Dear Commissioner Dottin: About those internet “rumours” of Barbados Police corruption and incompetence…

UPDATED: August 13, 2011

We’re putting this story up for discussion once again as the inability of our police force to stem the recent violence is in the news. We’ll be looking at some of the issues in a story this weekend. Meanwhile have a read of this article that lists some of the infamous past incidents involving the Royal Barbados Police Force.

UPDATED: May 31, 2011

In respect of recent statements by Attorney Andrew Pilgrim that Barbados Police continue to beat confessions out of people they suspect of committing crimes, we revisit this article from last September. For more on Mr. Pilgrim’s statements, read Barbados Bar Association President: Police beat confessions from suspects.

Original story as first published at BFP on September 9, 2010…

“Alright, Commissioner Dottin, here’s our response to your public statements about Barbados Free Press.”

Commissioner of Police Darwin Dottin climbed upon his high horse yesterday to chide Barbados Free Press, our readers and other ordinary citizens “for using the internet as a tool for rumour, gossip and to hurt people.” (Nation article here)

He spoke first generally and then specifically about our recent story Email received from dozens of BFP readers recounts horrible crime – but is it true?

Commissioner Dottin says he has a problem with BFP publicly discussing and then debunking an emailed rumour that had already been circulated to hundreds or thousands of people around the world.

Let’s be truthful here, although we will answer Commissioner Dottin, the email rumour story is not his real concern.

Dottin’s problem is that he does not like the fact that for almost five years Barbados Free Press and other websites have allowed independent citizens to hold the Royal Barbados Police Force to a higher level of public scrutiny and accountability. The police are also unhappy that blog stories of police corruption and incompetence are not allowed to fade into the past as happens all the time with the regular news media.

We’ve carried dozens of stories of corrupt and incompetent Barbados police officers assaulting journalists, taking bribes, shooting innocent bystanders, kicking in doors without search warrants, misusing their police authority, corruptly operating as private debt collectors, destroying crime scene evidence, allowing wife-beating and covering up crimes – stories that the regular media either wouldn’t touch or soon dropped “for unknown reasons”.

We first called for Commissioner Dottin to resign or be sacked on April 6, 2007 and we’ve continued over the years to highlight the sad lack of professional, principled senior leadership at the Royal Barbados Police Force.

Alright, Commissioner Dottin, here’s our response to your public statements about Barbados Free Press…

Dear Commissioner Dottin,

Re: Your statements about Barbados Free Press “email rumour” article.

To recount what happened, a rumour about a crime against a visiting family was circulated to hundreds of people via email but not by Barbados Free Press. Dozens of our readers sent copies of the email to BFP, often with the complete list of people the email had been forwarded to around the world. We saw that the email was already receiving major worldwide circulation so we made a decision to publicly confirm or deny the story it contained.

As can be seen from the published title and contents of our article, we were careful to explain that we were seeking to confirm or deny a rumour that was already in major circulation. As it turned out, the rumour was just that – an unfounded rumour – and we prominently said so when the truth became known.

After we determined that the email was a rumour, we left the article up so that the hundreds or thousands of folks who receive the email in the future will be able to instantly discover that it is a rumour. This is the same public service as performed by Snopes.com and other rumour-debunking websites.

Professionals in all disciplines know that once incorrect information gets circulating on the internet via email, the only way to defuse the potential damage is to post the rumour and the true facts on the internet and leave them there – so that’s what we did.

Do you have any other concerns about Barbados Free Press?

During your recent press conference, you alluded not only to this recent BFP story, but also to past internet “rumours” as you call them. In light of this we thought we’d mention a few of our previous articles and see if you could clarify the facts for Barbados citizens about police stories that the regular news media either wouldn’t cover or allowed to fade away unresolved.

Sir, this is your chance to specifically address anything that Barbados Free Press has ever printed about you or the RBPF (or anything else) and to speak directly to the same audience without our interference.

Commissioner Dottin, we promise that we will prominently post anything you write to us – unedited and without our comments. If you think any of our stories are inaccurate, upon your request we’ll post your response right with the story so everyone can read it. All we ask is that you send us an email from your RBPF email so we know it’s really you.

