Suspicious Death Brings World Attention Upon Royal Barbados Police Force

Was I’Akobi Tacuma Maloney Murdered By Police?

I'Akobi Tacuma Maloney

I'Akobi Tacuma Maloney

Harvard Law School’s prestigious Global Voices project is now covering the extremely suspicious death of I’Akobi Tacuma Maloney while in the custody of Barbados police officers – but the coverage is expanding towards larger questions of ongoing human rights abuses and professional incompetence by the island’s front line law enforcement organisation. (Global Voices also translated their article into French – link here)

The police say that 23-year-old Maloney deliberately jumped to his death for no apparent reason while in the company of officers, but that account is so directly at odds with physical evidence from the scene that no reasonable person could believe that the police are telling the truth. (See BFP’s articles here and here)

Although the Rastafarian community is upset (and rightly so) and is claiming that Maloney’s death is an example of systemic RBPF prejudice against their religion, the core issue is much larger than that.

While the circumstances of Maloney’s death would be the subject of a public inquest in any truly democratic country, Barbados citizens know that they are unlikely to see an inquiry because, quite simply, Barbados does not do public inquests into anything. And especially where a public inquest would reflect badly upon the island’s carefully cultivated facade of being a respectable democracy and a safe and stable destination for tourism and offshore investment.

Barbados Police: The Reasons Behind The Downward Spiral

Successive Barbados governments have failed to rein in a police force that is increasingly seen as unaccountable, corrupt and out of control. Even citizens who would tolerate human rights abuses to keep the island safe for tourists and investors have realized that the lack of police professionalism and accountability is now deeply impacting the quality of daily life and the international image of Barbados.

A combination of factors has caused the downward spiral of what used to be seen as one of the Caribbean’s premier policing organisations. Commissioner Dottin and other senior management must shoulder much of the blame, but so too must members of the past Arthur-Mottley BLP Government: who chronically underfunded law enforcement, failed to provide effective civilian oversight and even used the police and other public agencies as tools to achieve personal wealth and to target political and business rivals.

Chief Justice David Simmons - Political Hack

Chief Justice David Simmons - Political Hack

It can truly be said that the Royal Barbados Police Force is in many ways a victim of our country’s most senior political leaders who view the Rule of Law as a matter of personal convenience. Certainly the defining public moment in this disrespect for rule of law was the unethical appointment of Attorney General David Simmons as Chief Justice by the Arthur – Mottley BLP government.

With the appointment of Attorney General David Simmons as Chief Justice, the separation of powers between the government, the police and the justice system ceased to exist on a practical basis in Barbados. The normal checks and balances that controlled abuses and limited individual power simply disappeared.

The end result of this abuse of the system was that the police, as individuals and as an organisation, followed the government’s example and decided that they too were above the rule of law.

A Pattern Of Human Rights Abuse By Royal Barbados Police Force

The death of I’Akobi Tacuma Maloney is on a certain level only the latest public evidence that policing and the rule of law are in deep trouble in Barbados.

In Barbados, the police can shoot an innocent, unarmed man in the BACK of the head – and there will be no public examination or questions. In Barbados, criminal charges regularly disappear from the courts without any public questions or outrage. In Barbados, the elites in gated communities can beat their wives without fear that the police will even answer a woman’s call for help. In Barbados, the justice system cannot even bring a child rapist to trial in ten years if the accused has connections.

The death of I’Akobi Tacuma Maloney is a tragedy for a young man and his family and friends, but I’Akobi’s death is also a symptom of a disease that threatens the very foundation of our society – a disease of corruption that is now deeply embedded in our culture. Expect more deaths and abuses until the rule of law is restored in Barbados.

Coroner’s Inquests Can Take 25 Years In Barbados – Legalities Not A Priority With Successive Governments

Nation News Finally Discovers That Barbados Police Don’t Give A Damn About Rule Of Law

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44 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Corruption, Crime & Law, Culture & Race Issues, Ethics, Human Rights, Police, Political Corruption, Politics, Politics & Corruption, Religion

44 responses to “Suspicious Death Brings World Attention Upon Royal Barbados Police Force

  1. Anon

    Well said, BFP.

    Misguided people like to remark that wrong doing in the Royal Barbados Police Force is done only by “a few bad eggs”, but nothing could be further from truth. Corruption and wrong doing is the order of the day in The Royal Barbados Police.

    It goes back decades, Whittaker was a Policeman well known in the Police Force for receiving stolen property, criminals dropped off packages at Police stations for him. Yet that did not prevent him from retiring an Asst. Commisioner of the Royal Barbados Police force, and on top of that he was the person in the Royal Barbados Police Force who was responsible for “discipline”. A Police criminal. If my memory serves me well he was elevated by Orville Durant. Now what is that saying?

