It is with a heavy heart I take this opportunity to express these sentiments as it relates to the RGPF.
The citizens of Grenada can no longer claim that Grenada is the safest place on the planet to live. The recent past has revealed the rapid escalation in serious crimes and this trend has been causing prospective retirees to reconsider their decision to make Grenada their retirement home.
Where are all these issues coming from one may ask? However, it can be concluded that the relationship between the Ministry of National Security and the RGPF is a contributing factor. Unlike many years ago, the current leadership of the RGPF has allowed the Prime Minister to take advantage of the opportunity to influence the operations of the force even if Commissioners saw this as a serious threat.
Looking back in history, with the appointment of Bedeau in 1997, James in 2005, Clarkson in 2008, Thompson in 2011, James in 2013 again and Edvin Martin in 2018, only Clarkson and Thompson attempted to ensure that politics remained in the Botanical Gardens and not on Fort George.
The reason they both failed to turn things around is because the RGPF was by then too deeply infected by party politics especially among Gazetted Officers.
In 2013 following victory at the polls, the Keith Mitchell administration had already concluded that Winston James was the best choice and loyalist they can appoint to carry out their objective in transforming the force into a Green Security Zone.
On the return of Winston James, a long list of objectives were part of his arrival package as identified by the Keith Mitchell-led administration. As part of the objective was to ensure then ACPs Dowlyn Bartholomew and Smith Roberts were to move immediately to ministries and be replaced by three NNP appointees – Trevor Modeste, Anthony Degale and Michael Francois.
In addition, the order was given to suppress all those within who they assumed to be supporters of NDC. Did Winston James personally say to Superintendent Vannie Curwen who was seen as NDC that he cannot be trusted?
Since that time, all those factors contributed to the gradual decline of the RGPF effectiveness and has since then has almost never been able to lift its head again and with Edvin Martin, the future seems very bleak.
Let us look at Winston James’ second voyage. On his return and under his stewardship, he personally attacked senior police officers in the most vicious way especially when he did not trust them especially if he thinks they are not stooges of NNP.
Several promising officers of the force are continuously victimised by NNP appointed commissioners, politicians and surrogates. When will this end is anyone’s guess at this stage?
When Edvin Martin became Commissioner most were excited that he will bring realistic change to the organisation.
He indeed had the opportunity to use the courage, commitment, efforts and hard work of the good officers in the force to help him. However, his inherent qualities, behaviour and arrogance soon turn things around for the worst.
It is believed that he fell victim of both the PM and the so-called National Security Advisor and also those of his misguided and ill-informed advisors and informants and proceeded to start demeaning his own staff.
All the above and other issues will for sure put the current COP into the Hall of Shame, as he is now being labelled with the following attributes – lack of connectivity with his own staff, consistent in implementing bad policing strategies, displaying a dictatorial attitude, act like a politician and not a policeman and seems to have been supportive to the NNP in victimising people.
At this stage, one may conclude that with the current prevailing circumstances and for a very small state (Grenada), Edvin Martin for his two years in office is not on point with the right strategy to ensure the safety and security of the citizens of this country.
If we are not careful, Grenada may soon be blacklisted as one of the most dangerous countries in the Western hemisphere and rubbing shoulders with Haiti.
Going forward, Martin must find a way to bring the RGPF together and refrain from allowing politicians and politics to influence the operation of the force.
It may be somewhat difficult at this point because of the way Winston James had left it (completely divided) in 2018. No one had expected Winston James to achieve anything much when he had returned for his second voyage’ after at the end of his first, he publicly informed that the senior officers are behaving like crabs in a barrel.
This was a big gamble the NNP took in the interest of themselves and to the disadvantage of the state of Grenada and the RGPF members.
What Winston James did, he went on to tie the good crabs and let loose the bad ones who were able to tarnish the reputation of the RGPF.
On assuming the leadership of the RGPF in July 2018, Edvin Martin is now seen as the most ineffective Commissioner on evaluation after two years in the job and with many bad reviews.
Grenadians should now be well aware of the connection which brought Martin to his current position.
It is believed by many of us that Martin’s very first mistake on taking office was to cubicle himself as a politician and distancing himself from the members especially RGPF loyalists and in most if not all cases seen as bowing to pressure from the Botanical Gardens.
Edvin Martin should know that party politics in the RGPF is what will cause him to become a failure if he does not make a change now as society is demanding.
Edvin Martin must listen to the critics and take action accordingly if he wishes to do well in going forward and engage the force which represent the country and not the force representing a political party.
Finally, Edvin Martin must come to the realisation that the men and women of the RGPF are human beings and their time on the job must be looked into.
History will show that several staff have suffered with sicknesses believed to be from over work and exhaustion.
We wish Edvin Martin all the best as he continues to serve. However, we will like to see signs that he is serious about building the country’s police force and NOT the NNP party force as currently observed.
This trend is not good for the Commissioner, his staff and Grenada.