Special comment by Barbados Nation on sacking of Top Cop

(Barbados Nation) NO EVENT in recent memory has plunged a tranquil, if anxious, Barbados into a greater state of shock and dismay than the action taken on Monday by the Police Service Commission (PSC) to retire Police Commissioner Darwin Dottin with a day’s notice.

It is the type of humiliating treatment meted out to junior employees caught in the act of blatant theft, naked deception or treachery.

Both the dismissal itself and the manner in which it was effected are cause for concern among right-thinking citizens.

It is unprecedented in the Caribbean for the head of any constabulary, even in the most trying of times and at the height of criminal activity, to be so summarily dismissed with nary a word from any official of Government, either voluntarily or responsively.

Both Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, facing mounting crime issues and rampant corruption within the ranks of their forces, have effected changes to the leadership through civil and transparent measures, publicly explained in a timely manner.

Not so here, coming mere days after the Royal Barbados Police Force (RBPF) – and by implication the Police Chief – was praised for its work in crime prevention by both the Prime Minister and the Attorney General.

Not so in our vaunted democracy.

Barbadians are left to ponder what could have transpired recently that would have precipitated such severe action and led to the decision not to share the important information with a public that deserves first-hand enlightment on matters of this sort.

This treatment is not an assault on Dottin as much as it is on the office of Commissioner of Police which is placed 27th in the Table of Precedence of Barbados, in line with the Chief of Staff of the Barbados Defence Force.

Dottin’s dismissal is said to be “in the public interest”. This is a generalization which may be fair in law but is certainly not expedient or edifying in the present challenging conditions. It leaves a gaping hole for all types of guesses and insinuations, including some of the most reckless and dangerous, risking the preservation of safety and respect for law and authority at a fragile time in our present economic circumstances.

It was natural for Barbadians to expect that in the interest of the good governance to which we are committed, the administration would have spoken directly to a country whose spirit has been much dampened by prolonged economic hardship and consequently not in any mood for an indifferent posture by a Government already widely accused of inertia.

We will not tolerate any offhanded dismissal of the public’s right to know about matters as crucial as this. We urge others to let their protestations be known, for as Edmund Burke wisely warned, evil prevails when good men fail to act.

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