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Police Commissioner given option: secondment or retirement

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L-Prime Minister Gaston Browne with now-suspended Commissioner of Police, Wendel Robinson.

 October 24, 2019 

“I believe the matter would be better resolved if he would agree to be transferred into a different position,” said Prime Minister Gaston Browne as he offered, what he thought to be an amicable solution to the ongoing impasse between suspended Commissioner of Police, Wendel Robinson, and the Police Service Commission (PSC).

The Prime Minister indicated, however, that if Robinson, “continues to tie up the Commission in court and to prevent the type of continuity that is required in the police force, then maybe he’ll have to be retired in the public interest.”

Browne said his offer for secondment would include what amounts to, “the equivalent or close to the equivalent of being commissioner in terms of status and pay.”

The embattled commissioner was first suspended a year and a half ago on 5 April, 2018. After winning his appeal in court one week later, he was hit with another suspension letter that same day and was awaiting hearing on the matter of the second suspension in February of 2020.

“I would want to encourage Mr. Robinson,” said Browne, “to enter into negotiations [with the Police Service Commission] to see how we could resolve this issue amicably in the interest of the country.”

The PSC had sent Commissioner Robinson a letter dated 15 October, 2019 indicating its intent to fire him at a meeting that was to include the commissioner and his representatives this Friday 25 October, 2019. The letter signed by PSC Chairman, Kelvin John Esq., cited the reasons for termination as being that which is “in the public interest,” and what they describe as “a very fractious relationship with the minister responsible for the police.”

The prime minster said that the current impasse has the police force in an unmoving “state of flux.”

“It is not fair,” Browne said, “to the individual [Atlee Rodney] who has been acting for about two years now… that can’t be fair. I don’t see that as a practical state to continue.

“Based on what would have happened in the past, even if he’s vindicated, I don’t know that he could go back in the position of commissioner.”

Robinson’s initial suspension came after policemen under his charge accused the top cop of sexual harassment back in April of last year.

“Clearly,” Prime Minister Browne said of Robinson should he return, “you’re going to have issues in terms of . . . morale within the police force.”

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