    Why only a few cases of wrong doing escape the censorship net is the fact the cases are so egregious and the media are forced to carry them. But collusion over the years between the News media and the Police has kept most of the corruption secret.

  2. passin thru

    Sad but true. Thankyou BFP.

  3. Anony

    A lot of good cops say they are scared to speak out against the bad ones for fear of their lives and their families.

  4. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Barbados: Symptom of a Greater Malaise

  5. Coincidentally, my current post on Keltruth is on the “Barbados and Eastern Caribbean 2008 Crime & Safety Report”

    I quoted the content that relates directly to the Barbadian police force.

    There are a few things there that all Bajans need to know!

  6. J

    BFP says ” Even citizens who would tolerate human rights abuses to keep the island safe for tourists and investors”

    But the truth is that if Barbados is not safe for all Barbadians than it is NOT safe for tourists and investors either.

    And we fool ourselves if we think that the tourists and investors are not taking note.

    Th pressure has to be kept on the police so that for the first time in this generation they will surrender one of their own and that he or she will face a jury of peers and that justice will be done.

    But it won’t happen unless continuous pressure is kept on the police.

  7. J

    We must provide far better training for our police and we must pay them better.

    In the 21st century 6 months at police training school is woefully inedequate.

    It is time that either Barbados Community College or the University of the West Indies create a criminal justice course at the associate’s or bachelor’s degree level.

    This course should then be a requirement for entering police training school, along with the other requirements of no criminal record and good physical health, and good references from those who know the applicants well.

    Not of course that this will guanantee good policing or justice.

    Serbia has just surrendered to the International Criminal Court at court at the Hague a well educated physician/criminal leader.

    Eternal vigilance is the only way to guarantee justice.

    We must not close our eyes (nor our mouths). We cannot.

    There is good reason why God cannot sleep.

  8. Pat

    Anony:

    Too true. Several have already lost their lives and wives have had to leave the island. Think of the undercover drug cops who died under mysterious circumstances just as they were about to make arrests. All from the inside.

  9. The most corrupt are at the top of the organization. Over the years, there has been a litany of corrupt officers who have been linked to politicians. Can you remember those who were involved in the Pele case?
    One reached the rank of Deputy Commissioner even after a commission recommended that he was not fit to be a police officer after the enquiry. Another reached the rank of Senior Superentendent. Yet another reached the rank of Inspector while the constable in the case was thrown to the wolves.
    Then there is the case of Matterson who was allowed to leave the island. Then there is the case where Mia Mottley as Attorney General gave instructions to move the vendors stalls from Cheapside. The superentendent in charge of the Bridgetown Division and his men moved the stalls at 2 a.m in the morning and then Mia Mottley went on air and denied Knowledge.

  10. JC

    I watched this youth’s mother today at the walk and I said “Sis my condolences”. Her response was to tell me that she dont know why they did it and she would just like closure!

    This mother, sisteren, bajan, proud daughter of the soil has been burdened with an INJUSTICE of the highest order this is total corruption I dont like this at all. That lady does not know her head from her toe!

    She needs some closure to this nasty episode and SOON!

    does she have to wait until the ten years like the young lady
    His mother is at a lost! When will justice be acquired in Barbados!

  11. ESTEBAN AGOSTO REID

    Sincere condolences to family, friends and the Rastafarian community. Most definitely, the death of Mr. I’Akobi Tacuma Maloney and the law enforcement authorities explanation is indeed questionable and doubtful.Hence , an atmosphere of suspicion and dubiousness has materialized.Indeed, the unvarnished truth couched within the context of the rule of law is certainly required to alleviate the rising stench of putrefaction.

  12. Bimbro

    Another blisteringly, correct aritcle, BFP!! Keep hammering and harassing the bastards!!!!

  13. Ex-FBI

    I have been following this and something just don’t add up, Barbados & RBPF the eyes of the world are on you.

  14. crossroads

    This sad situiation brings to mind the murder of a the cruise ship passenger in Aruba. The eyes of the world are watching and it can quickly affect this island in more ways than we can imagine. A land without law and order is doomed.

  15. ru4real

    The brutal murder of the British Dr in Antigua whilst on honeymoom will give tourists to the Carribean cause to think before they book their next holiday in the sun.
    Crime in the Carribean in rising.

    Police brutality does nothing for a countries image either the death of this man is possibily just the tip of the iceberg.

  16. ru4real

    Moderation again?

  17. Gilly

    Hang on, not so fast people. In the case of I’Akobi Tacuma Maloney, the RBPF is still afforded the right of innocence until found guilty. While they are some irregularities in the different accounts but it should be tried in the court not the media or internet.

