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Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves speaking at the press conference in Kingstown on Tuesday, May 14th, 2013.
Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves speaking at the press conference in Kingstown on Tuesday, May 14th, 2013.

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, May 15, IWN – Three police shootings of four people, one fatally, over the past 10 days is unlikely to affect public confidence in the constabulary and police-public relations, Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says.

Gonsalves expressed the opinion Tuesday at a pre-scheduled press conference about six hours after police shot and killed prisoner Anthony “Scarface” Hamilton in the vicinity of a washroom at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.

Over the last 10 days, police have also shot and injured two revellers at the Layou carnival and a man who, they say, fled the Calliaqua Police Station during questioning.

Gonsalves, a lawyer, who is also Minister of National Security, citing the essence of the self-defence law, said that even in instances where police believe they are at risk of being injured, must “use no more force that is reasonably in the circumstances”.

“The police have to be even more careful and circumspect and, by and large, the police have been circumspect with the rules of engagement,” Gonsalves said in response to a reporter’s question.

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“The job of a policeman or woman in dealing with situations of conflict is not an easy job. First of all, you must be of good material, you must have good training, and you must have good leadership (including) intermediate leadership…” Gonsalves said.

He said that police officers sometimes make errors and “in much rarer situations, they act irresponsibly in using force”.

He added that this country doesn’t have “a Jamaica or Trinidad-type police, trigger-happy, beating people…”

Gonsalves, however, said that where errors exist, they must be reduced “to an absolute minimum”.

“You hear a lot of complaints that the police, more often than not, show extraordinary restraint.

“… But where people would be concerned is where a policeman acts, clearly on the face of it, irresponsibly and illegally and are using the uniform and the badge as a cover for assault and battery and wounding, causing grievous bodily harm or whatever.

“I don’t think that the public senses that the police have gone overboard in offending the rights of citizens. What I think is important for the public to realise is that wherever there is any instance of the police acting either wrongly in terms of their judgement or clearly illegally and irresponsible, that there be avenues within the judicial system for whatever is the wrong to be righted or if there is any illegality, that it would be dealt with under the due process of the law,” the Prime Minister further said.

He said that over the past few years, the Director of Public Prosecution and the Commissioner of Police have not sought to “cover up” police wrongdoing and have charged officers with offences or suspended them.

Gonsalves, however, said that he knows that in some communities, some residents feel that the police target them.

“That really is not the business of the police,” Gonsalves said, adding that the leadership of the constabulary is “sensitive to those concerns” and try to get “some balance” even as they try to avert crime.

“But I don’t think, honestly, that people believe that the police in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are brutes who are out of control,” Gonsalves said, adding that persons who know otherwise can educate him.

11 replies on “Police shootings unlikely to sway public confidence – PM”

  1. Either the PM lives in a glass tower or his head is where its not supposed to be. I am baffled as to how he arrived at such conclusion. Anyway, that’s the mindset of most Autocratic rulers; even when all evidence pointed to the fall of their kingdom, they somehow still believes everything is fine and dandy. It’s the invincibility syndrome!!!!


    PM Gonsalves said “ this country doesn’t have “a Jamaica or Trinidad-type police, trigger-happy, beating people…”

    But we all know it does, the police are trigger happy, they do beat people, they do torture to obtain confessions.

    Gonsalves also said ““I don’t think that the public senses that the police have gone overboard in offending the rights of citizens“

    Gonsalves is either totally out of touch, or is in denial, or is just telling us what he thinks we want to hear. The people do believe the police are out of control, is that going overboard enough?

    All these things are happening under the watch of Ralph Gonsalves who is Minister of National Security, and in charge of the police.

    Now everyone is running around applying damage control. Just watch VINCIPOWA and all the online cronies will be coming on and blaming the NDP, trying to convince us that the PM is not responsible for what the police do, he is, its his ministry, he should better control them or give the ministry to someone who is more capable.

    I hate to keep saying I told you so, but I did tell you so on numerous occasions, that the Police are out of control.

  3. LOL, what the f….k is the PM trying to say. everyone know that Anthony death was no accident, its clear that no one make threats, or rumors againts the PM, and get away. its clear the boy was murder.

