Police should move into a different gear when a head of state is threatened

Dear Editor,

President David Granger has spoken of “serious deficiencies” in the police force, as exposed by the assassination plot inquiry (SN September 9).  No reasonable person would contest that “serious deficiencies” on the part of the force did not exist in that assassination plot instance specifically, and the GPF in general.  Similarly, a shakeup has to follow from what has been revealed to this point.  Doing nothing is not an option.

Whenever reports surface, and the sources do not matter, that a head-of-state is threatened (regardless of who that head-of-state is) or is conspired against, then a different gear, a higher intensity, and greater resources are all immediately employed with unflagging zeal to get to the bottom of whatever exists, and very close to all who may be involved.  It is all hands on deck, and no assets spared; what is not available has to be found somehow.  This should not be the exception, but the norm of standards and mentalities from the top down.  Urgency prevails.  All of this is a restatement of the obvious, and how such developments are addressed elsewhere.

Clearly, according to the media reports and the astonishing disclosures from the mouths and minds of senior officials before the CoI into the alleged plot, there was a considerable degree of nonchalance, irresponsibility, and overwhelming inertia.  This was manifested at several levels and by some surprising people.  It is baffling, if not alarming.  As a quick aside, if a report about a threat to the President (or a minister or any member of parliament) is handled in this somewhat indifferent manner, then what does it say about likely police handling of the concerns and fears of the ordinary citizen when faced with related perils?  There is not much comfort in the contemplation.

Now my own earlier thinking was that some of those senior police officers had separated themselves from the pack in distinctive fashion, and were poised for elevation.  That seems to be in significant jeopardy currently and justifiably so.

For his part, the President has to ponder that if his planned remedial action is too draconian, the negative effects could be far-reaching and all the way down the line.  It could set back a police force seeking first to steady itself, and then chart a new professional and ethical course.  I envision that some hard decisions are taking shape, and that some ranking people, who I believe would have made a difference, may have to walk.  That would be unfortunate, but is neither unexpected nor inappropriate.

Quite frankly, admittedly serious deficiencies, whichever the entity, can only be remedied sometimes by meaningful shakeup that some may come to view as unnecessarily harsh.  The President has no choice.  But from all of this, he has the opportunity to challenge the lesser known to rise and deliver.  He has a clear path to push that integrity reform stamp and texture that is so acutely needed throughout the force.  There may be some truth to the saying that out of crisis comes opportunity.

Yours faithfully,

GHK Lall


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