And, if there are serious errors in any of our stories, we promise we’ll make changes and publicly apologise to you, the RBPF and any officers we mentioned in the stories.

Here are some of the issues and our related stories that you might like to address. Please feel free to mention any others as well.

1. Bribery and corruption charges dropped against RBPF Sgt. Paul Vaughan (Vaughn) without explanation.

2. Barbados Police outright refusal to investigate arson, and threats of death, arson and rape against foreign investor and hotel owner Adrian Loveridge and his wife.

3. The Royal Barbados Police Force hired corrupt Florida Sheriff Ken Jenne and his associates to provide training and equipment to our police officers. This corrupt bunch got mixed up in kickbacks, fraud, tax evasion and money laundering – some of it in relation to work done for the RBPF.

4. Passersby and innocent people shot by Barbados Police officers.

5. Police Sargeant Paul Vaughan (Vaughn) collecting unpaid rent for Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock. A blank, pre-signed search warrant was used, and a woman’s vagina was searched for back-rent money.

6. Refusal of Barbados Police to investigate violent threats against witnesses in trial.

7. Failure of Barbados Police to implement a zero tolerance policy on spousal abuse, and to take spousal abuse seriously.

8. Failure of the Barbados Police to stop the Boscobel Road Toll Gang.

9. Failure of Barbados Police to uphold the law at Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary & RAMSAR protected wetlands.

10. Barbados Police are a law unto themselves in respect of wiretapping phone calls. There are no controls and no oversight by the judiciary or any independent body.

Here’s the list again with links to our stories…

1. Bribery and corruption charges dropped against Sgt. Paul Vaughan (Vaughn) without explanation.

July 3, 2009 Secret Withdrawal Of Bribery Charges Against Barbados Cop Stinks Of Corruption At The Highest Levels

June 13, 2009 What Happened To Bribery Charges Against Corrupt Barbados Police Officer – Paul Vaughn – Vaughan?

September 18, 2008  Corrupt Director Of Public Prosecutions Must Now Prosecute His Corrupt Police Friend For Accepting Bribes!!!

December 17, 2008 Was Corrupt Barbados Police Sargeant Paul Vaughan Extorting Bribes From Codrington Family’s DVD Store?

2. Barbados Police outright refusal to investigate arson, threats of death and rape against foreign investor and hotel owner Adrian Loveridge.

September 27, 2008 Threats Against Adrian Loveridge Continue – Barbados Police Continue To Do NOTHING

June 22, 2008  COVER-UP: Royal Barbados Police Force Ignores Violent Threats To Businessman

May 25, 2008  Barbados Police Continue To Cover-Up Threats Against Adrian Loveridge, Court Witnesses, Bloggers

March 22, 2008 Adrian Loveridge Again Asks For Police, Cable And Wireless To Act In Death Threats

February 29, 2008 What Happened To The Police Investigation Of Death Threats Against Adrian Loveridge?

January 9, 2008  Barbados Police Ignore Death Threats Against Hotel Owner – How Will Other Offshore Investors React?

January 2, 2008 Death Threats In Barbados: Adrian Loveridge Files Written Complaint With Police

3. The Royal Barbados Police Force hired corrupt Florida Sheriff Ken Jenne and his associates to provide training and equipment to our police officers. This corrupt bunch got mixed up in kickbacks, fraud, tax evasion and money laundering – some of it in relation to work done for the RBPF.

BFP: Florida Sheriff Scandal Has Barbados Police Connection – Questions Need Answering By Barbados Police

4. Passersby and innocent people shot by Barbados Police officers.

February 17, 2008 Barbados Police Commissioner Explains A Certain Shooting – Continues To Ignore Other Incidents

February 3, 2008 Bystander Accidentally Shot By Barbados Police – Left To Die By The Roadside

January 28, 2007 Man Apparently Shot In Back Of Head By Police As He Was Running Away. Police Say “It Was A Confrontation”

December 5, 2006 Man Released From Barbados Police Custody Later Dies – Rumours Of Bruises, Brain Damage & Burst Artery

5. Police Sargeant Paul Vaughan collecting unpaid rent for Director of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock. Blank, pre-signed search warrant used, woman’s vagina searched for back-rent money.

