Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell has officially announced the retirement of Police Commissioner Edvin Martin as head of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF).
Speaking at a special government press briefing on Wednesday, the Prime Minister told reporters that Commissioner Martin will proceed on pre-retirement leave after 37 years of service with effect from June 1 and at the end of that period his full retirement from the force.
He said that Deputy Commissioner Don Mc Kenzie will act as Commissioner of Police in Martin’s absence.
PM Dickon Mitchell also announced that former Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Jessmon Prince who was in charge of the Grenada Transport Board is being brought back on a one-year contract to serve as a Deputy Commissioner of Police and ACP John Charles who had reached retirement age a few months ago is returning to take up active duties.
The Prime Minister thanked Martin for “his long and distinguished career as a police officer.”
In recent months, Martin has spent many weeks off the job due to ill-health.
He is believed to have had two surgeries in neighbouring Trinidad & Tobago and also at a local hospital for unspecified illness.
Commissioner Martin used the occasion to set the record straight that his decision to quit the force was “on my own choosing” and that he was not pushed out as head of RGPF.
“After consultation with my family it is my own deliberate decision to retire at this point in time and that there are no other influencing factors to cause or promote that decision.
“I have heard the discussions in the public’s sphere with all sorts of nuances, innuendo and suspicion as to why Commissioner is departing at this point in time.
“I just want to make it absolutely clear it is my own deliberate decision in consultation with my family at this point in time.”
Martin was promoted by the former New National Party (NNP) government of Dr. Keith Mitchell to the post of Commissioner of Police as replacement for the long-serving Winston James.
According to the outgoing RGPF head, he is departing after what he called “an illustrious career” as a member of the Police Force and one who was promoted throughout all the ranks of the organisation.
Martin also mentioned his proud achievement to hold the elected position of President of the Association of Caribbean Police Commissioners for three of the 5 years that he was at the helm of RGPF.
“I feel very encouraged that other Commissioners of the region saw in me what (were) the qualities necessary to assist with leading the Association of Caribbean Police Commissioners. I do believe it has been an illustrious accomplishment over my period of time,” he said.
The retiring Commissioner called on Grenadians to continue to give support to RGPF because they have to play a critical role in helping the lawmen to solve crimes on the island.
“I believe fundamentally that the success and safety of Grenada has to do with the twined co-operation between the RGPF and the members of the public. It is a relationship undeniably that we must continue to foster and build and champion if we are to remain the envy of the rest of the Caribbean as the safest rock in the Caribbean sea,” he said.
The parting Chief Cop also gave assurances that he will be available to assist RGPF if called upon at any time for his knowledge and experience gathered over the years.
His successor Don Mc Kenzie told reporters that he is very mindful of the task ahead in light of the fact that RGPF “is at a critical juncture” in tackling the issues confronting the force.
He acknowledged that there has been an increase in criminal activities on the island but there was no need for the nation to “speak of doom and gloom.”
McKenzie said that Grenada’s crime rate is still way below many neighbouring islands with a similar population size.