The news making the rounds that Commissioner Darwin Dottin is destined to be transferred to a government department to the role of a Permanent Secretary has raised some concern for BU. It is no secret Dottin is not a favourite of the current administration. The tension between his long time Deputy Bertie Hinds is also well known. Unfortunately, Barbados society is not inclined to disrupt the long held perception that the Royal Barbados Police Force is the best in the Caribbean and therefore does not warrant criticism. Such a view explains why traditional media is always willing to give the police a pass more oft than not.
Perish the thought Barbados may soon have to recruit a foreign Commissioner because local politics and growing strife within the hierarchy of the RBPF would prevent a local from holding the position. A look at T&T, Jamaica, St. Lucia and a few others give Barbadians a view of what is possible if we continue on the current path.
Recent legal action take by 15 police officers who in an unprecedented action challenged their omission from this year’s promotions should have sent warning bells to Barbadians. Also Commissioner Dottin’s revelation that the Police Service Commission (PSC) has given the junior rank an audience to air concerns and at the same time refused his request to do similarly. To aggravate the matter we have the opposition political party throwing its full support behind Dottin by asking him to speak out about the problems of the force at the same time asking for the members of the PSC to resign. It has been stated on BU and elsewhere, some issues are best left non partisan.
Of equal concern are the accusations which have been levelled at the Commissioner regarding the matter of wiretapping. Barbadians were alerted to the possibility of wiretapping when Anderson Bowen, a senior police officer, accused the Commissioner of wiretapping his telephone. The fact that Bowen was reinstated to his job after a lengthy suspension has left unanswered questions in the minds of many. BU is aware that as part of the security for CWC2007 the local police force was equipped to perform ‘sensitive’ tasks. What has become of the equipment we don’t know although the Commissioner was quoted recently in the news that the Blimp used for CWC2007 requires repairs.
The belief in some quarters that the police has overstepped its authority by commissioning ‘eavesdrops’ on political targets and other prominent individuals merits the attention of Barbadians. We accept that the police has its job to do within the bounds of national security but what is the boundary?