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Eustace objects to how police graduate entry policy is implemented

Eustace objects to how police graduate entry policy is implemented

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Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said yesterday that he objects to the manner in which the government implements its graduate entry policy for police officers.{{more}}

The policy, introduced by the Dr Ralph Gonsalves Unity Labour Party administration, allows for the appointment of persons with university degrees to the upper ranks of the constabulary.

Former journalist Hawkins Nanton, who has a master’s degree in communication, is the most recent appointee under the policy.

He was appointed an inspector of police this month, assigned to the Police Public Relations and Complaints Department.

Eustace said on his weekly radio programme that Nanton, a former editor at SEARCHLIGHT, is “trained in certain fields” and has “a lot of experience as a journalist and I have no desire to pull him down.

“As a matter of fact, he should be complimented for what he has achieved academically and I do so,” Eustace said, adding that his New Democratic Party has called for the establishment of an officer corps within the Police Force.

He, however, said that persons like Nanton should be appointed as “administrative cadets”.

Such appointments allowed people with special skills, but no experience in the relevant post, to work in the area in which they were trained, while being paid for their qualification.

Eustace said he was appointed to a similar position when he returned to St Vincent in the early 1970s with a master’s degree in economics.

“I wasn’t blocking anybody who was there before me from promotion. I got the salary required for that because the salary had to reflect your qualification,” he said, adding that most people worked as administrative cadets for three years.

“I can’t see why that can’t work in the Police Force,” said Eustace, the opposition spokesperson for national security.

“Mr Nanton could have gone in as an administrative cadet, learn more about the police work, … which would enhance his skills in bringing his own public relations knowledge to bear.

“And it would have caused much less difficulty than we have now,” Eustace said, adding that it is “very difficult” for persons who were awaiting promotion for many years “and somebody comes in who don’t know a thing about the Police Force and suddenly goes above them.

“… We have to pay him (Nanton) for his qualification, no question about that. But, at the same time, you cause disruption in the entire Force by making that kind of decision,” Eustace further stated.

“And that is why I say we talk a lot of things, but we don’t think very often when we have to implement them. … The wrong decision was made in terms of how he was appointed,” Eustace said, adding that an administrative cadet grade appointment for a person like Nanton “would have caused much less friction than this appointment is causing.

“And I am sure that even for Hawkins Nanton, it is probably an embarrassment to him too,” Eustace said.

“… I notice that people weren’t pulling him down and I am glad for that, because he does have the qualifications. But he needs some more experience,” Eustace said.

Nanton is the third person to benefit from the graduate entry policy. The first was then 24-year-old Kamecia Blake, who was appointed Assistant Superintendent of Police in October 2010. In December 2011, then 25-year-old Avianne Smith was appointed a sergeant. ([email protected])

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