Government officials stand by police
February 19, 2010
Government officials stand by police

Police officers are not getting the credit they deserve.

This view, which is shared by this country’s advisor to the Ministry of National Security and the Minister of Health, was expressed at a hand over of two vehicles to the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.{{more}}

At last Thursday’s handover of a fire tender and K-9 Unit vehicle, security advisor Sir Vincent Beache made it clear that he was pro police and was in full support of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force’s Traffic Department’s crack down on mini bus drivers.

He spoke of grievances raised by these drivers, who complain of police pulling them over because of a number of issues which include, among other things, their tires.

“The one that really got me tickled is when the Mini Van Association went on a strike because of police harassment.”

“Because police were stopping them to see if they had insurance and license- that was police harassment as far as they are concerned.”

“I say this so that you can understand to what extent the public in general decide to promote this kind of effort.”

Beache noted that the action by the van drivers was even more striking because it was coming soon after the December 31, 2009, accident in Argyle, which killed three people.

It was later determined that the van involved was not insured.

“The public don’t seem to understand the gravity of the situation; it means that the beneficiary of those who died might end up with nothing and the state has to carry the burden, and the state finances come from all of us,” Beache said.

Minister of Health Douglas Slater voiced his sentiments on the issue, saying that police officers are carrying out the mandate set for them by the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

“When you see the police out there stopping and searching vehicles, among other things, they are also searching for criminals and weapons,” Slater contributed.

“And some of us who are complaining of excesses can, do and will become victims of crime. I want you to think about when you are criticizing, what if the person that the police find with a weapon was coming to injure you and ask whether you think that was a good role of the police to stop that.”

The minister also related personal instances where he has had encounters with persons driving along the wrong direction on a road in the area where he resides, and on occasions has asked police to intervene in some of these cases.

Despite their support for the officers, the veteran politicians acknowledged that there were some in the constabulary who may not have the temperament to keep their cool, but urged the peacekeepers to exercise responsibility in the execution of their duties.

“While we are supportive, we want to remind the police to give the necessary respect to the citizens – and I know they are capable, but sometimes they may lose control, but then that’s human. Let us try to eliminate that,” Slater noted.

The minister touched on the recent conviction of three police officers on assault charges, and said that the court decision was proof that the country’s justice system is working.