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Commissioner of Police blasts convicted Rural Constable

Commissioner of Police blasts convicted Rural Constable

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Commissioner of Police Keith Miller is of the view that the court in Barbados should have imposed a stiffer penalty on Vincentian Alison Susan Louis for trafficking in cocaine.{{more}}

Describing last week’s arrest of a Vincentian rural constable in Barbados as “embarrassing” and “disloyal”, Miller said, “Although the court has made their decision, I believe for a law enforcement officer who should know better, to me, the sentence was too light,” Miller told reporters on Wednesday.

On Thursday, October 13, a Bridgetown magistrate fined Louis, 44, BD$175,000 (EC$236,250) in relation to four drug-related crimes.

She pleaded guilty to the offences when she appeared at the District B Magistrate’s Court in Bridgetown.

For the possession of cocaine charge, Louis was convicted, reprimanded and discharged. However, she was fined BDS$75,000 (EC$101,250) or three years in prison for trafficking in cocaine, BDS$50,000 (EC$67,000) or three years in prison for possession with intent to supply cocaine, and BDS$50,000 or three years in prison for importation of cocaine.

Louis was arrested at the Grantley Adams Airport after she boarded LIAT flight 338 from St Vincent destined to Barbados, on Wednesday, October 12 at about 9:50pm. She was intercepted by Drugs Squad personnel and was referred to Customs. A search discovered two packages containing cocaine in her underwear. The total weight was 1 lb, the statement said.

The top cop said he is not prepared to sympathize with any policeman or policewoman who commits these types of offences and is of the view that a stronger message needed to be sent.

“I have no sympathy for policemen and women who commit these kinds of offences. This is not an offence where a policeman, in the execution of his duty, makes a mistake and steps a little overboard…That’s why the court in Barbados should have sent a stronger message to police across the region and not just in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. You can’t be working in law enforcement and be of a double standard,” Miller explained.

“As a commissioner, you have to have confidence in every policeman that stands before you to take the oath, For that person to turn around and commit this type of offence and in the manner in which it was committed, is highly disloyal to the organisation.

According to the Commissioner, Louis, who was commissioned as a rural constable in June this year, was on five days sick leave because of problems with her throat. However, Miller noted that no permission was granted for her to leave the state.

“No referral letter from a doctor was given for her to leave the state. You must have written permission to leave the state,” stated Miller.

Stating that a starting salary for a rural constable is about $1,200 per month, Miller said, because of a minor glitch in the system regarding salaries, just a week before Louis was nabbed in Barbados, she was given backpay of over $4,000.

Miller said, as a police officer, one does not only represent the RSVGPF, but also the country in maintaining law and order. “She, being a law enforcement officer, she was living with us; she was working at the Biabou police station. I am now seeing in hindsight that she was a threat to us. She was a serious threat to us living among us,” Miller said.

The Commissioner beseeched persons, when police are carrying out backgrounds checks in the recruitment process, that they provide them with factual information about the potential police officer.

“We are asking the public to tell us the truth…If you fail to do that and hide faults and problems about the applicant, this is what you get. What you give us is what you actually get to work as police officers…,” he added.

In recent times, a number of police officers have been brought before the courts on various charges ranging from murder and assault to sexual offences and theft.

On February 2, 2010, three police officers were convicted on charges of assault and causing actual bodily harm to a 15-year-old boy. The decision of the magistrate was upheld by the East Caribbean Court of Appeal on February 21, 2011.

Following that, in April this year, Miller reinstated the three officers, saying that two of them were two of his better investigators.

Despite what has unfolded, Miller said he does not want the public to lose belief that the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force is a credible organisation.

“We are doing everything possible to ensure that the policeman and women in here are conforming to the laws of SVG,” the Commissioner said.

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