November 5, 2007 We Publish All The Documents: Barbados Director Of Public Prosecutions, Police Sgt Paul Vaughan And The Blank Search Warrant Scandal

Sept 24, 2007 New Blog Alleges: Barbados Director Of Public Prosecutions Charles Leacock – Ordered Police Thuggery Over His Tenant’s Unpaid Rent – Night Raid, Woman Strip Searched Over Unpaid Rent!

6. Refusal of Barbados Police to investigate violent threats against witnesses in trial.

December 20, 2007 Barbados Police In Political Cover Up – Fail To Investigate Violent Threats Against Witnesses In Chief Justice’s Land Fraud Trial

7. Failure of Barbados Police to implement a zero tolerance policy on spousal abuse, and to take spousal abuse seriously.

In 2007, Barbados Police Officers failed to enter a gated community for four days to answer a call of a wife being abused by her husband. Almost three years later your officers are still exhibiting a “couldn’t care less” attitude to spousal abuse. We’d like to know how you intend to change this attitude and performance problem.

April 4, 2007 Beat Your Wife In Barbados? You Are Protected From The Police If You Live In A Gated Community!

September 19, 2009 Barbados Police slow to act upon threats to woman. We agree that’s newsworthy.

8. Failure of the Barbados Police to stop the Boscobel Road Toll Gang.

August 23, 2010 Boscobel toll gang still extorting tourists. Barbados police helpless.

June 27, 2010 Canadian investor Bob Verdun accosted by Barbados Boscobel Toll Gang

March 25, 2010 Barbados Prime Minister emails Canadian tourist: “(Boscobel Road Toll Gang) has been investigated… I have received no other negative reports”

January 8, 2010 Barbados Police Helpless as hundreds of tourists extorted every month by Boscobel road toll gang

June 17, 2009  Boscobel Road Toll Gang Still Operating Freely In Barbados

September 16, 2008 Barbados Police Helpless In Stopping Boscobel Road Toll Gang

9. Failure of Barbados Police to uphold the law at Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary & RAMSAR protected wetlands.

August 24, 2009 Barbados Police Allow Thieves To Take Home Stolen Fish – No Charges

April 1, 2009 Barbados Advocate Covers Up Police Failure To Respond To Theft, Gunshots At Graeme Hall Nature Sanctuary

March 31, 2009 Another Reason Why Barbados Police Commissioner Dottin Should Be Fired – Police Again Fail To Answer Call For Help

10. Barbados Police are a law unto themselves in respect of wiretapping phone calls. There are no controls and no oversight by the judiciary or any independent body.

June 28, 2010 Barbados Commissioner of Police accused of illegal wiretapping

27 Comments

Filed under Barbados, Crime & Law, Ethics, Freedom Of Information, Freedom Of The Press, Human Rights, Police

27 responses to “Dear Commissioner Dottin: About those internet “rumours” of Barbados Police corruption and incompetence…

  1. John

    Great article BFP. I look forward to Com. Dottin putting the record straight. But to be safe I won’t hold my breath, blue is not a good look on me.

  2. Jinx

    There are many questions to be answered here, however i somehow doubt there will be a response. This society is reactive one NOT proactive!
    The horse is long gone ….

  3. ninemikemike

    Keep at it BFP – Dottin is an utter disgrace, and I sincerely trust he will be finally toppled by the gross misconduct allegations levelled at this pen-pushing disaster.

    Dottin seems to misunderstand his position and duties, or wilfully neglects them. Simply put, they are to uphold the laws on the statute book without fear or favour. He chooses to turn a blind eye to whatever suits him, create law by executive action, and allow rampant corruption and police violence to go unchecked. One can only hope he not actively involved in promoting them.

    He must go, and soon.

