By the end of this month, this country will have a new Commissioner of Police (CoP), the Police Service Commission (PSC) having accepted the request by Colin John for early retirement.
With this request being accepted, John has gone down in history as the only CoP to date in the Unity Labour Party (ULP) administration to ask for and receive early retirement.
On August 24, SEARCHLIGHT broke the story of John’s impending departure, he having given notice of his desire to proceed on early retirement.
However, at that time, both Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr Ralph Gonsalves and CoP John refused to comment on the issue.
Speaking on WE FM’s Shake Up program yesterday, the Prime Minister revealed that on September 13, the Police Service Commission (PSC) informed him that CoP John had asked for early retirement and they have processed the request.
Gonsalves said he has to be involved and the PSC has agreed to grant CoP John early retirement.
“I can talk that now…,” Gonsalves said while noting that he had refused to comment before the process was completed and it seems as if persons were looking for “comess”, a term used locally to refer to gossip.
The Minister of National Security said the announcement will come by the end of the month who will be the new CoP and that process will involve Governor General (GG) Susan Dougan, the PSC and the Prime Minister.
“…Because that is what the Constitution say,” Gonsalves said while noting that at this point, a CoP or acting CoP will be appointed and he has to approve the officer who takes over as is noted by the Constitution.
“The PSC has to advise the GG any time the occasion arises for the appointment of Commissioner or acting Commissioner and then before the PSC advises the GG as to the appointment, the PSC has to consult me and if I signify my objection to the person who they want to appoint…they can’t advise the GG. That is what the Constitution say.
“I can say that the chairman of the Public Service Commission has consulted me but I wouldn’t tell you the conclusion of the consultation because the process yet is not complete because they have to do what they have to do and go to the Governor General,” Gonsalves said.
The Prime Minister also noted that since 2001, he has been involved with the appointment of five CoPs, more than any Prime Minister in history of St Vincent and the Grenadines and John is the only one who has ever asked for early retirement, the others having reached retirement age and demitted office.
Gonsalves said when William Harry was appointed Commissioner in 2001 after Osborne Quow retired, Harry reached retirement age after serving from 2001 to 2005. Harry was replaced by Keith Miller who after reaching retirement age made way for Michael Charles. After Charles reached retirement age, he was replaced by Renold Hadaway after which came CoP John.
Gonsalves said many aspects of his governance show stability, among them, the fact that he has been the Prime Minister since 2001, while since 2014, Britain has had five prime ministers.
John, 55, has been CoP since December 31, 2018. He is a 35-year veteran and is the holder of a LLB honours degree and has been called to the Bar of England & Wales and the OECS Bar.
This is the second time John is retiring from the Royal St Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force (RSVGPF). In 2010, while a Station Sergeant, he retired after completing his Bar exams. He was then appointed Crown Counsel I in the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).
In 2012, he was appointed Assistant DPP, then on August 8, 2016, he was reassigned to the RSVGPF as the Deputy Commissioner of Police.
On January 2, 2018, John was promoted to Acting Commissioner of Police and was confirmed in the rank of Commissioner of Police on December 31, 2018.
John has the option of moving into civilian life as a lawyer, but no mention has been made of what his next career move will be.