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Grant Connell, left and acting Commissioner of Police Enville Williams
Grant Connell, left and acting Commissioner of Police Enville Williams
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A defence lawyer on Thursday used the High Court to communicate his Christmas wish to acting Commissioner of Police Enville Williams.

“One gift I want from him is to leave politics out of the police force. That is all,” Grant Connell told the special sitting of the High Court to mark the closing of the assizes.

“Politics is like cancer and politicians like Big Pharma. It is in nobody’s interest, really. They have their job to do. I understand,” Connell said.

“The bar is one thing. The politics infect the bar. We know that. We know who is who. Some down the middle. I don’t care who is who.

“But the police force, when the police force crumbles and you put square pegs in round holes because of reasons other than merit and talent, we the people will suffer,” he said to applause from the jury.

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“It is unfortunate that the commissioner is not here because I want to tell him he has to stand by his men.”

The lawyer said he had the opportunity to go on several walks with retired commissioner Randolph Toussaint who explained how the police force worked in his day.

“And he said as the commissioner you have to be in charge of your men and look out for your men.”

Connell said Toussaint told him that then prime minister, Sir James Mitchell called him once telling him what to do in the police Force.

He said Toussaint told him he replied, “Prime Minister, you have a country to run. I will run my force. If you want to run my force, I will run the country’.”

Some of the members of the jury laughed.

Connell continued:

“Now, that was years ago. To say something like that to the prime minister back then took intestinal fortitude and testicular fortitude. But I know things are different now and there is no such interaction.”

He said the police force has to tell the prime minister what it wants.

“…  demand it, say what you want, make your list. Now is Christmas. All those vehicles that you need — and this goes to prisons too. It is the small things that we need to fix.”

Horrible conditions at police stations

The lawyer said that he brought to the attention of the police chief several years ago that the only ventilation in the holding cell in Calliaqua is “little fancy blocks”

“Sometime when I visit clients there, because they urinate inside, I can see they have to string up by the windows to breathe,” Connell said.

“They have to realise that when those were built, they were built for us. And us back then, it didn’t matter if when they opened the door, we were dead or alive. They may have said, ‘Throw it away.’

“But now we’re in charge ah we, we are commissioner. And I raised that seven years ago and no changes.”

He said that a young man was brought to court the previous week without any shoes.

That same day, three officers were escorting prisoners but had no handcuffs or transportation.

“They had to wait half an hour for a transport. They could not walk him because hot pitch and no handcuffs.”

The lawyer said the prison needs a portable welding machine to repair the perimeter fence and also a room for when counsel visit the prison.

“It is not easy but I commend them,” Connell said of the police officers, adding that Superintendent of Police Junior Simmons and Sergeant Billy are working with the young people “unearthing the power of sports.

“I know they are trying. So, I hope for 2024 that the police are able to raise the vibration; raise the morale. When you go into a police station, at least there would be a kettle to get a cup of hot water.”

No DNA test in rape case

Connell also used the sitting to highlight what he said are effects in the judicial system, as well as issues affecting the morale of police officers.

He said that during the assizes, a prosecutor in a rape case, in excusing the absence of a DNA test, told the jury “we are a poor nation and cannot afford certain things”.

Connell said that given the manner in which rape is investigated, a DNA test would be fair to all the parties.

“So instead of settling and saying we are a poor nation and we can’t afford that, we have to, not ask, we have to tell — maybe they don’t know — the power that be, what is needed and how crucial it is.”

He said that the previous week he had received an affidavit signed by an officer with regards to bringing five witnesses from Union Islands.

“My last journey on one of those ferries cost $70,” Connell noted.

He said that in the affidavit, the officer said, “I am informed by counsel and verily believe that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution is not in a financial position to bear all the cost of the witnesses’ trip to the mainland at this time.”

Connell said the trip would cost $350, adding that he does not know how expensive food is but did not believe that the total cost of the trip and food would exceed EC$1,000.

“But the bigger point is this, we have to see where there is need to invest in the prosecution and the police.  Justice cannot have a price…” the lawyer told the court.

He said that his job takes me in and out of every police station in the country.

“And when I visit them, I can see what really contributes to the morale of the police being so low. The whole vibration of the police.”

Connell said he had gone into the Calliaqua Police Station for a cup of tea because he was not feeling well.

“… when I went into the kitchen my diet changed,” he said and some of the jurors laughed.

“And the good men have to settle for that. It may sound comical but unfortunately, the commissioner is not here. I really wanted to draw some things to his attention.”

Several police stations without vehicles

He said that sometimes witnesses do not come to court because warrants are not served as a result of transportation issues.

“CRO (Criminal Records Office) has no vehicle. Process has no vehicle. One between Biabou, Calliaqua and Mesopotamia.  Vermont has no vehicle; none in Chateaubelair.”

Connell said he drove past in Belmont the scene of one of the recent homicides and saw   senior police officers coming out of a van.

He said he drove by Arnos Vale “with my little old jeep I does drive and Traffic asking me to pack up their cones to come town because they don’t have any transport.

“How you want these good men to really raise their vibration?”

The lawyer said he passed an accident near Grand Bazaar in Kingstown and a police officer was taking a stone to make the wheels of the vehicle.

“What kind of Flintstones things are these?” Connell said adding that when police officers visit crime scenes they need to be equipped.

 He said that officers have the skills needed, adding that he was involved in a matter in which Inspector Nolan Dallaway secured the scene and made an arrest within 20 minutes.

He said the integrity of the entire crime scene was maintained, as was the case of the DNA evidence all the way to Jamaica and back.

7 replies on “Lawyer wants CoP to leave politics out of police force”

  1. It’s my opinion that politics invade every square inch of this place. for the last twenty plus years, pray others will speak out, especially on the hospitals.

  2. These are real concerns DNA is of paramount importance in a rape od criminal indictment. It is said the ghe Calliaqua precinct or police station is a piece of garbage. IThe washrooms are stink to the core. This is the environment in which officers function.

  3. In my opinion MAN depend on them to keep oppositions silent by arresting, mishandling, put in choke whole, sueing, instill fear, threaten to shoot, name it and dey doing it. For what?Pocision?

    So u will tink all is well how dey so figsious
    against oppositions.

    Let their b ah protest today and a high ranking member of opposition is spotted in d crowd u will see how dey turn out in top gear to make it look like its d oppositions having d potest .

    Dey under mental slavery so dey can’t help dem self. Dey could neither hope nor demand better.

  4. Millions get allocated to the PM’s office to do what?? Almost another 1 Million for travel. Do you really think Ralph has genuine love for his people???

  5. We running a mauby shop. Other enterty have two and three vehicles at their disposal while critical departments have none.

  6. Some very good observations here. But does the government care about the people it believes committed a crime? They are innocent until proven guilty, so why are they treated guilty in advance and put into areas that are terrible. Crimes will go unsolved if they are not investigated thoroughly, and innocent people will be punished.

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