A plea to The Hon. Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell to allow low ranking officers to have a voice in the RGPF.
First, I am pleased that Grenada is able to have a new Prime Minister to take us out of our dark years. It has been years since we were blinded and manipulated under the previous Prime Minister and even in the RGPF because most of the high ranking officers were part of that party.
I have suffered for years upon years in that organisation and I’m happy to see that someone new can take charge of Grenada and bring changes in the RGPF and Grenada on a whole. Welcome Hon. Dickon Mitchell. Long stay sir.
Now to the meat of the matter: Who can we speak to when we are chastised in the RGPF? I am a senior Woman Police Constable who has been through a lot during my journey in the RGPF and as I get ready to take my leave for retirement in just a few years, my only wish is not a rank or recognition but a voice for the low ranking officers of the RGPF.
Too many times I see things happen to our officers and no one is there to give them a listening ear because the senior officers usually side with the senior officers.
Most junior officers see me as a mother figure so they come to me with the problems they’re experiencing in the RGPF.
A junior officer recently spoke to me about a recent Prosecution course she requested to partake in. She was told by the officer in charge that she will be attending the course.
A few days later she challenged the authority by saying a prisoner is entitled to seek medical attention after her superior failed to bring the prisoner to the hospital saying he is faking.
She decided to speak to someone about it and the officer in charge called her and told her about it and told her she wouldn’t be attending the course anymore. She went to several heads to speak about it but no one will listen to her.
A junior male explained how he left to drop food for his children at home while he was on mobile patrol within the same area and he was told he wasn’t supposed to do so. When he told them that his family is important too he was removed as driver of the station. He tried speaking to the authorities but no one would listen.
Another female officer spoke about her children being sick at home and asked if something can be done since she’s a single parent and no one considered her request. She wrote a request through her officer in charge to see the Commissioner and it has been months and no one reached out to her.
Another female spoke about how the officer in charge of her station wanted her to work two consecutive shifts without rest and when she went to the officers in charge of the division and explained to them that the said officer was trying to take advantage of her, and they did nothing about it. She was then forced to report sick because her body wouldn’t allow her to make it.
Another male spoke about the consecutive night shifts the supervisor gave him which was taking a toll on his health since he doesn’t get to sleep at night and unable to sleep at day and he tried to reach out to his officer in charge who shunned him.
Another male officer spoke about how he was employed to do a specific duty and they wanted him to do something else which he wasn’t trained or employed for and when he spoke about it, no one seemed to care.
I remember the Commissioner of Police held a meeting with the females of the RGPF a few months ago where a WPC stood up and spoke for about 20 minutes and explained how badly she was treated in the RGPF and how she was treated because she didn’t consent to the sexual desires of some of the senior men in the RGPF.
She pleaded to the COP to take a look into her matter and also told him that she made several attempts to make an appointment through the Secretary to speak to him but it was denied. The Commissioner promised to follow up and get back to her.
A few weeks later I met the said officer in the town of St. George doing her job to the best of her ability as she always does. She is always one of the young officers who impressed me. I told her that I was moved by her speech in the COP meeting and asked her what were the results concerning her request.
Her response was: “The Commissioner told me he spoke to the Staff Officer and his secretary and they both said I never made an appointment but that’s a lie because I called the secretary three times and all she said she will get back to me and she never did.
I believe the secretary was only trying to secure her job and her 8 to 4 shift with weekends off and she believed if she spoke the truth then they might have sent her to regular duties. I don’t blame her. Anyone might have done it. What I was shocked about is that the COP told me the exact words – ‘That’s water under the bridge.”
Another officer appealed a matter at the Orderly room because she made a request to the Commissioner for another Adjudicator to try her matter instead of the female Adjudicator who she believed didn’t like her and provided reasons why the matter wouldn’t be fair.
“I don’t mind if I’m found guilty. I just need to know that it was transparent and fair so that’s why I made a request for another Adjudicator,” said the young officer. “But I was never given a response concerning my request for another Adjudicator to try my matter and when I went to the COP, he said my appeal didn’t have enough substance and he will stick to what the Adjudicator said.
The COP never allowed me to say anything but ‘yes and no sir’ I really thought I would have been allowed to explain myself to him since I didn’t give my side of the story in the Orderly room. Up to this day neither the Adjudicator nor the COP know my side of the story because I wasn’t given a chance to speak”, said the young officer.
My heart was saddened and I told the young officer to take this further and all she said was, “No, I have my future ahead of me unlike you who’s almost out of the work. I have things to achieve. I have my fiance and we have three children to take care of. That’s my only matter. I will forget that. As the COP said, “that’s water under the bridge so let’s leave the water to flow” and she laughed and seemed unbothered.
But I am bothered. If we do not put a stop to this then who will? If we can’t speak then who can speak on our behalf? If we can go to the highest of the highest and nothing is done then what can we do?
Will the new Prime Minister Hon. Dickon Mitchell who seems fair and different from the previous, will he look into the fairness of the RGPF?
Will the new Prime Minister sift the RGPF to ensure that there’s equal rights and justice? And erase fear and inequality? Are the senior ranks willing to stop the mixed feelings and work and do their jobs without fear and favour?
I make a plea to the new Prime Minister to do an anonymous survey throughout the RGPF where persons don’t have to write their names and then he will see the true colours of the RGPF.
We see many brilliant young officers leaving the RGPF and going to work elsewhere and civilians asking why we are leaving such a good job but you have to be in it to know the struggles.
I started writing a book about the RGPF from the time I entered and will publish it in the next few years after my retirement to expose all the dark secrets of the RGPF but in the meantime I request of the new PM to investigate the RGPF body so that the organisation can be a welcoming place to work for the low ranked officers to also have a voice.