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Tribute to former COP Randolph Toussaint

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by Sir James Mitchell

COMMISSIONER RANDOLPH TOUSSAINT was a good man. He loved his police force. In the annals of our Royal Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force, two names stand out. Colonel Sydney Anderson and Randolph Toussaint. Toussaint and I worked together to preserve the peace and good order in our country. Toussaint has gone, I am retired. Where is peace and good order today? Do the young girls and boys, scared for their lives, find inspiration in the subtle message of Hope and Guidance in their mother’s anguished cry: Life was not always like this.

When a malicious fire devastated a section of headquarters and many records were destroyed, we worked to re-establish confidence and build the new facility. Hardly had I been sworn in as Prime Minister, the Tous of long acquaintance in my agronomist days at the Campden Park Experiment Station and his at Questelles Police Station, impressed on me that I should visit headquarters and see the state of accommodation, pieces of foam for beds, bathroom mould, and empty kitchen. Out of my own pocket I bought a kettle so that a hot cup of coffee was available before the 2 am beat on the streets. He pleaded with me to increase the ranks of corporals as there were too many long serving ordinary policemen needing recognition.

The longest serving Commissioner and Prime Minister both found justice only at the Privy Council, an incitement that will always hover over public confidence in our local Judicial system.
The case of Tous is that a Prime Minister cannot take umbrage under parliamentary privilege and that a statement in parliament that affects the constitutional rights of a citizen has to be permitted as evidence in court.

Toussaint’s classic experience was the occasion when he closed down the Adventist Crusade in Arnos Vale blocking the highway, disturbing the peace in a residential neighbourhood, advised relocation on the playing field, and ignored the request of the acting Prime Minister. A litany of complaints greeted my return from a mission out of state. My response derived from my understanding of Section 1 of the Constitution. The rights and freedom of any person cannot prejudice the rights and freedom of others and in the public interest.

I agreed with the action of my Commissioner. I interfered only when a public servant failed on the job.

I loved it when a public servant declared: PM leave that to me. I can never forget the outstanding arrangements for the visit of our Queen Elizabeth in 1985. I wanted a team that was willing to work in the days and nights to ensure all went well. Parnel Campbell, Rudy Matthews and Randolph Toussaint performed. They were all honoured by Her Majesty in the ceremony on HMY Britannia with Royal Victorian Orders in recognition of outstanding service.

The model of Britannia crafted in Bequia which we presented to Her Majesty during her visit is on permanent display among her worldwide gifts in Buckingham Palace .

Tous directed that there he needed no funeral eulogies. But I will be failing my sense of dignity if I allowed his service to our peace not to be thanked.

May his ashes in the sea off Mayreau enhance the seafood he loved.

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