Our Readers' Opinions
October 14, 2005
Harry had potential to be successful Commissioner

EDITOR: I am still of the opinion that Mr. William Harry had the potential to have been the most successful commissioner the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force had ever seen. But unfortunately, his tenure administrating the affairs of the Police Force was blighted by many things which hindered his ability to perform and execute his plans.

What were some of the obstacles that hindered Mr. William Harry’s ability to progress in his role as Commissioner of Police?{{more}}

• There is the fact that Mr. Harry did not openly declare his political affiliation. In a politically charged country like St. Vincent, not declaring your political affiliation can be considered professional suicide.

• Too many of the senior officers in the Police Force were promised the post of Commissioner. All of them resented Mr. Harry for being appointed to the post and openly showed their resentment in and out of his presence.

• He was bombarded by an opposition mouthpiece, who was waiting and preying on anything related to the Police Force to enhance the ratings of his programme.

• He was faced with a government which really did not want him to be Commissioner under their administration. But his appointment was the seemingly politically correct thing to do. This was the most influential factor in my opinion.

The ULP government and their agents within the Police Force did all they could to hinder all ideas, plans, and programmes the then commissioner put in place for the good and benefit of the Police Force, the men and women in its ranks and the nation as a whole.

Through the tremendous hardships which marred Mr. Harry’s tenure as Commissioner, he acted as a man with class should act. I have heard many stories and never one day did I hear that Mr. William Harry acted in any manner that could have brought dishonor to himself or the office of commissioner. Considering the conditions under which he was asked to function, that is a tremendous accomplishment. Congratulations, Commissioner Harry, your character has withstood the test.

The appointment of Keith Miller to the post of Commissioner of Police was no surprise to me. In 2002 when the Prime Minister spoke to the general membership of the Police Force at the Old Montrose Police Station, he expressed his admiration for the then Station Sergeant Keith Miller and declared that Miller would be Commissioner.

Let me congratulate Mr. Miller on his appointment to the post of Commissioner of Police. I have no doubt about Mr. Miller’s, Pompey’s, Robin’s, Christopher’s or James’ ability to administer the affairs of the Force.

Let me play Devil’s Advocate and ask a few questions.

• Mr. Pompey was appointed Assistant Commissioner of Police in 2004. He was placed in a position to understudy the out-going Deputy Commissioner of Police and the Commissioner of Police, wouldn’t it have made better sense to maintain the administrative continuity by appointing Mr. Pompey to the post of Commissioner, giving Mr. Miller an opportunity to learn the ropes as it relates to the running of the Force?

• How are the senior ranks (especially those who were promised the post of Commissioner of Police once the ULP was elected to government) going to react to the elevation of two of their juniors to the two most senior ranks in the Police Force?

• Taking into consideration that all of the high profile positions in Government, Statutory Corporations, etc appear to be given to people who have been loyal to the Comrade in one way or the other as a repayment for their loyalty or favor, what favour(s) did Commissioner Miller perform or was performing for the Comrade that he should hold such a sense of obligation to the newly appointed Commissioner, that he would recant on the promises he made to senior members of the Police Force and bypass them yet again and appoint two juniors (in rank) to the two highest posts in the institution?

I can imagine the first meeting the Prime Minister had with the now Commissioner Miller, to inform him of his plans to appoint him to the post of Commissioner of Police, to govern over the affairs of that institution. My mind’s ear can hear as the Prime Minister tells Mr. Miller of his plans to promote him, and how much trouble he got from the senior ranks of the Police Force and members of his cabinet, of how many of them thought he was too young, inexperienced etc. All this is in an effort to show the new commissioner how indebted he is to him for the prestigious position he now holds.

I am of the opinion that the treatment of Commissioner Harry as Commissioner marked the setting of a new standard that was encouraged by the head of government. Habits are easier to form than to break. Well, Keith Miller, good luck in your new position, you will need it.

Allan Palmer