They are surely not foreigners!
RECENTLY, Mr David Comissiong, in his capacity as an attorney at law, called upon Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin to bring in a top police investigator from one of our sister CARICOM nations to take charge of the Royal Barbados Police Force’s investigation into the shooting of the late Jamar Maynard by one of its officers.
Amazingly, this call for the involvement of a fellow Caribbean police officer in a Barbadian criminal investigation was characterized by local journalists, and by Dottin and newspaper columnist Richard Hoad, as a call for the bringing in of a “foreign” police investigator!
It is indeed amazing that some 40 years after the signing of the Treaty of Chaguaramas that established the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), significant shapers of public opinion in Barbados are still characterizing Vincentians, St Lucians, Trinidadians, Jamaicans and other CARICOM nationals as “foreigners”!
What – pray tell – is the use of CARICOM if our police force can’t reach out for assistance from neighbouring police departments in sister CARICOM territories?
If something so straightforward and commonsensical is ruled out on the ground of “foreign interference”, then we might as well shut down the CARICOM Secretariat and forget about the whole regional enterprise!
As far as we are concerned, having an institution in one CARICOM nation assisting a parallel institution in another CARICOM nation should be a commonplace event in just about every sphere of activity!
Let us consider one example that is outside of the realm of police investigations. Take – for example – the activity of solid waste management. Anybody who has recently visited Guyana will tell you that the capital city of Georgetown has a very serious garbage disposal problem.
Well, in Barbados, we possess a Sanitation Service Authority (SSA) that has established an enviable record for keeping Barbados clean. What would be wrong with Guyana reaching out to and engaging the assistance and expertise of our SSA in upgrading Georgetown’s solid waste management systems? Surely, this is the way to go if we are serious about intensifying Caribbean integration and further developing CARICOM!
It is this continuing failure on the part of CARICOM nations and governments to treat each other as brothers and sisters who are bound together in a special type of relationship and community that is at the heart of many of our problems.
Take the Shanique Myrie issue for example. If, when Ms Myrie first made her allegation of having been sexually assaulted by a Barbadian immigration officer, the relevant Barbadian authorities had treated her allegation with the seriousness and respect that they routinely bestow on similar allegations of criminality made by Barbadian citizens, I am sure that this matter would not now be engaging the attention of the Caribbean Court of Justice!
What should have been a simple matter a police investigation of a criminal complaint, degenerated into a major diplomatic and now, legal, conflict between Barbados and Jamaica, and has already cost the Barbados Government significant legal expenses!
Where there is no vision the people will surely perish!
• The PEP column represents the views of the People’s Empowerment Party. Email firstname.lastname@example.org