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Police bashing is quite unacceptable

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19.DEC.08

EDITOR: I am disturbed by the campaign in the media by some persons against the Police. I acknowledge that there are instances of Police misconduct and even occasional “brutality”. But this reckless bashing of the Police is unacceptable.{{more}}

By far the Police in St. Vincent and the Grenadines conduct themselves with restraint. In fact, from my observation, they often act with too much restraint in the face of outrageous provocation by criminal elements and others who think that they are above the law. I have seen this personally.

Every now and again a Lawyer or some group or the other seeks to make his/her or its name on the backs of the hard-working Police who protect us and the complainers themselves. It is wrong for them to do so. By all means put the Police Officer(s) in Court for wrongdoing. Often the complainers refuse to do so on the grounds that they can’t get justice before the Courts. The reality, usually, is that the complainers have no case which can stand the scrutiny of proper inquiry.

Recently, the media convinced me that the Police had slapped a popular calypsonian I-PA. His Lawyer, Jomo Thomas, according to newspaper reports, took the matter to the High Court but it was thrown out because the case was not properly prepared. Whose fault is that? Would the same result occur in the parallel case in the Magistrate’s Court? Less talking and better preparation may help us all!

I am pleased to hear that the Prime Minister has publicly acknowledged that the internal Police inquiries do not inspire public confidence. So, he has set up an independent Police Oversight Body (POD), headed by Reverend Job, to enquire into complaints about Police misconduct. This is an additional avenue to the Court system.

The Police must lift their game, but this Police-bashing is way overboard. It encourages lawlessness of which there is plenty in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We need balance in the media.

Shirley Dewars

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