  4. Tell me Why

    Crucify me, but I ain’t care. From the time the present AG stated that the COP must go during the 2008 elections, everyone is crucifying the COP, but don’t you feel that he might be targeted for his position. This behaviour is part of our Barbadian culture, from Ministers who are fed wrong information by political hacks to even the PM who might have ministers working against the grain. We are hypocritical to one another and then we call ourselves christian minded civilians. Oh what a pile of stool.

  5. jdid

    Have you guys noticed that anytime anyone in authority in Barbados speaks about blogs they almost make bloggers sound like criminals that need to be hunted down? I dont think I’ve ever seen one positive word coming out of the higher ups in bim in regards to blogs. damn!

    I feel um is wunnah fault 🙂

  6. J

    BFP you must know very well that the DLP wants their boy to be COP because Dottin is seen as a BLP COP.

  7. passin thru

    J, Dottin proved he was the BLP’s man when he wouldn’t investigate death threats against Adrian Loveridge that MP Dr. Duguid admitted were coming from his PC at Parliament.

  8. USA Today links

    Hi free press. Letting you know that USA Today linked to this article.

    http://content.usatoday.com/topics/article/Barbados/04uq2kO7FLdV8/1

  9. The Watcher

    This man is a pompous failure.
    Go get crime solved in Barbados or at least put real effort into solving it. Your two degrees don’t impress us. You are not living up to your mandate to keep Barbados and its citizens safe. You are too inward looking and you should keep off the web if you have a problem with what’s posted there.
    That seems to be a distraction to you.
    Concentrate on what you need to concentrate on, stop trying to be a C.I.A or FBI cyber-sleuth, stop wrangling with Bertie and make Barbadians safe at home. Think outside of the box instead of the old, tow-the-line, public servant way that has kept this country enslaved to the will of a few progress-retarding “old-heads” and make us proud of our police force!
    We know distractions when we see them and you are now clearly attempting to divert attention from the issue at hand.

  10. 162

    Poor C.o.P. Dottin
    he seems/looks-like a nice and gentle man
    not the sort of Tough Guy really needed for such a post.
    He probably got promoted via seniority, nothing more.

    If I were him, I’d throw in their towel
    and go home to chill out with the grand-kids
    and laugh at the next guy who inherits the post.
    I sorry fuh he!

  11. 162

    COP Dottin gets NO help in enforcement messaging
    from the Judiciary, who now finds its hands firmly tied behind its back by the Euro-Politically-Correct
    Amnesty International among them.

    The cops catch them.
    The Judiciary tries and sentences them, according to LAW on our books.
    Alair frustrates the whole process
    and goes home to The Red House in St.John to pray to his god..reckoning he’s done a ‘decent’ day’s work in saving the multiple lives of so much Bajan garbage that really needs taking out.

    And so the tail wags the Bajan dog!

    And you guys wonder why we get scenes of mass Social Justice among the Wellington Street crowd of hi-brainz?

  12. yatinkiteasy

    Is it just me or was it a distasteful front page Nation News photo of Dottin and his assistant chief, laughing and happy at a press conference to discuss “progress” in the case of the horrific Arson and Multiple murders of those 6 girls!
    Shame on you both for being so insensitive…and stupid.

  13. Mobert

    @jdid
    September 9, 2010 at 8:31 pm Have you guys noticed that anytime anyone in authority in Barbados speaks about blogs they almost make bloggers sound like criminals that need to be hunted down
    ………….

    Scary, isn’t it? Because upsetting the status quo is not on!

    Naughty people, how dare you say what you want to!

  14. Analyzer

    To yatinkiteasy
    I thought the same thing!
    I thought they could have looked more sorrowful and serious but we don’t know what was being said at the time. Also maybe they are trying to show that all is well at the top and they are getting along now and not quibling like what was previously reported.

  15. Johnny Postle

    It makes me laugh how much high ranking officials run from the truth.

