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Political interference in recruiting police officers

Members of the Royal Grenada Police Force on parade

A high-ranking member of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) has charged that there is serious political interference in the operations of the island’s main security outfit from the ruling New National Party (NNP) government of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

In an exclusive interview with THE NEW TODAY, the senior police officer said that Commissioner of Police, Edvin Martin does not have “the weight” to resist the NNP incursions into the operations of RGPF.

“The thing inside the force is bad,” he said.

The senior police officer pointed an accusing finger at one government minister on the west coast of the island who is involved in selecting persons to get enlisted as members of the police force and that in RGPF a majority of the new recruits are sent by ministers of the government.

“Every minister has their set of people that they send down. Presently, these young people that they have in the force, report everything to their minister,” he said.

The police insider named a particular government minister whom he described as “the kingpin for sending people to (Police) Training School.”

“I tell you that in one batch (name of government minister withheld) had three women in the same batch,” he said.

The senior cop alleged that these recruits when they encounter a problem in RGPF, they do not go to the higher authority in the RGPF to sort it out but instead go “straight to their minister.”

He made mention of a pro-NNP police officer who had an issue with a female Corporal in Grenville who tried to discipline her but ran into problems.

“She turned and tell the female officer in a couple days she would be out of here and in a couple days they transferred the Woman Corporal. The thing (RGPF) real gone – it real gone,” he said.

According to the senior police officer, those politically-connected persons sent to work in the force often boast that they are untouchable due to their connections with the ruling party and often indicate that they will call “the minister” to come to their assistance.

“I know senior officers who get transferred because people go and call their minister – the thing real bad,” he said.

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The officer claimed that RGPF has even lost control of the recruitment process to bring civilians to work in the force.

He said that over the years what used to happen is that the police force will send out applications and when persons apply they will then be vetted through a background check conducted by officers attached to Special Branch and the Criminal Investigation Department (CID).

He disclosed that these persons would have to do an entrance exam and if successful they have to undergo a medical exam in order to get a place in the Training School.

“When a Minister calls and he says he wants this person to be recruited that is it,” he said.

According to the police insider, some people still manage to get a place in the Training school even though they failed their medical exam, as well as the entrance exam.

“…Once a minister says that is a party supporter and they have to be in – what I am telling you is no joke.

Another thing, if you are a known NDC supporter forget that because the first thing that man wants to know is who you support. This man has his hand in everything.

The senior cop pointed out that the brother of a government Minister who is a member of RGPF has the biggest driving school in Grenville.

“I couldn’t believe this man (is) in the force still because every day that man teaching people to drive,” he said.

The senior police officer made mention of an incident that happened when a particular exam was held and the top four – Vannie Curwen, Rhola Bridgeman, Brian Parkes and Ifus Mc Gilvary were overlooked for promotion allegedly on the grounds that they were not supporters of NNP.

He said that four other officers with known ties to the NNP regime but finished at the bottom of the class were instead promoted.

THE NEW TODAY understands that Commissioner of Police Martin has secured a job in the United States and is planning to exit the force after the June 23 general election.

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