Editorial: A police state not of comfort
The exchange in the House between Attorney General Adriel Brathwaite and former Attorney General Dale Marshall on Tuesday did nothing to settle the minds of Barbadians on the reported rift between the Commissioner of Police and his deputy.
Mr Marshall, in his contribution to debate on the Transnational Organized Crime (Prevention And Control) Bill 2010, claimed there were two factions in our Royal Barbados Police Force. One, he said, supporting Commissioner Darwin Dottin; the other, deputy Bertie Hinds.
And because of it, Mr Marshall added, the Police Force was “reeling under instability”.
As for Attorney General Brathwaite, who punctuated Mr Marshall’s offering with points of order, there was “no divide” in the force that he was aware of.“None whatsoever!” an adamant Brathwaite said.
It was unfortunate that for a while emphasis strayed towards who was right or wrong about the alleged split at the top of the force. For of more gravamen was Mr Marshall’s legitimate concern that these “underlying issues” might “prevent Barbados from fulfilling its obligations under a number of international conventions aimed at fighting crime”.
The Attorney General has to do better than refute matters related to this concern on a point of order. Last December, Mr Brathwaite assured the DAILY NATION he would be intervening in the reported rift between Mr Dottin and Mr Hinds. It would happen as soon as the Police Commissioner was back from holiday.
The Attorney General elaborated then that he had been told there were meetings between the two leaders “to address the matter”.
He added: “I am not sure if it has gotten any worse or any better.”
But based on what he had heard, the Attorney General was of the opinion that “I think it is worth investigating”.
We are not sure what “investigating” Mr Brathwaite has done. We certainly do not recall any public announcement or report on his findings. We learnt only that he had had a meeting with 40 senior officers, including Mr Dottin and Mr Hinds, and had not walked away from it “with a sense that there is any rift”.
An inflated sense of comfort at best, pedestrianism at worst.
And so the nation must have been flummoxed on Tuesday by the Attorney General’s overexcited stand.
The simple truth may be there are two police factions; a greater one certainly is that so long as Mr Brathwaite remains unclear, so will all the rest of us.
Not good for policing.