Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says he sees no need to make a statement about the police officers who were recently charged with criminal offences.
Gonsalves, who is also minister of national security, said that the matters will be dealt with “in the normal way”.
Speaking in what has become an annual Christmas Eve interview with Hot 97 FM, Gonsalves said he tries to avoid commenting on individual cases for fear of prejudicing them.
Police, sanitation worker, whoever, farmer, whoever it is, they are entitled to the presumption of innocence and I don’t want to say anything where anybody may feel that I’m tilting here or tilting there,” said Gonsalves, who is also a lawyer.
The prime minister said he uses “some set piece” occasions, such as Parliament or the recent launch of Police Records Management Information System at the Questelles Police Station, to make general statements about crime.
“But I don’t want to have a kneejerk reaction to something,” he said.
Gonsalves, however, said his government has put a lot in place to address the infractions and breaches.
“And I believe that, by and large, the management of the force is handling these matters professionally and the overwhelming majority of police officers are good people putting their lives in danger to help to protect us.”
Gonsalves noted that at 19 in 2019, the murder rate was less than in 2018, when it was 34, compared to 40 in 2018.
“Clearly, one murder is one murder too many. Instances of rapes reported, sexual assault, burglaries, robberies, according to the numbers provided by the police, those are down also,” Gonsalves said.
“But, for any incident which takes place, we must always keep it in context and in proportion. The media, because we have more media outlets now, you have more talk about incidents which happen than during the past…” the prime minister said.
Two police officers, Corporal Derek Humphrey, of Chauncey, and Corporal Michael Lynch, of Peter’s Hope, originally of Layou, have been charged, separately, with sex crimes and are awaiting court hearings in connection with their separate matters.
A fourth officer, Keith Lewis, who is charged with burglary and indecent assault, is also waiting his day in court.
Also awaiting his day in court is Coast Guard officer Able Seaman Andre Samuel, who is charged with sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl.