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Threat to national security

Acting Commissioner of Police Don McKenzie – is nearing his retirement

The people are not feeling secure.

That was the comment made by a retired senior police officer to last Saturday night’s incident in the Ghetto in which 26 shots were fired in the space of 90 minutes leaving residents terrified.

The officer who spent over 35 years as a member of the Royal Grenada Police Force labelled the incident as a direct threat to National Security and should be dealt with firmly and decisively.

“That was a night – I had to sleep under my bed,” one resident who is still in shock told THE NEW TODAY early Wednesday morning.

According to the retired officer, if the Police had responded promptly to the first outburst of gunshots the suspect would not have been able to fire off two more volleys within the next hour.

He said the presence of the lawmen would have resulted in them being able to pinpoint the precise area where the gunshots were coming from and close in on the shooter.

He indicated that he had picked up information from within the Police Force that some officers are very reluctant to go into these situations and often say “they’re not going and put themselves in no risk.”

He also said that if the police had scouted the area immediately after the gunshots were fired, they would have seen who was around the ghetto to allow them to formulate a plan to carry out a search to recover the arms and ammunition.

“You have to act – you have to do what you have to do,” he quipped.

An informant told THE NEW TODAY that the suspect used two weapons including an automatic gun to fire off the shots on Saturday night.

A resident in the area reportedly provided the name of a suspect to the police who was seen moving out of the ghetto shortly after the last burst of 14 shots.

The suspect has a criminal record and is the son of an individual with ties to Trinidad and Tobago and who also was engaged in acts of criminality in Grenada before he was shot and killed in the Point Salines area.

The ex-cop believes that these criminal elements who are operating in different parts of the country are currently engaged in testing their new acquisition of firearms that allegedly came into the country.

He warned the Security Forces to be on full alert as he is predicting that “they will fire off again this week.”

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He also commented on reports that the Security Forces are not on top of the situation and suffering from a lack of intelligence on the suspected large cache of illegal arms and ammunition that came into the country.

“The situation is – the senior fellahs who used to be around, who used to get that type of information are not there – they either resign, retire or they transfer them – they are not around. So, how you go get it (the information)?”

The retired cop also charged that some of the persons occupying sensitive positions within RGPF fall into the category of being “a set of cowards” and are afraid to lead operations into hostile terrain.

He said: “You don’t have to put yourself in danger to do your duties. You walk around, people (are) going to see you, people seeing officers and they telling them (what is taking place in the country).”

The ex-cop re-iterated that once the civilian population have confidence in law enforcement officials they will give them information to deal with criminality in the country.

Another retired senior police officer questioned the timeframe in which RGPF reacted to the Carenage Ghetto incident.

He spoke of picking up information that a search of the Ghetto took place several hours after the shooting incident.

He said if the lawmen had arrived on the scene within minutes after the first outburst of gunshots, the police would have known exactly where the shots were coming from “and they would have been able to close in on the person.”

“That man (has) real bullets – for he to fire off all that amount of bullets, he must have a lot of bullets for that gun,” he added.

A retired senior police officer with over 30 years of experience has accused successive governments in Grenada of not demonstrating any seriousness towards the security of the nation.

He said that there has been talk about setting up cameras since 1987 and it was estimated that only $4 million was needed “to set up the whole country.”

“Grenadian government don’t care about security …. they don’t spend on it because they don’t understand the value,” he remarked.

Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dickon Mitchell has given assurances in Parliament that Security Cameras would be placed in several areas including those that are frequented by the public in the fight against criminal activities.

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