  4. Is this guy for real? Who investigates the police when they kill SVG nationals? The answer seems to be Ralph. There has to be an independent group to investigate police abuse. The police cannot investigate themselves. Any office who uses his/her gun in any circumstance must file a written report indicating why he/she had to take out his/her gun. That is the only way to ensure control over police behaviour.
    The same goes for arresting a citizen. There must be a clear violation of some law to support the arrest of all SVG nationals. No one should be arrested or threatened with arrest for questioning a police officer. A family member was arrested for calling a police a “snotty nose kid”. The police claimed he was insulted, and no one should insult a police. Well excuse me!
    Presently the police operates above the law because they believe they have the power to do so. As the security chief, Ralph is not discouraging the police from this doctorial behaviour. The simple reason is because he relishes in this kind of power. He appears to be the biggest culprit when it come to abusing Vincentians. Once he told the world that Vincentian women were not abused, yet there are many cases of women and child abuse. What’s missing is the reports of these complaints, because the police are too damn lazy to write.
    One has to conclude Ralph is in charge of a killing machine. There has to be a way to control all the murders by the police and other criminal elements in the society. No police has been killed in the line of duty, except by their own fellow officer and often it’s not in the line of duty . Hence there is no reason for the police, or Ralph to use the term “fear for their lives” in any statements. I hate to see these Jesse James and Billy the Kid walking around Kingstown with guns. It scares the shit out of me because I know they can’t shoot straight.
    For those who think I am heavy of this administration, let me say to you. I am a Vincentian who love my country and whichever administration gets in the way will hear from me. I have no party card, so whether it’s Ralph or Arnhim, I’ll be right in their faces when it come to the civility of my home land.
    I see Ralph losing the 2015 election and he may have to face these same police abusers in 2016. What will he do then?
    A word of advice: Clean up the mess or you, your children and grandchildren will meet it somewhere down the road. Keep in mind “what one sows, one reaps”. My mom always said, “You do good, good will follow you, you do bad that is also going to follow you.

  5. As a Patriotic Vincentian who follows developments at home closely, I must say I am very worried about the state of our Police department.
    The Police State indeed. License to kill. These police have absolutely no training except on how to use a gun, and I say this loosely because I dont even think they have proper taining on the use of firearms. Since when the gun is the be it all and end it all to proper policing? What danger does a handcuffed prisioner trying to escape pose to the the police. Trigger happy Barney Fife Polie force me say. From what I have been observing lately is that the Police force has found a solution to resolve the issue of peacekeeping. No need to used your head when you have a gun. The Police department definitely needs a complete overhaul, otherwise innocent blood will continue to flow in the streets of Vincy.

    My people, I am convinced that the Police State of St. Vincent & the Grenadines has arrived, and the responsible culprit is “Chancellor Rolf Gonreichensalves.”

  6. Eric, are you HALLUCINATING again?

    What proof do you have that “all evidence pointed to the fall of their kingdom?”

    I will just chock this up as just another EPISODE of ERIC making STATEMENTS that have no FOUNDATION in REALITY or FACTS.

    As always, it is the USUAL SUSPECTS making their SILLY PRONOUNCEMENTS, with their usual CAVEAT of not having any party card or not playing politics, but their POSTS BETRAY them EVERY SINGLE time.

    That said; I heard it was ONE TERM PAPA, then it was TWO TERM PAPA and then it was THREE TERM PAPA. I have UTMOST CONFIDENCE in the WISE PEOPLE of SVG that there will be a FOURTH TERM for PAPA, because he and his GOVERNMENT have DEMONSTRATED that they’re MILES AHEAD of the ALTERNATIVE.

    What is the ALTERNATIVE to the ULP GOVERNMENT?

    Oh yeah, a COMMESS POLITICIAN called Arnhim Eustace with his BACK AND NECK CHICKEN plan to DEVELOP SVG.

    Again, I wouldn’t HIRE EUSTACE and the NDP to MANAGE a MAUBY SHOP much less GOVERN a COUNTRY.

  7. VINCYPOWA, using a favourite phrase that Gonsalves loves to use on selected citizens, “worthless dirty dog”. Even a worthless dirty dog would do a better job than Gonsalves has done.

    If you need some of the other things he has called people, I have them all. He is the most yob like man that has ever ruled any Caribbean country.

  8. I used to be a police in SVG for almost seven years before I took up the job in another jurisdiction almost 8yrs ago; I can tell you thinks has change a lot in SVG constabulary .
    December, 2011 I visit home and witness an incident involving the police unfold before my eyes I wondered if I was in Jamaica. I was so disturbed by the action of the police I vow to the victim I will give a statement if he is to pursue the matter.
    I witness few feet before my eyes, the eyes of my parents, wife and children an officer walk up towards a male who was slowly reversing his vehicle, the officer instructed him to stop and because the male did not stop immediately the officer took out his pistol and shot the wheel of the vehicle, I could not believe I was in SVG. There was no immediate threat to the police, not only that there were children, my children who never see these things in another man Country but in their own.
    This clearly tells me that a lot of these officers do not have the proper training when to use a firearm. Officer of SVG you got to be careful, I don’t want to retire in a country where police officers become a target, look at Jamaica this is how it started. Mr. Politician probably you need to lecture these officers on what is reasonable force;how to assess a threat and when to use a deadly force.

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