Commissioner of Police Edvin Martin and Chief of Operations in the Royal Grenada Police Force, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) John Mitchell are coming under fire for what has been described as a major breach of National Security involving Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dickon Mitchell during the just-ended Billfish tournament.
High level sources within the Police Force told THE NEW TODAY that the two senior members are being heavily criticized by colleagues following the failure of the High Command to put security arrangements in place for the new Grenadian leader when he went out at sea as a show of support for the tournament.
One high-ranking who is familiar with the issue said that RGPF was mandated to put in place a security system with officers staying “in the distance” and being in a state of alert and readiness in case the Prime Minister needed their assistance out at sea but that this was not the case.
He pointed out that the plan to be put in place called for a contingent of police offices “to stay in the distance so in case anything happen they (can) respond quickly” and for there to be “a platform (in place) so they can transfer him (the Prime Minister) from one platform to the next.”
He insisted that COP Martin and ACP John Mitchell should shoulder the blame for the security lapse around PM Dickon Mitchell while out at sea and refrain from placing the blame on the Head of the Coast Guard unit at True Blue, Assistant Superintendent of Police Watson.
According to the source, the Coastguard boss was waiting on information on the Prime Minister’s outing from the High Command including the chief cop and ACP Mitchell in order “to put their plan in place to do the thing right” but this was not the case.
“I understand that late into the night the Coastguard was waiting for information from either Martin or Mitchell but Mitchell is Ops (Operations Chief) but the information never came – they never really responded,” he said.
“The night of the event the man (ASP Watson) keep calling to get information and you still don’t have it to give him.”
The high-ranking officer told THE NEW TODAY that the security plan for the Prime Minister to go out at sea should have been put in place at least 24-hours before the event.
He said the Coastguard needed the information to help plan properly for the safety of the Prime Minister as “you have to look at the plan (in advance) to see if every detail in the plan, every action can be taken, how you responding – so everybody has to know their role in the operation.”
He indicated that one of the problems within RGPF at the moment is that some members of the top brass pretend that they know what to do and do not leave the expert in the field “to do what they’re supposed to do.”
‘You can’t keep this information for yourself because you are not the maritime expert – it has people that are trained for that,” he remarked.
“The man (Coastguard boss) calling you, you failed to give him (the information) and you are still lambasteing him,” he said.
According to the senior police officer, Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell did undertake the outing at sea with those taking part in the Billfish tournament despite the security lapse but cut short his stay out at sea on the boat.
“You can’t let the PM stay outside there without security,” he added.
The police insider stressed that at a subsequent meeting of top officers following the breach in security involving PM Mitchell, the Commissioner of Police berated the Coastguard head over the episode but “it is not the Coastguard Commander’s fault.”
“I understand after that he (Martin) called him and apologised and say those things happen and it was a mistake.”
“He (Martin) knows that the man (Head of the Coastguard) wasn’t wrong – (ACP) Mitchell was the one to blame because if Mitchell is the top officer (head of Operations), he should come down on Mitchell and not the man.”
“That is a serious security breach. In any country if the Head of State is going out on sea, either the Navy or Coastguard (should be notified and) police patrol have to be there with him and that is protocol for safety.”
According to the senior police officer, PM Dickon Mitchell has to be “very careful” with his life as the current Police Force is filled with elements who have pledged loyalty not to the State of Grenada but the “Green Machine’ of the New National Party (NNP) of defeated Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.
He said: “An NNP indoctrinated person doesn’t really change that easily – they don’t change that easily – a lot of things are happening in the force now.”
He cited the case of the Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) in which officers known to be aligned to NNP will openly state “they will never be able to work under Dickon (Mitchell) government.”
He accused many of them of having an attitude of “everybody reporting to themselves and that is one thing that has to be controlled in the organisation.”
Since taking office seven months ago, Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has made very little changes in the High Command of the Police Force.
Congress supporters have been calling for the “transformational agenda” of the new administration to reach RGPF and for the replacement of a number of senior police officers suspected to be allies of the defeated NNP regime.