The newly elected Prime Minister and Political Leader of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC) Dickon Mitchell is proposing 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, and believes it is “necessary” in going forward.
The first-time politician, who was sworn in as the country’s ninth Prime Minister during a ceremony at the Grenada Trade Centre last week Friday, advanced this policy as he outlined key issues already in the pipeline to be addressed by the incoming NDC government, when he met with high ranking members of the Police Force at the Grenada Trade Centre on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said that the word “FORCE connotes the wrong idea” as to the service that the RGPF provides to the people of the tri-island state, and believes that “we should have a name that is reflective of that.”
“I hope that I can win your support for that by thinking more of service rather than FORCE,” the newly elected Prime Minister told the meeting.
PM Mitchell, who was brought up to speed on the core functions and operations of the organised body, also sought to assure the police hierarchy of his government’s commitment to “improving the physical environment in which police officers work” to ensure they can “perform better.”
According to the new Grenadian leader many of the police stations across the State were “built eons ago” and are “probably not fit for human habitation” and are no longer able to maintain their usefulness and purpose.
Before winning last week Thursday’s election, the new Prime Minister, who is an Attorney-at-law by profession used his political campaign to slam into outgoing long standing Prime Minister Keith Mitchell, and Minister of National Security for failing to address a number of ills affecting police officers over the past 25 years.
He touched on the issue of dilapidated police stations with some officers being forced to use buckets to collect rain water from leaking roofs at the entrance of their workplaces.
Among the many campaign promises made to RGPF by the new Prime Minister, is a pledge to review the pay and grade salary adjustment for police officers, which is 27 years outstanding, and the critical issue regarding the lack of insurance coverage should they meet in accidents while on duty.
The issue of gender inequality is also high on the list, as PM Mitchell has pledged to “transform” the RGPF “into a professional organisation that regains the respect that it once commanded” as opposed to the “disunited, disheartened, ridiculed” force that does not have any female representation in the leadership or hierarchy of the force, where men and women are left to serve in substandard and subhuman conditions” that police officers have been subjected to for the last “38 years.”
Police women have also been assured that an NDC government “will leave no stone unturned to ensure that as women you are treated with the respect and dignity that you deserve, that you could work without being harassed, or bullied, that the cover-ups will be exposed, and that you too will get your fair share of the promotions so that the hierarchy of the Royal Grenada Police Force reflects the percentage of women who serve and put their lives at risk for the citizens of Grenada.”
In recent weeks, the senior officers of RGPF have come under scrutiny over reports that several of them have been engaged in acts of sexual abuse against young female officers.
The newly elected Grenadian Leader used Tuesday’s meeting with RGPF as an opportunity to commend the efforts of the lawmen and women towards a free, and fair electoral process, and thanked them for their dedication during the heightened phase of the pandemic.
PM Dickon Mitchell also acknowledged the “tremendous sacrifices in many instances to their personal health, families, relatives and friends” given the unexpected and unprecedented nature of the coronavirus pandemic.