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DPP says he failed top investigator

DPP says he failed top investigator


Now that Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Sydney “Gold Teeth” James has proceeded on pre-retirement leave, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Colin Williams feels that he failed him, and for that he has apologized.

The DPP said “a heartfelt sorry” to James last Saturday, during a send-off ceremony {{more}}held for the 35-year veteran at Huffles Ranch at Brighton.

James spent his last day on the job on February 12, 2016.

According to Williams, although there are some officers with potential, there is no replacement in the short to medium-term for James.

“I feel first of all a sense of loss with ASP James being told to turn in his kit and leave, at a time when his skills are needed, at a time when there is no one, ABSOLUTELY no one for him to hand the baton to….

“I also feel that I have failed him, and for that I must say a heartfelt ‘sorry’, because I failed to register with a sufficient degree of clarity, the necessity of retaining his skills, knowledge and ability within the constabulary.”

Born in Guyana to Vincentian parents, James joined the local constabulary on February 28, 1981.

He is widely known for his investigative skills and spent most of his career at the Criminal Investigations Department and was in charge of the Department for a period. He was last stationed at the South Central Division before he proceeded on pre-retirement leave.

Williams said some had conducted a whisper campaign to undermine and destroy James by saying that he was not a good manager.

“Yes, apparently his style and manner of operation, rather than being seen as a strength, was held up as a weakness, as a fault….”

The DPP, however, said that the loss of James to the RSVGPF is not his loss, but the country’s loss.

Williams praised James for his work on the Lokeisha Nanton murder trial, saying, “it still remains the most extensive and comprehensive matter presented to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.”

The DPP said James “scrupulously investigated” every lead in the case and the file of ‘Unused Material’ in that matter was “substantially larger than any other file ever submitted to the DPP’s office.”

Today, even after a retrial, the convict, Patrick Lovelace, is the only man on death row in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“The tenacious work of ASP James in the investigative trenches secured that,” Williams said.

The DPP also observed that James did not shy away from making difficult arrests, unlike some other officers.

“His cousin, Winston Nicholls, was wanted for a double murder, in which two females were hacked to death. Not only did ASP James take the lead in making the arrest, but he secured a full confession from the person and got the man to take the police to where crucial bits of evidence was discarded.”

The DPP noted that as a prosecutor, there is no better witness one would have batting in their corner than ASP James and that he, like no other investigator in SVG had achieved international accreditation.

“His demeanour, his presence, his honesty are compelling.”

He also said that no other investigator in SVG has achieved the international accreditation that he has. He was recognized in the region wide awards system that was inaugurated two years ago as being the top investigator.

Williams also related three occasions on which James demonstrated that he is willing to work beyond the call of duty.

The DPP said once, when he and James were both in The Bahamas on a training programme, they went along with other members of the group to the famed ‘Atlantis’. Williams said after seeing what there was to see, the others wanted to either hang out at the bar or at the casino, but he wanted to go back to the hotel, so he decided to leave.

“For his part, ‘Gold’, as if he was on duty and assigned as my security, decided to cut short any possible enjoyment at Atlantis and make the journey back to the hotel with me. That to me demonstrates a man who is not too big to perform certain tasks and who is willing to work beyond the call of duty.”

The second incident took place on October 8, 2011. Williams said he fell while making his way down a slope in his backyard, ending up with a triple break in the region of his right ankle.

He had his cell phone on him and the first person he thought to call was James, who quickly responded with a team who took him to the hospital.

“That is why if even I am to pick a team, the first man I want on my side is ASP James; in him, you know this is a man who has your back.

“The third matter I would mention is the night of Sunday, the 22nd of July, 2012. This is the only night since I became DPP that I ever, for a very brief moment, experienced a little anxiety about my personal security. I had recently completed the first trial in the High Court here for narcotics for more than a decade. It involved a group of Trinidadians. I got a phone call from ‘Gold’ informing me that, in his assessment, they received credible information that there was to be a hit on me. My momentary bewilderment and confusion were, however, allayed by the ASP. He said that he had already spoken to the then Acting Commissioner and certain measures were put in place. This reminded me of his ability to assess information that he received and demonstrated the cool, efficient manner in which he can put measures in place.”

In bidding farewell, Williams thanked James, saying his departure leaves the RSVGPF “a much poorer place.”

Other tributes were paid to James by senior prosecutor Adolphus Delplesche, inspector of police Trevor Bailey, president of the Welfare Association and Inspector Atland Browne in charge of the Major Crime Unit.

James responding to the tributes tried to control his emotions. He shared his journey and quoted the words of retired Commissioner of Police, Osborne Quow, ‘Man can come, but man must go.’

He said he only spent two months in civilian life when he arrived in St Vincent and the Grenadines and will certainly miss the police force. He expressed thanks for the tributes.