A Dangerous Partisan Police Department
Lately a series of disturbing events and developments have occurred in Dominica involving the Police and National Security. There was the politician who is responsible for the police making threats against peaceful demonstrators early in the year. There were the peaceful protests in the coastal faming and fishing community of Salisbury ('Bawe') by hard working farmer demanding proper access to their farmlands.
Compounding the inept leadership of the police brass and alleged political involvement and poor decision-making by of the current Chief with a precipitous decline in the economic wellbeing of Dominicans creates a perfect storm. Given the fact that history tends to be cyclical, the 64 million dollar question is: will the events of May 29, 1979 which also most destroyed our island repeat itself?
Given all the dynamics within the once highly respected police department, it is very clear that the force is being used as a political football. Some say that Police Headquarters is the 22nd political constituency represented by the Chief of Police. The events of late speak volumes to a force that is in complete disarray. Do all these events represent a confusing, and detrimental politicization of the Dominican Police Department? One can only wonder about the breakdown of morale within the lower ranks.
Some former police chiefs held dear to the belief that the force must avoid the appearance, impression and perception that it is playing politics. These former commanders viewed the noble task of law enforcement through (not political) unbiased law enforcement lens. They also realized that playing politics is like riding a tiger, which would eventually devour them. Indeed, that tiger has devoured some past commissioners and sadly, maybe the department itself. Does the current chief realizes or knows that?
The behaviors and actions of late of some police commanders (not all) have led the country to question some of the ethics and partisan nature of the force. This has brought degeneracy to the police force as a cornerstone institution in the society.
It is debatable about which Prime Minister is responsible for fostering the deep-seated partisan politicking of the force or when it actually started. What is clear is that all our local heads of state need to share the blame but according to all reports. But allegedly, this current PM has done much to bring this force to its knees more than any of his predecessors.
Politicians cannot run police departments and their involvement only creates more confusion problems. If the frightening trend of the politicization of the force continues, it will undoubtedly have far-reaching and detrimental consequences. The real losers will not be the politicians ('who come and go with their big money, mansions, large bank accounts and Real Estate) but the police, and ultimately Dominica. My only advice to Dominican parents today is; don't let your sons and daughters grow up to be members of this police force until it is reformed.
Some two decades ago the Dominica Defense Force (DDF) was not a neutral militia and history has recorded it shamefully as the military wing of Patrick John's Labour Government. DDF's high command acted on party wishes and conducted itself in an inept, irresponsible and unprofessional manner. This ultimately contributed to their demise and to the fall of John's government.
The police commissioner's and country's fate could be a repeat of this episode if the high command is playing to the whims and interests of the party which is in power and not necessarily to the well-being and security of the country.
The low morale, political promotions and decisions that have affected the police force points to real evidence that a dangerous, infectious and poisonous politicization of the police force has occurred while this PM has been in office. One only hopes that further destruction and dismay of the force and our young nation do not occur while he is still in office.
Let's continue to pray for our beloved island home of Dominica for the good Lord knows that it needs all the prayers it can get at this time.