Voicenote should not be interpreted as threat on PM’s life – Lawyer
Threats to âstormâ the office of the Prime Minister should not be interpreted as a threat on his life, but as executives being forceful in their request to have their concerns addressed.
So said defence lawyer Israel Bruce on Wednesday, during an interview with SEARCHLIGHT in relation to three voice notes that surfaced last weekend, allegedly of executive members of the Police Welfare Association (PWA) threatening to âstormâ the office of the Prime Minister.
Since the leak of the voice notes, head of the PWA Sergeant Brenton Smith has been transferred to Union Island, while two other executive members, Constable Kenroy Martin and Constable Jeremain Roberts have been transferred to Chateaubelair and Owia respectively.
âWhen somebody says that we will storm another personâs office, does that mean that you are going to kill somebody in the office? No! Does it mean that you are going to take the person in the office hostage? No! It means that in the context of the conversation, that we will go to the Prime Ministerâs office and we would make a very loud statement; we would be very forceful in our request that our concerns be addressed. That is the only logical conclusion that can be arrived at,â Bruce said.
âThe police authority, the leader of the police force has not been responding to our requests, so we will go to the other authority that we know we could go to, and which is the Office of the Prime Minister and we will go there, forcefully, and we would lay our claim and our concern before the Office of the Prime Minister.â
Bruce said up to Wednesday afternoon, he had not spoken to the Commissioner of Police on behalf of his client, Sergeant Brenton Smith.
Although he could not say if the voice notes were accidentally or deliberately leaked, the lawyer opined that if it was deliberately done, it speaks to an issue of disloyalty within the executive of the PWA.
The defence attorney said it was his understanding that since the voice notes were leaked, the hierarchy of the police service have met with members of the executive of the PWA to discuss the voice notes and text messages from the group chat, but it is his belief that an outside agent, acting, through the executive, deliberately leaked the voice notes, which were meant for internal consumption.
âThat in itself is bad for the organization and so that person or those persons should be very ashamed in what they have done.
âThey have in essence sought to damage the Welfare Association, because people are not going to trust one another in there anymore…â
Bruce said the PWA is a body that negotiates on behalf of its membership and now there is no guarantee of confidentiality after what transpired with the voice clips.
Mention is made in one of the voice notes of the PWA not giving away any fridges or stoves and pressure being put on the authorities to do their part.
According to Bruce, the Welfare Association has been in the practice of purchasing fridges and stoves to go to the outstations to make their members more comfortable, although the association is not duty-bound to do so. He added that the executive had decided that they are no longer moving in that direction, and need to get the authorities to respond.
âThey are saying âwe are fed up of the silence, the non-responsiveness of the police authorityâ…â
The lawyer said he does not know why the use of the word âstormâ is creating a frenzy all over the country,
âI donât know why people losing sleep over it.â
Additionally, Bruce said that the transfer of the officers is a means of punishing the police officers who are alleged to have been in the conversation, but this action is a mistake.
He said it appears as if his client is being targeted.
âThey know what they are doing and they are seeking to divide the police force in such a way; but why do you need to do that?â
The lawyer suggested that instead, the authorities should sit with the leadership of the PWA to resolve some of their concerns. He said if the objective is to stop executives from meeting, it is unlikely to succeed.
âI hope that the authorities outside of the police would recognize that what has happened here is not in the best interest of national security; its not in the best interest of the police officers at all. Letâs try resolve this matter,â Bruce added.(AS)