Are some senior members of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force having a negative effect on some of their juniors?
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, speaking at a press conference on Monday, suggested that this was the case.
“You are a policeman and don’t listen to one or two up the ranks who have whatever agenda they have or however they are frustrated by this or that and listen to any nonsense by them,” Gonsalves said, who is also Minister of National Security.
He was at the time speaking out against what he said was the tendency of some officers to act only on matters related to the department or unit to which they are assigned.
“Your job is that of a policeman or a policewoman, and do your work; just do you work. And I am talking to them directly: you know that you are not a civil servant, you are a policeman and you also know that it’s one police Force.
“RRU (Rapid Response Unit) is there for a specific purpose but RRU is not the one to deal with all situations which arise to deal with a complaint,” Gonsalves said at the press conference in which he said some police officers have a tendency to refer all matters to their colleagues in the RRU, a tactical unit.
The prime minister also said that police officers should not tell people seeking assistance that the police do not have transportation.
“What happen? You can only follow up with something if you wait until that transport comes back? Look, all of us are in this thing together. There is only a small group of criminals in St. Vincent,” the prime minister said.
The prime minister also hinted criticism of the police regarding an incident on Saturday in which a minivan transporting young people to an entertainment event in South Rivers crashed in Diamond, reportedly because it was speeding.
“And I want to make that point particularly as to the comments I have heard something about over the weekend with respect to on the road — road traffic.
“Just to say I know the traffic department is doing a good job, I know Superintendent John is doing a good job and my comments must not be taken to dampen the spirits of young people who want to traverse St. Vincent and the Grenadines and enjoy themselves,” Gonsalves said.
“But you can enjoy yourself without urging recklessness on the part of the drivers,” he further stated.
The prime minister added: “Drivers don’t have to listen to you if you are being boisterous. It’s the driver driving, not you who want to keep whatever noise you want to keep.”
Gonsalves, however, thanked the police for their service, saying that over the last few weeks they have been stretched going all across and around at all hours apprehending people and clamping down on crime.
“I want to thank them and I congratulate them. But for those who are still in a mode of lethargy, I’m saying to you, do your work as a policeman or policewoman and know that you are part of an integrated police force,” he said.