseas trip to send a message to Grenadians and the world community of reassurance that the issue is a serious one and that the government will leave no stone unturned to get to the bottom of it.

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