Freedom Of The Press In Deep Trouble In Barbados
Yet again more working journalists have been man-handled and arrested by Barbados police thugs. The crime this time was reporting on a police officer who is charged with dealing drugs. (Nation News stories here, here and here)
Commissioner Dottin has once again promised to have some sort of investigation or inquiry into the incident – the same as he always promises whenever the police shoot an unarmed citizen in the back of the head or beat up working reporters. Of course, there never is any investigation or explanation by Dottin or the Royal Barbados Police Force because the police are above the law in Barbados. They answer to no one, not even to the politicians and certainly not to concerned citizens or the victims of police abuse. Dottin always says he will “Look into it” whenever an unarmed civilian is shot or a reporter is roughed up – but then nothing happens and the years go by.
There is no civilian oversight of police officers in Barbados. There is no working complaints board and no independent agency to investigate police wrongdoing. If citizens want to charge a police officer with an offense, that presents another whole layer of impossible. Our Director of Public Prosecutions is part of the problem as he hires corrupt police officers to collect personal debts owed to him.
Why Should We Believe Commissioner Dottin? He Has Lied To Us Many Times!
Dottin said he’d “look into it.”
Sure. Almost 19 months have gone by and Dottin is still “looking into it” just like he’s looking into the case of 17 year old Kim Joseph – a woman who was “accidentally” shot in the head by police nine years ago. Just like he’s looking into the case of Stephan Griffith – an unarmed man who was shot in the back of the head by police in January 2007 while riding his bicycle. Just like he’s looking into the case of Glenroy Brathwaite who was most likely beaten to death by officers while in police custody in December 2006.
Are we detecting a pattern here?
We know that Barbados police are paid a fraction of what is paid to professional police officers in many other Caribbean nations. We know that they are poorly trained because of lack of funding, and understrength because of a shortage of qualified recruits. The last government’s solution to the problem was not to pay the police a living wage, but to lower the hiring standards!
All that is true, but in the end the police must be professionals and adhere to the rule of law whether they believe they are being paid enough or not.
And that makes it is a top-down leadership problem with the responsibility falling upon Commissioner Dottin – who has failed miserably to make the police into a professional law enforcement organisation where officers adhere to the rule of law and believe themselves to be guardians of a sacred trust to protect society.
Commissioner Dottin has shown time and time again that he is incapable of controlling his officers, let alone making the Royal Barbados Police Force into a professional law enforcement organisation that we can all be proud of.
Dottin should resign or be sacked.