  16. bitterly disappointed

    Bullshit…you contribute opinionated diatribe and rumour mongering. BFP spreads too much misinformation and even if you do apologise the damage is already done. Just as bad as dropping a Molotov cocktail in B’town…you just don’t know what damage will be done.
    Is responsible journalism to much to ask for??
    I want news and facts and less opinion.

  17. Belcart

    The Commissioner needs to start cleaning up the police force first. Like the officer who lives in St. James and like to call at the women who are passing the street while standing naked at his window. He even used to flash an elderly lady who lived across the street. If you dare call the police for him all they do is laugh in your ear. Enuff said.

  18. David G. Brooks

    I will have to weigh in here … BFP even though I might share some of your sentiments and concerns above, you STILL have to maintain proper conduct in reporting, unless you too think that you are a law unto yourselves. For instance take your …

    4. Passersby (sic) and innocent people shot by Barbados Police officers.

    The topic “December 5, 2006 Man Released From Barbados Police Custody Later Dies – Rumours Of Bruises, Brain Damage & Burst Artery” is TOTALLY out of place under this heading, so 1 demerit there – find another heading to put it under – I know you’re going to try and argue your way out of it, but sorry.

    Notwithstanding this case above, this sort of thing happens, it may not be nice but its life, even though we all would have our different views on it.

    Take for instance, it could have been me or someone else similarly armed with a licensed firearm, or even an armed plain-clothes police detective, let’s say, that had walked into the store on Tudor Street either just before or while the robbery was under-way …

    … and due to a seen/perceived opportunity or as need (of defence) demanded, drew their weapon and fired upon the robbers, maybe killing or wounding them and therefore averting the bodily harm done to one and the fiery tragedy that claimed the lives of the six …

    … so now, as we consider this scenario, the fire never happened and the horror it created, BUT due to ‘misfortune’ one of the six or the other one wounded (who got out from the fire, as we know it) got hit by a ‘stray’ bullet or even a ricochet of a wall or something and were unfortunately killed, or even it could be someone outside of the street passing by …

    What would everyone be saying then? Of course, at first it may be thought that the armed civilian or police would be a hero, with the assumption that the unfortunate victim was probably killed by one of the robbers, but when the truth be told or the forensic data is analysed then the victim was killed by the so-called hero’s weapon. What then?

    Let me see how many idiots they have here on this blog/forum. It shall be interesting reading or maybe just silence as the reality of hits home.

  19. David G. Brooks

    Note, I am not saying that the Police Force is clean as a whistle, far from it, is my guess and perception, but the point above is something that I feel no one has really thought through properly, including the BFP, even though there is still a chance of serious blunders being covered up.

  20. David G. Brooks

    I quote now from the same CONSTITUTION OF BARBADOS that inherently calls for the death penalty …

    CHAPTER III

    PROTECTION OF FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS AND FREEDOMS OF THE INDIVIDUAL

    Protection of right to life

    12. 1. No person shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offense under the law of Barbados of which he has been convicted.

    2. A person shall not be regarded as having been deprived of his life in contravention of this section if he dies as the result of the use, to such extent and in such circumstances as re permitted by law, of such force as is reasonably justifiable –

    a. for the defence of any person from violence or for the defence of property;

    b. in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;

    c. in order lawfully to prevent the commission by that person of a criminal offense,

    or if he dies as the result of a lawful act of war.

    Of course, in such as case the various ‘collateral damage or death’ would still have to be examined and ruled upon in court or coroner’s inquest and any judgements based on common law and precedent, blah-blah.

  21. David G. Brooks

    Oh, by the way, superimpose the alternative scenario I outlived above and place it in the Central Bank, NIS Building or QEH Hospital, were even licensed firearms are not allowed, and all you have are civilian security personnel armed with … oh, right nothing because most would not be allowed into the Police Force due to their shady back-grounds or simply because of no proper training.

  22. WildyCoyte

    At least we know that not all criminals come from ghettos and blocks,some wear suits and look very decent.

  23. Sayed

    Inability of the Police force to stem the violence? You are being sarcastic right? Let’s check some facts. There are 80,000 persons since Barbados became independent who have been charged with a crime. That is a significant portion of the population.

