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Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and a former Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (iWN file photo)
Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and a former Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. (iWN file photo)
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By *Jomo Sanga Thomas

(“Plain Talk” Sept. 15, 2023)

Dwayne Mc Kenzie’s promotion to Inspector of Police is proof that PM Gonsalves lives by his word, “Our police officers are angels.” If Dwayne Mc Kenzie is one of Gonsalves’ “angels” camouflaged in police uniform, we should shake in our boots at the thought that one of his devils may confront us one day.

Dwayne Mc Kenzie is the police officer caught on video slapping, punching, assaulting and wounding 15-year-old Damali Phillips. Damali was one of over 300 members of the police youth club who journeyed to St. Lucia on a retreat. Damili Phillips was in Mc Kenzie’s care. Informed sources told us that the theme of the retreat was conflict resolution. Mc Kenzie, through his assault and wounding of young Damali, showed himself as a witless, tactless brute. 

The assault and wounding occurred on July 31. The parents went to the police headquarters in an attempt to see Commissioner John. To date, they have not seen him. The police issued a statement saying the institution had launched an investigation. On Aug. 10, lawyers for the Phillips family wrote to Director of Public Prosecution Sejilla Mc Dowall to request that the rogue cop be brought to heel and made to face the full force of the law. On Aug. 21, the DPP’s office wrote to say a response is pending further information from the Commissioner of Police.  More than a month has gone by, and there’s no word from the DPP’s office. Ralph Gonsalves, Minister of National Security, was copied on the letter. He never bothered even to acknowledge the mail.

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Then came the Sept. 8 memo signed by Commissioner John. Dwayne Mc Kenzie’s name topped the list. John’s memo indicates he has neither authority, backbone or professional wherewithal to lead a modern police force.  What self-respecting leader will promote a subordinate recently berated by the public for his brutal assault on a 15-year-old boy? Evidently, neither the police, Gonsalves, nor the DPP’s office bothered to investigate Mc Kenzie’s criminal conduct, which was captured on video.

The promotion of Dwayne Mc Kenzie is unjustified. Rather than promotion, Dwayne Mc Kenzie should be kicked out of the police force and made an example of. The promotion made a mockery of the government’s declared policy of being tough on crime and the causes of crime.

Mc Kenzie’s promotion offers further proof that this government holds in contempt notions of fair play, justice and the rule of law. 

These actions by the police and government do not instil confidence. But we have repeatedly said this government is gangster! No other government demonstrate such wanton disrespect and disregard for the courts’ orders and declarations. Courts order damages and cost, and the government “thumbs its nose” at the ruling. Police officers shoot and kill civilians, and the authorities hold coroners’ inquest at their leisure.

Police officers convicted for beating, stomping and kicking 15-year-old Jemark Jackson into a coma in 2009 are rehired. A court found the state liable for the savage assault on Jackson, but the state refused to settle. Jackson, killed in mysterious circumstances more than 12 years later, went to his grave without collecting a cent.

On March 3, 2019, police officer Mohammed Lavia, in an unprovoked attack, shot Okeno Fergus in his left leg, shattering the bone. Fergus told the court after he was shot, Lavia told him, “tek dat in yo stupid mother c#@t.” The police went on to frame Fergus, who had to go all the way to the Appeal Court to clear his name.

Fergus sued Lavia and the state, seeking damages for his injuries, and won. In the decision, Justice Esco Henry said, “I cannot understand what would drive a police officer to treat a resident of any country in the way Cpl. Lavia behaved towards Mr. Fergus that morning. It was inhumane, merciless, aggressive, high-handed and totally undeserved. The court cannot countenance such conduct in a democratic society where the rule of law pervades the administration of justice and the society… If ever there was a case that attracted exemplary, aggravated and substantial general damages for loss, damage, physical, emotional and mental injury, this one certainly does.”

With such a decisive ruling from a highly respected judge, one would think the government would settle. The policy of the governing regime is akin to the German fascists during the closing days of World War II. When Allied forces surrounded them and ordered that they surrender, they preferred death, shouted “Surrender hell” and died in a hail of bullets.  Gonsalves’ Attorney General has demanded that the doctors who tended to Fergus avail themselves for cross-examination.

When lawyers wanted to serve the officer who chased Cjae Weekes to his death at Twenty Hill, they had to get past a stonewalling police commissioner who asked that we cite legal authority to justify our request.

A police officer shot and killed “Bjay” Llewellyn at Fairbairn Pasture during the carnival season. The matter was dealt with in a most hush-hush manner. Within days, the officer left the apartment where she lived. Llewellyn’s parents have been desperately trying to get information about their loved one’s death, all to no avail.  The investigating officer, Station Sergeant Bristol and her superiors have refused to speak to the family lawyer. They claim all requests must go to the commissioner’s office. 

This sordid tale of police misconduct, governmental connivance and abuse of public trust amounts to solid proof that this government should not be taken seriously on matters of crime and punishment. Citizens must draw the proper lessons and withdraw their political support from this arrogant bunch of misrulers.

*Jomo Sanga Thomas is a lawyer, journalist, social commentator and a former senator and Speaker of the House of Assembly in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The opinions presented in this content belong to the author and may not necessarily reflect the perspectives or editorial stance of iWitness News. Opinion pieces can be submitted to [email protected].

4 replies on “Our police are angels”

  1. angels? LOL. well I don’t want to ever, ever see the demons ones , never heard that angels kill, steal and destroy. Hope they are taking notes from their top cop. once a cop, twice a civilian . Old people say, once a man twice a child and that’s will be the rule for all of us. The people will surely remember ar yo, more so the wicked wicked wicked evil ones. Hope many ah dem can live with their tormentors.

  2. William H Harriss says:

    Mr Thomas I sent a comment which I feel Kenton will be frightened to publish. Can you at least ask him if you can have a look at it, it really is important in the scheme of things.

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