    Yes they have their flaws but:

    1. BFP, if somebody brek in your house you gine still be happy to see them show up.

    2. There are some instances where I wish police had more power… I was 14 when a fella rob me at knifepoint in town, in broad daylight walking near Queens park on a Saturday morning. I run down to Central and they immediately put me in a squad car and find de man. Wunna tell me he ain’t deserve blows?

    3. When y’all jumping on Monday and a fight brek out and bottles flying, who ain’t glad to see the grey, black and red?

    The larger issue is one the government should be addressing. They should mandate/legislate/implement an independent internal review board for the police force and not leave it up to the Force themselves.

  18. Bloggers and their audiences are welcomed to sign the petition in addition to other forms of support. Stay informed on this pressing case – the Ras Tacuma case, by visiting http://icarbarbados.org/tacuma

  19. Sorry about the rendering of the above link – please use this one instead – http://icarbarbados.org/tacuma – sorry for any inconvenience caused…

  20. ru4real

    BFP please release my post.

  21. BUSTED!

    One morning I carried some tourists out to Gay’s Cove
    or “Cove Bay” as Bajans like to refer to it.
    Checkin de scenery, yuh know?

    Got talkin wid a buncha v.local yutes out dey..they had fresh lobsters in hand and de tourisses wuz curious,etc.

    One yute went in his pocket for something and pulled out a WAD of Grantleys.. (Chaawww!)
    I put 2 and 2 together and came up with 22,
    realized this local yute man was..ummm. dealing in ummm..importation… at an extraordinarily-convenient location(ever bin out dey at night??)

    Conversation got carried around to herb en ting, grins happened, we all agreed,etc..
    I left the area quite convinced of the source of the abovementioned wad of G’s!
    ______________________
    Now how does this all tie in to the case in question?
    1. There is probably no finer importation point on the island.
    It’s the one desolate place with few house around to phone-in to Narks and rat on your boat approaching.
    2. If I know that, the local Narks know it 3 x as well as I do!
    3. A RASTAman was out dey..AT NIGHT!
    Oh sure it’s his democratic right to be out dey, at night, but ..ummm..it lookin kinda funny?
    4. Was he out dey to finish his graduate studies?
    or to help finance dem.

    2 and 2 mek 22 – not 4.

    _____________________
    DeKops know whuh gyne on.
    DeMan didn’t pay his…ummm.. “taxes” – very unfortunate for all involved
    but what de RH was he doing out dey at night?
    when de Kops was checking (alerted for a good reason?)

    R U thinking what I’m thinking?

  22. J

    He was out there in the DAY time

  23. Tony Hall

    I see there is a lot of emotion regarding this issue. I sympathise with the mother because it is not easy to deal with the loss of a child but I urge people to let the investigation by ASP Harvey be completed. This will then go to the AG’s office who will make a determination. Freundel Stuart is an honourable man. He will make the correct decision.

  24. reality check

    “This will then go to the AG’s office who will make a determination. Freundel Stuart is an honourable man. He will make the correct decision.”

    This may be, but the process is painfully slow and it is critical that an independent review board with teeth be in place.

    The whole point of a Ministerial code, ITAL and checks and balances, is to the avoid the concentration of power in the hands of a few people who so far have been easily corrupted.

    Regular reports on the status of an investigation need to be released by the AG and other departments assuming something is actually being done and not merely delayed, ad infinitum.

    Thompson, like the last group of politicians, is not communicating with his electorate and we are not talking about “spin” but real progress on important issues.
    .

  25. Maat

    Perhaps the constituency councils could be used to investigate or at least initiate investigations into police behaviour in their communities. This can include slow response, allegations of inappropriate force etc.
    To protect and Serve

    Peace

  26. J

    On June 17th 2008 in Barbados the sun set at 6:26 p.m. And full darkness would have occured about 15 minutes later that is at about 6:42 p.m.

    People on this blog are already asking what I’Akobi doing at Cove Bay at night.

    Please note that he was at Cove Bay in BROAD DAYLIGHT, at a time of day when children were still walking home from school. IT WAS NOT NIGHTTIME.

    The police in their press release (and I believe that those are generally in writing) stated that they were called at 5:30 p.m. that is 54 minutes BEFORE sunset.

    I am posting this now so that several months from now when the sun will indeed be setting at 5:30 p.m. people will remember that in June the sun sets about 6:30 p.m.

    Not even the police can change the time of sunrise and sunset.

    Check this website for sunrise/sunset worldwide:

    http://www.timeanddate.com

  27. BUSTED!

    “The police in their press release (and I believe that those are generally in writing) stated that they were called at 5:30 p.m. that is 54 minutes BEFORE sunset.”

    Okay, I accept that.

    The Police were called at 5:30
    They arrived on the scene at what time?

    ———————–
    Preparations were being made for a night drop?
    Early? as soon as dark fall?
    rather than waiting til the more suspicious times?
    Like after midnight?

