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Some questions for Commissioner Miller

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Tue, Jan 31. 2012

EDITOR: About two weeks ago, Commissioner of Police Keith Miller was a guest of a radio talk show in St Vincent. I called the programme to ask Miller a question that I have long wanted to. However, before doing so, I attempted to commend the Coast Guard and ASP Richard Browne for their work.{{more}} I tried to make the point that in 2010, I found a new respect for the Coast Guard when I was told that their work, in addition to the regular search and rescue and drug interdiction, includes patrolling our nation’s waters ALL night.

In my call to the programme, I made the point that while we are resting peacefully in our beds, our law enforcement officers often have to endure much discomfort to ensure our security. Further, I attempted to congratulate Richard Browne for the way that he handled a traffic offence way back in 2003 that has undoubtedly left a lasting positive impression on all who were travelling in a minivan whose driver and conductor were violating the law as it relates to passenger limit. However, it seems that as soon as I mentioned that I work in the media, Miller immediately went on the defensive. Rather than hearing the commendation that I was trying to give, he sought to give an explanation when there really was no reason to.

Nonetheless, Miller did not give an explanation about that which I was concerned. It relates to the conduct of cops in at least two instances when their colleagues were charged with criminal offences.

Many Vincentians will remember when some cops dressed in black pants, white shirts and black ties, attempted to conceal the identity of three of their colleagues who were later convicted after almost killing a 15-year-old boy. Most recently, there was a similar reoccurrence as cops tried to hide the identity of one of their colleagues who has been charged with the murder of, interestingly, another cop, Kingsley “King John” John.

Mr Commissioner, I again ask you what I asked on that radio programme two weeks ago: Do you approve of your cops trying to hide the identity of their colleagues who are charged with criminal offences? Further, if one of my relatives, friends, or colleagues is charged with a crime, can my friends and I employ similar tactics to try to conceal the identity of the person charged? The real question is, Mr Commissioner, are there in SVG two sets of laws: one for cops and one for regular civilians?

I, like you, Mr Commissioner, attended King John’s funeral. You saw the way his mom hung her head in pain as you saluted her before presenting her with the flag in which the casket that contained the body of her only son was draped. You saw the way that she clasped the flag to her breasts after accepting it – after some delay – from you.

I recall that your officers released from police custody the gentleman charged in relation with King John’s death, after it was reported in the media that the DPP intended to charge that cop with the murder of King John. This is not an indictment on the accused cop. Everyone is entitled to a free and fair trial and one is innocent until proven guilty.

The question I am asking here, Mr Commissioner, is: if your cops would go to such lengths to conceal the identity of their colleagues AFTER they have been charged with crimes, what assurance can you give us that they would not do anything to cover up crimes committed by other cops? Are we then to believe the outcome of those “investigations” when the investigators are cops and the investigated are also cops?

Mr Commissioner, the world is watching. And from this perspective in Taipei, Taiwan, it seems as if St Vincent and the Grenadines is a country of men and not a country of laws.

Fortunately, as a Vincentian, I know that this is not always the case. Unfortunately, not everyone watching is Vincentian. The ball is in your court. Play as you please.

Kenton Chance

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