THE NEW TODAY can only describe the current situation within the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) with respect to widespread allegations of sexual abuse and molestation of female police officers as nothing but shameful and sickening.
Our recent articles on the issue seemingly forced Police Commissioner Edvin Martin to hurriedly summon all female members of staff to a meeting Wednesday morning at the Trade Centre to address their concerns about the problem within the force.
It is unfortunate that Commissioner Martin choose to go that route to address the issue in a public forum since it is a matter of grave sensitivity and personal interest affecting the female sex in the force.
This is more of a publicity stunt rather than an attempt at a proper and serious investigation of the sex predators within RGPF.
The intelligence report which came out of the meeting is that the chief cop got sufficient information from the females who came forward about specific officers engaged in the unlawful act that can warrant him to launch a criminal investigation into the culprits.
The most frightening information to reach us in recent days concerns the allegation that a very senior officer tried to coerce a female into filing a false report that her boyfriend who is also a junior policeman had forced her into having sexual intercourse with her in order to bring a fake criminal charge against him.
This kind of behaviour gives credence to charges made by some civilians that the police “plant” things on them at times in order to ensure that they are convicted in a law court of a criminal offense, especially drug peddling.
This is a serious matter and no one with this kind of mindset should be allowed to remain as a member of the Police Force.
The issue of sex scandal involving some high-ranking members of RGPF might define the kind of legacy that the current holder of the Office of Commissioner of Police would leave behind whenever the time comes for him to exit the post.
Commissioner Martin has lost the early shine that was there when several members of the force were happy to welcome him a few years ago as their new Chief.
Too many police officers now describe him loosely as “a waste of time” but time is still on his side to correct the perception that is prevailing in the force against him as a flip-flop man.
Quite frankly, THE NEW TODAY is not too sure whether Commissioner Martin’s hands are tied by the Political Directorate and not given a free reign to run an independent police force that is not influenced by the powers-that-be.
However, the information which is now coming out about some criminal activities involving senior members of our premier law enforcement body, can lead any rational human being to conclude that our police force has been relegated to a gang and not a serious outfit for the protection of law and order in the country.
The reports are pointing the dreaded finger in the direction of about eight to ten members of the force from the level of Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) right into the High Command as sex predators.
The conditions which existed when our colonial masters allowed us to move along the independent path towards self-government are now vastly different.
Our society needs to institute laws and measures to deal with the changing times and a generation that is no longer seeing role models in their midst to follow in order to fashion them into becoming more responsible and better citizens of Grenada, Carriacou & Petite Martinique.
The police force should no longer be given exclusive right to investigate all matters of a criminal nature involving its rank and file members.
The time has come for the establishment of a public oversight body, headed by a retired high court judge or magistrate to hold police officers accountable and not allow RGPF to be the sole arbitrator of these internal investigations.
The reality of the situation is that several members of the force have no confidence in the current system that they are forced to operate under and changes should be made to give police officers the confidence that they can report freely to a body that can ensure that justice is done to their complaint.
There is no need for THE NEW TODAY to reiterate cases in the past like the female officer who was raped by a Superintendent in St John and the matter swept under the carpet during the reign of then Commissioner of Police, Winston James.
Our current Minister of National Security, Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell has had nearly 30 years to fix the problem of sexual abuse in RGPF, and has been found wanting.
The ball is now in the court of attorney-at-law Dickon Mitchell and his National Democratic Congress (NDC) outfit to make some kind of a firm and positive statement on the way forward for RGPF especially the issue of sex predators at large in this major security organisation.
The U.S Government has been spending millions of its taxpayer’s dollars to help improve and upgrade the operations of RGPF.
Washington cannot afford to turn a blind eye to these constant reports of sexual abuse and other criminal activities taking place in our police force.
Commissioner Martin can begin the process right away by removing instantly those officers from the force whose names were given to him at Wednesday’s meeting by the female police officers as perpetrators of sexual molestation.
There might not be any evidence at the moment to prosecute these police officers but they should be removed from having any engagement whether in the police force or outside in the general public service with the female sex in close proximity to them.
The Commissioner has enough evidence about the tactics used by these elements within the force to force the women folks into sexual relationship with them.
As one officer said, these “dirty old men in Khaki” will punish you by assigning you to work only on the midnight to early morning shift for failing to lay in bed with them.
Commissioner Martin, it is time for action and stop the pussyfooting and send a serious message to those who no longer see themselves as upholders of law and order but have become with the passage of time the real law-breakers in our society.