EDITORIAL: Crucial the PSC appoint top cops
THE OFFICE OF Commissioner of Police is one of the key posts in any country which upholds the rule of law. That is why there should be every effort to avoid it becoming entangled in public wrangling relating to its leadership.
Unfortunately, Barbados’ law enforcement entered uncharted waters when recently retired Commissioner Darwin Dottin was sent on leave. It was unprecedented.
The issue became entangled in the law courts and the fallout is that to this day, the two top positions of commissioner and deputy commissioner have not been filled.
Now that Dottin has moved on, the Police Service Commission (PSC) has no excuse for not with haste making recommendations on filling the positions. The uncertainty must not be allowed to continue, or the speculation in the public domain, whether with justification or simply just wishful thinking on the part of those who seek to recommend their favourites.
There is a strong case in favour of Acting Commissioner Tyrone Griffith and Acting Deputy Oral Williams, who have been carrying out the duties without fanfare and have been able to garner the support of the rank and file of the Royal Barbados Police Force.
The success under their leadership in containing crime is not by chance and tells of the determination of lawmen to serve, protect and secure this island, despite any uncertainty and unhappiness about issues relating to their tenure. A policeman, regardless of rank, like any other employee, wants the security of office and all the benefits which it will bring. This includes promotion and appointment.
There is a lesson for Barbados from Trinidad and Tobago over pussyfooting with this critical office. The failure to appoint a top cop in the twin-island republic has added to the challenges facing law enforcement there, given the public discourse. The fallout is disheartening if the spiralling crime and the negative comments about the police are tools to measure the situation.
The message for us is not to allow that situation to be repeated here. Barbados must have a united and dependable law enforcement organisation.
The key issue for the PSC will be that of being able to repose confidence and following a rewards structure based on meritocracy. It is a situation the public is keenly observing since they abhor this arm of the justice system being embroiled in controversy which can undermine its credibility.
Failure to confirm Griffith and Williams would be a disservice to both men. In Griffith’s case, he would have little choice but to retire given the track record he has developed in proving he has the capacity to lead a well-organised and effective service, even during challenging times.
Our police department is about continuity of professional service. That cherished tradition must not be unwittingly crippled.