    Time after time and all the time and every time the judiciary hands down monkey sentences, and recycles criminals through the prison system, violent repeat offenders who no longer serve a purpose in society.

    Nearly ALL of the persons committing violent crime have LONG conviction records on average of 7 or more convictions.

    Now you tell me that the POLICE can’t stop violent crime? It’s a half statement. THE POLICE cannot stop violent crime when the judiciary constantly does not enforce maximum penalties for crimes.

    One example is the man who killed the Canadian got 10 years and on appeal it was raised to 15. The man who killed Bibi Ifill got 15 years. He killed her and stuffed her in a well and claimed he knew nothing of it.

    Burglars who are charged and plead guilty to multiple counts of burglaries, robbers who plead guilty to multiple counts of robberies are sentenced to three years CONCURRENT on each charge, meaning society is only protected from them for three years.

    You claim in your article that the COP is mad at BFP for scrutinizing the police and that issues that once died quickly are now kept in the public eye forever by BFP. Well you are still useless because you keep mis-information and mis-issues in the public eye.

    Instead of focusing on the real cause, you are at the police. Then when the police play judge jury and executioner there is a problem. But the reality is we have a NON functioning judiciary. How is it that someone who breaks into a house 20 times can spend three years in prison, come back out, repeat the cycle, get caught again, break 20 more houses, get caught again, do it again in three years?

    What about the Customs Officers and guards at our ports of entry who are taking bribes to let in unknown packages containing guns? Are the police to blame for that too? Blaming the police for crime is like blaming the sanitation for garbage, they don’t make the garbage they only clean it up.

    Similarly the Police don’t make the violent crime, they do their best to clean it up, and then the landfill (judiciary) puts the garbage back on the street again for the sanitation/police to go and deal with it again.

    If you want results, put pressure on parliament to change laws giving the judiciary mandatory orders to pass sentences that will jail violent repeat offenders for life. Laws that will help police locate, identify and prosecute the organizers of crime such as the gang leaders who hands are not dirty and who can never be prosecuted with the absence of conspiracy charges.

    How many Immigration officers selling Barbados passports and work permit stamps do you see prosecuted? At least the Police Force gets rid of the ones among them giving trouble, when was the last time you saw Immigration get rid of one of their own, all the corruption in customs, when did Customs get rid of their own? When Immigration and Customs wrong you, who do you complain to? They do not have a complaints department at all, at least the Police have one.

    Police officers who are found doing unlawful acts are charged and tried before the court, if they get off in the court it is a matter again for the judiciary.

    You need to wake up and hop off your high horse about the police, because otherwise nothing will change if you keep beating the wrong child with the stick.

  24. rasta man

    What about the corruption in the other Govt Departments?

  25. AVAT

    This is not directly about the corruption in the Barbados Police Force. From the time I know the BPF, there has always been corruption. For the most part, 99.99% of all the Barbados Police Force should be in prison themselves. The real criminals are not in the prison in Barbados but are those who suppose to uphold the law.
    There is no justice in Barbados. The lawyers that suppose to give their clients the best representation are more criminal that the clients they suppose to serve. The entire legal system in Barbados need an overhaul. Whoever is in charge should fire all the police officer, get rid of all those wicked thefting lawyers, and all the prison workers who rape, molest, sodemize and use those inmates for their own sick pleasures.

    Barbadians have graduated from slavery to highly educated criminals. The poor people of Barbados are just hurting because their own people are demons in high places! Who knew when the slave masters brought our forefathers over with chains on their necks that several years later, the same chains remains around the necks of those who cannot help themselves but look to the professional criminals: lawyers and all people of the judicial circle to help them but instead they are being abuse.

    Barbados should be taken over by another country and hopefully true justice can accord to help with the ills perpetrated on the poor.

    What a shame!

  26. Pingback: Zetas Drug Gang agrees with Barbados Police Commissioner: Social media, blogs, are bad! | Barbados Free Press

  27. Pingback: Amnesty International says Barbados police torture prisoners | Barbados Free Press