Opposition Leader Dr. Keith Mitchell is of the view that the leadership of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has been dealt a serious blow by the ruling Congress administration of Prime Minister, and Minister for National Security, Dickon Mitchell.
Dr. Mitchell advanced the argument during a press conference of the main opposition New National Party (NNP) in St. George’s on Tuesday,” expressing concern that the RGPF is “literally being destroyed in many respects.”
“It is clear that people have lost confidence in the present leadership of the police force. There is no question about it,” he told reporters.
“The fact that the Commissioner was just moved, and there were all kinds of excuses and many of the officers have been moved in different positions, and people are frightened to even speak to people is worrying to us,” he said.
The Opposition Leader also took issue with the lack of information coming from the authorities regarding unsolved crimes, particularly murders, referencing the suspicious deaths in recent weeks of Josiah “Jonty” Robinson and former school teacher Kendon Berkeley among others.
“We have seen a lot of issues of crime, including murders which appear to be unsolved, or the country knows nothing about the state of those investigations…and the question is, what are we doing to solve it, especially when some of them have been given international publicity, the image of the country is at stake,” he charged.
Dr. Mitchell advised the ruling administration “to ask the British Scotland Yard (the Metropolitan Police force, in London) or the (United States-based Federal Bureau of Investigation) FBI (the lead federal law enforcement agency for investigating cyber attacks by criminals, overseas adversaries, and terrorists) to come in and investigate.”
Last month a former top-ranking member of the RGPF cited a need for significant changes to be made to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) including the recall of Superintendent Kenneth Gill, who is said to be a supporter of the NNP, to help tackle the recent spate of criminal activities on the island.
In an interview with THE NEW TODAY, the ex-cop said that the current line-up of CID personnel has been the weakest in recent years and that Acting Police Commissioner Don Mc Kenzie needs to address the situation as a matter of urgency.
He expressed the view that the current CID head, Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Ryan Hall, an excellent investigator, is bogged down with office work and did not have the time to go out and lead his team in the field to gather information to solve the recent murder cases.
The ex-cop also suggested that Commissioner McKenzie can also look at recalling Superintendent Esau Pierre to take charge of CID and allow ASP Hall the freedom to roam the country to tackle the many unsolved criminal cases.
With effect from Monday, Supt Hall was brought back into CID to take charge of the investigation into the recent unsolved murders.
The ex-police Officer also called for the reinstatement of competent officers who were removed under the reign of a High Command Member who was known to be aligned to the NNP and had branded these officers in CID as supporters of Congress.
Dr. Mitchell has also faced criticisms since being voted out of office of doing nothing in his over 20 years in charge of the affairs of the country to provide training opportunities for officers attached to CID to sharpen their investigative skills in tackling criminal activities.
Shortly after being sworn in as the country’s 9th leader, Prime Minister, Dickon Mitchell pledged to “transform” the police force “into a professional organisation that regains the respect that it once commanded.”
He also proposed to rebrand the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) during his first term in office, with a name that is reflective of the service that is being provided to the nation.