Our Readers' Opinions
August 6, 2004
My outlook for Police Force

EDITOR: I offer my most sincere congratulations to Bertie Pompey on his achievement as a lawyer and his appointment to the post of assistant commissioner of police. I take some of the credit for moulding him when he was a recruit at the Regional Police Training Centre, Barbados.{{more}}
I am proud also of the progress made by the following:
Superintendent: Ellsworth Hackshaw; Superintendent: Ronald Christopher; Superintendent: Carlisle Ryan; Superintendent: Lenroy Brewster; Assistant Superintendent: Bertram Cumberbatch; Assistant Superintendent: Artis Davis; Assistant Superintendent: Rezaundel Francis; Assistant Superintendent: Joseph Jack; Assistant Superintendent: Brinsley Ballantyne; Inspectors: Cecil Straker and E. Lockhart; Station Sergeant: C. Straker, just to mention a few.
It was during the period 1974 through 1978 that these men were trained in Barbados. I assisted in their development as recruits and I knew their potential. Not “to blow my own trumpet” but I am correct in saying that I was the only instructor from St. Vincent who produced three consecutive “Best Recruits” at the Regional Police Training Centre.
My prediction is that Pompey will be the future commissioner of police. I will urge the government to organize an Overseas Command Training Course for him very early. I assume he may have had at least one but there are different levels; let the selection be of the highest, coupled with overseas attachment. We cannot fool ourselves: being a lawyer and a leader of men, and being an ideal administrator are two different things. I am 100 per cent behind Pompey but he will need help to master the responsibilities if and when the time comes. Therefore, early preparation by Government will be necessary. I encourage the other officers and men to give him their fullest support.
During my service in the Police Force, I served under four commissioners namely, Col. S. A. Anderson, R. M. Thomas, R. J. O’Garro and E. B. Jackson. I must say that Col. S. A. Anderson and E. B. Jackson were the best. They were leaders of men and ideal administrators. These are a few suggestions for the Government:
(1) Organise a Bomb Squad
I cannot overemphasize the need for training. These are very trying days when security should be of high priority. Are there persons trained in bomb threat or bomb deactivation? We cannot sit by idly and say, “It won’t happen.” We have to stay on top of situations. Therefore, I suggest training for at least six to 12 men, which may be worth some consideration. A bomb squad should be in place.
(2) Creation of Additional Post
The Police Force should be over 800 in establishment and over 700 in strength. Government should look at creating an additional post of assistant commissioner of police. Most of the smaller police forces have two assistant commissioners of police. It will also ease the work load of the deputy commissioner of police, and likewise it may help to appease the present situation among some officers because some are discontented and they have a right to be that way. Consequently it will help to ameliorate working conditions and relationships. It’s not going to cost the Government a fortune to finance that post.
(3) Lawyer to Advise and Handle Matters
Since there will be another lawyer in the person of Inspector Miller and it is expected either before or as soon as he returns to the Force that he will be promoted. I suggest that he be placed in a position to advise and handle all matters before they are sent to the director of public prosecutions (D.P.P.) providing he wants to remain in the police service.
It grieves me to read of the cases that are being dismissed through lack of evidence and now becoming popular “no case submissions”. Let’s be real! All of the lawyers are not brilliant but it’s who they are coming up against in the courts and the type of evidence that is produced or given.
(4) A Forensic Science Centre
A Forensic Science Centre is more than needed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. When exhibits have to be sent to Barbados, Trinidad or Jamaica to be analysed, the possibility exists that things can happen. A brilliant lawyer can rip a case apart. I am of the opinion that there are Vincentians at home and abroad who are qualified to handle such a Forensic Sciences Centre. These are the days of sciences and technology, not forgetting the role that DNA is playing in solving crimes and other matters.
One may be thinking about the cost involved, but, when we consider travelling expenses, accommodation, etc., for the escort of these exhibits to these islands and when one has to come from overseas to give evidence with all the incurring of these expenses, it is much better to have our own centre.
Internal Training and Constant Lectures are Important.
Some recruits receive “crash courses”; therefore, it is imperative that lectures be conducted on a regular basis so that the constables, in particular, can have a better knowledge of the law, how to handle certain situations and more importantly “communication”.
In my days in the service, lectures were conducted every Tuesday morning. I hope that this is still the case. Everyone needs guidance to be more effective. Let us rally around our Police Service and do the best we
can for its continued growth and
James A. Blugh
Former Police Inspector