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Calls made for Commissioner of Police to demit office

Calls made for Commissioner of Police to demit office

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Several emphatic calls have been made for Commissioner of Police Michael Charles to immediately demit office, after he appeared at a rally of the Unity Labour Party (ULP) last Sunday, clad in red, the colour of the ULP.

Speaking on the New Times programme on NICE Radio on Wednesday, Opposition {{more}}parliamentarian St Clair Leacock said commissioners of police have a right to a political opinion expressed discreetly, but cannot be partisan.

“In fact, they may attend all political parties in their own civilian uniforms and listen and take in. Any policeman has a right to go to a political meeting and listen, but not be partisan,” Leacock said.

He said the commissioner, however, was not clad in a “red jersey” or the brand of the political party, but that the Charles appeared in a special red uniform which had been tailored for him.

Leacock, who is also known as ‘The Major,’ claims that persons who were at one ‘Phil’s Bar’, reported to him that Charles said he was going to buy five more suits at Jax [Enterprises] to “bun Leacock out”.

“I am a member of parliament. He is responsible for my security and safety. He can’t make those statements… But when he turns up with the same Phil that is in question and in discussion, in identical clothing, with Phil holding his bag of peanuts selling and he with another bag, God knows what he has in it!

“…But a prime minister who is worthy of respect should say to his commissioner of police that is unacceptable. I do not appreciate you coming to my public meeting with that decorum, with that display, because it demeans and takes away from your responsibility as commissioner. He should run him; he did not do that…,” Leacock said.

He opined that the commissioner, who has been given a second contract by the Government (beyond retirement) has nothing to lose and therefore feels “he could throw everything into the basket of the Prime Minister.”

The Opposition lawmaker said we run the risk of “something serious and fatal happening in SVG,” adding that law is clearly not for all persons.

Leacock said Charles no longer has his confidence and he does not want the contamination and destruction that is taking place in the police force to continue.

“Restore St Vincent Police Force to respectability it once had and allow commissioners of police to be commissioners of police. It is not there for the manipulation of any prime minister…

“They could shoot me down. A police man could put in me a stray bullet. In the fray of the election campaign, hired hands could get rid of me, but the arguments that I’ve put forward and the foundation that I have built will last forever…

“And if the commissioner of police continues to appear in purchased red uniforms and the Prime Minister does not do anything, the public must stand up and be counted. St Vincent must stand up and be counted!”

Parliamentary representative for West Kingstown Daniel Cummings has also lambasted the commissioner for his actions.

“St Vincent and the Grenadines must never go back to a society when you can have an idiot as the commissioner of police parading as a man. Only a man who is bereft of any understanding and knowledge will sink this country to become the laughing stock, not of the Caribbean, but of the world.

“…The police represent the security of all of the people of this country. We have seen politics in this country being nasty and divided under the ULP when the commissioner of police will be such a jackass, a total jackass, to put on a red uniform and parade in a ULP meeting and this Prime Minister has not fired him yet. Then, we must not only fire the commissioner, we must fire the Prime Minister, who is responsible for national security,” Cummings passionately declared.

“…How can anybody in this country have the confidence that you will dispense justice and fair play as you ought to. You have brought our country into disrepute. You have brought shame on our land. Commissioner, if you have any ounce of decency left in you, get the hell out of there now. Get out, get out!”

The president of the Public Service Union (PSU), Elroy Boucher, has also called on Charles to step down.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Boucher said Charles had brought the office of the commissioner to a low level. He said that the CoP’s attire at political rallies has made him unapproachable for someone who has different political beliefs.

When contacted on Wednesday evening, Commissioner Charles told SEARCHLIGHT that he sees nothing wrong with the colours he sported at the meeting, adding that he did it for “intelligence purposes.”

“I am paying absolutely no mind to what they are saying. I am the Commissioner of Police and I decide which public meeting I go to. I attend several public meetings and I dress to blend in, because I will like to hear what is happening on the ground, so I mix with the crowd to hear what is happening.

“…I just wore a red suit. There is no ULP nothing on it. It’s just red. I know better than that. It’s just red,” he reiterated, adding that it is not the first time he has worn a red suit at a political meeting.

“A lot people will talk but they are not trained in security. I heard The Major say he has several training and so, but if he did, he forgot what he was taught. That’s not the only political meeting I have gone to. The other meetings I didn’t wear red,” he said.

The commissioner further stated that he has also attended meetings of the NDP and the Democratic Republican Party.

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