    I’m not accusing anyone of anything..it just seems awfully suspicious all how I look at it, from all sides!

    Usually when Dah Kinda Cop get involved in something coming on to dark as it transpires
    at a Prime Location shall we say
    there’s more than just smoke?
    maybe some fire too?

    Just glad I wasn’t there
    but then what the hell would I be doing ‘There’
    at that time of day -approaching night!!?

    I do hope this gets all straightened out, but I wouldn’t waste 25 cents betting on it.

  28. J

    Dear Busted:

    If the police were called for “suspected drug drop” 54 minutes before sunset and arrived there at or about nightfall I’d have to question the competency of the RBPF. Do you want me to do that as well Busted?

    I belive that the RBPF is a highly competent organization. I am not too sure what you believe.

    I’ve gone to probably every beach in Barbados at all times of the day and many times at night. Some of us like to watch the sunsets. The beautiful sunsets are not just for tourists you know.

    J never been a smoker not of cigarettes, nor of marijuana, nor of cocaine. J has NEVER consumed an illegal substance. J has never posessed nor sold nor trafficked an illegal substance.

    But J insists on the RIGHT to enjoy these fields and hills (and beaches and cliffs) beyond recall.

    This is J’s BIRTHRIGHT. It is absolute. J will never ask permission to stare at the sea or the sunrise or the sunset.

    If you wish I can show you the banana patch under which J’s navel string is buried.

  29. John

    All unnatural deaths need to be treated in the same way as that of Bob Woolmer.

    They need to be high profile.

    We owe it to each other, and ourselves to treat life as precious and pursue the tiniest detail to find an explanation as to what could have happened, even to the point of calling in outside help if necessary.

  30. ru4real

    If there are only Police officers as witnesses to this the truth will probably never be known.

  31. ru4real

    Why are you moderating my posts?

  32. kolijrebel

    This article struck a cord with me because a few years ago i was a teenager who needed help from a father who was dementedly abusing my mother, during which at one point he pulled a knife, my mother and i, 17 at the time, both called the police for help. the police dained to show up several hours later. my father who worked closely with police as a civil servant, knew the officers and proceeded to take a swing at my mother right in front of them, they took him away for what seemed like a drive and brought him back about an hour or two later. my mother fled the next day in fear for her life.

  33. Bimbro

    Hi BFP, hope u have n’t overlooked my post?!!

  34. Pingback: Thousands Of News Outlets Worldwide Mention Barbados Free Press, Credit Our Tiny Snake Story - Associated Press, CNN, Newsweek, NBC News, New York Times… « Barbados Free Press

  35. 8.1

    Does anyone know why this young man resigned from a well paid job on the day he died? Why he went to the Cove Bay?

  36. Pingback: Barbados Police Shoot Innocent Woman In Head - No Settlement, No Inquiry In 9 Years « Barbados Free Press

  37. Pingback: Harvard Law School’s Global Voices Translates I’Akobi Tacuma Maloney Articles For Major Worldwide Audience « Barbados Free Press

  38. MAURICE

    THE RIGHTS OF ACCUSED ARE OFTEN VIOLATED BY OFFICER OF THE LAW. AND IT IS KNOWN ONLY CONFESSION POLICE HAS AGAINST THE ACCUSED.

  39. ru4real

    What are the Police hiding ?
    Why has the family been treated in such an arbitrary way?
    Something not right here.

  40. Pingback: » Suspicious Activity Reports (SARS) - Is the Barbados Government Ignoring Them? Keltruth Corp.: News Blog of Keltruth Corp. - Miami, Florida, USA.

  41. Getting BYE

    This case is disturbing….yet any man should be deemed innocent until proven otherwise. Problem in BIM is the RBPF manipulate, discard, lose, hideway evidence on a regular basis.

    What is even more disturbing is how many more cases such as these have gone on before without even as much as an inquiry… or the brutality has been passed off by the RBPF to another party. I wonder if the commissioner knows what those right under him in command engage in and authorize.

    I feel terrible for people in BIM. No one else to call and you don’t know what will be the outcome when you do call…. 😦

    Yet who wants to be the first to stand up… considering the fear of retaliation by the RBPF.

  42. I remember, some years ago, hearing a police officer, telling a persons, how they were assigned to watch for a drug drop, somewhere in the Brighton area.

    They were waiting, watching when the call came through from the control, to move further along as that is where the drop was expected.

    Lo and behold, the drop came at the original point and they missed it.

    I heard it with my own ears, stated by a police officer.

    That was some twenty plus years ago.

  43. Pingback: I’Akobi Maloney Inquest Verdict On Friday, April 24, 2009 - Coroner’s Court, Bridgetown Barbados « Barbados Free Press