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Top police officer alleges that Tower at Piton was smuggled in under the cover of RGPF

From (left to right) Frank Redhead – was second in command when the Tower came into the country, Winston James – served as Police Commissioner in 2017, ACP Jessmon Prince – was part of the 5-member Police High Command, ACP Michael Francois – should be questioned about the Tower issue & ACP Trevor Modeste – was sitting in the High Command at the time

A high-ranking member of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) is alleging that a programme involving foreign powers to install certain sensitive security devices on the island for law enforcement officials was illegally used to bring in a Communications Tower for a local private sector business.

The officer who spoke to THE NEW TODAY on condition that he was not identified said he had picked up information from certain officers within the Police Force who worked at the Communications unit about the plan that was masterminded by another top cop with experience in telecommunications.

He said the private sector company that is involved in the deal is believed to be the purchaser of the tower that came into the country in 2017 with RGPF listed as “the consignee”.

According to the source, those with knowledge of the deal formed the impression that it was a particular private sector company that purchased the tower and was allegedly assisted by one member of the police force in its importation.

He claimed that the tower came in under the cover of RGPF “as high security clearance” in the scheme that was orchestrated by a particular senior member of the force.

He said that due to the sensitive radar project involving foreign powers that was being executed around the same time “he (police officer) was able to do that – cover it (importation of the private communications tower).”

“He (police officer) did it illegally. It is deeper than what you’re thinking,” he remarked.

The high-ranking member of RGPF told THE NEW TODAY that he had picked up information which indicated that around 2017 the National Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (NTRC) was allegedly investigating the controversial tower issue but he did not know why the probe was stopped.

“The NTRC was investigating that too … I don’t know why they stopped or how they stopped,” he said.

The then Public Utilities Minister Gregory Bowen was the line Minister for NTRC in 2017 with two other persons considered with close ties to the then ruling New National Party (NNP) administration – Dr. Linus Spencer Thomas and Lawrence Samuel – holding key positions at the Commission.

Dr. Spencer Thomas, the longstanding Chairman of NTRC, said he did not know of any investigation involving the so-called Police Tower at Piton and that it was not the commission but the Physical Planning Unit (PPU) that was responsible for giving permission for the erection of them on lands in the country.

The former NTRC head stated that the Grenada Industrial Development Corporation (GIDC) would come into play if the importer of a tower was seeking concessions from the government.

THE NEW TODAY also contacted the owner of a local radio station whose name is being called in connection with the controversial tower at Piton but he declined to comment on the grounds that the police had interviewed him and was waiting on the outcome of their probe into the matter.

The senior member of RGPF called for a thorough investigation into the so-called Police Communications Tower issue to find out who was bringing in a tower at the time and was experiencing some difficulties.

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“If there is controversy in the ownership of the tower in Piton or the one in Mt Sinai in Mardi Gras – then who owns those towers – is it government or private entities or is it the international agencies?

The police insider pointed out that there are other officers within RGPF especially those who worked at the Communications unit who know about the importation of the controversial tower and helped in bringing things related to it up to Piton in the St. Patrick East constituency.

He singled out the name of one police officer who is willing to become a whistleblower and “to give testimony” on the Communications Tower.

He suggested that “the technical people in the computer room” as well as those involved in clearing stuff at Customs on behalf of RGPF should be interviewed to get details on the importation of the controversial tower.

“(Name of police officer withheld) is the operator in the play – he needed the support and those persons who supported him to execute – they were not a part of it, they were just workers like Inspector (name withheld), Corporal (name withheld). They were suspicious of what was going down – so they run (name withheld) and they run (name withheld). They threw them out of the department – they transferred them,” he said.

“Every aspect of those things that take place (name of senior police officer) get a cut – he wouldn’t do it unless he gets a cut,” he added.

The high-ranking RGPF member also called for an investigation to be done on the importation of solar panels by those involved in the scheme to power up the transmitter.

“He (senior police officer) brought in more solar panels and he did business with it. Solar panels were put on his house. So there was some corruption in the solar panels that he brought in also,” he said.

There has been no official comment from the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dickon Mitchell on the issue but an aide said that he was aware of the situation.

He confided in THE NEW TODAY that the three month old Congress administration will definitely try to get to the bottom of the issue.

“If that is so, that is a very serious concern. If that is so then that is a big problem. How could a tower be brought in in the name of the police and the police don’t own it? The police should be the lawful and rightful owner if it is brought in, in the name of the police.” he said.

The aide indicated that the Police Force cannot operate outside of the rules that govern the Public Service, and Finance and Audit act.

“That is a very big problem. That period (NNP) rule is a really terrible period for this country – just too many things went wrong,” he said.

The aide warned that if any wrong doing was done on the Tower issue then “the consequences will have to be borne by somebody.”

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