Cabinet concerned about police force

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The Cabinet said it is concerned about the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda, but, it must allow the Police Service Commission to carry out its mandate.
Melford Nicholas in a post-Cabinet briefing was responding to questions about the action of the PSC which acted immediately to suspend embattled Commissioner of Police Wendel Robinson after the court ruled late last month, he should be reinstated and that his April 5 suspension was unlawful.
“The commission has its legal obligations and these are uncomfortable areas having to deal with these types of issues on matters of law, on matters of discipline in the force. Yes, the government has some concerns about the whole morality in the force and what must happen, but, I think that there is a process that is being engaged and the court has made a determination as to the prior action of the PSC and they have done, in a matter of few moments, done a redress,” Nicholas said.
The telecommunications minister stated that Attorney General Steadroy Benjamin reported on the deliberations of the PSC, as reported to
him, but added that the government has decided not to intervene in the ongoing process.
“Persons are indicating that perhaps it is a contempt of court, again, that is a matter for legal determination for persons who are so affected and may want to pursue. It is a matter for the courts to deliberate on,” he said.
The top cop was suspended for a second time two weeks ago, shortly after winning the case against the PSC regarding his earlier suspension.
Justice Godfrey Smith had barely delivered his decision via Skype which quashed the suspension of Robinson when the PSC issued another suspension letter for Robinson to one of his lawyers.
The letter which was delivered to attorney Cosbert Cumberbatch said that this time he was suspended  pending the hearing and outcome of internal disciplinary charges of discreditable and oppressive conduct under Section 105 of the Constitution, which speaks to the Appointment Etc. Of Police Officers, and he will be informed of the next step.
These charges were filed early last month, even while the court was yet to determine whether Robinson’s first suspension on April 5 was lawful. He had been suspended indefinitely, without any explanation of what would be next.
Robinson was first suspended under Section 37 of the Police Act and in accordance with section 16(2) of the Regulations after three of his male subordinate colleagues accused him of sexual harassment or inappropriate conduct and one of the three alleged he was punished for turning down the advances.
The officers’ complaints included alleged harassment relating to incidents from 2016 to February 2018, but none of them, according to the PSC, were officially filed until the end of March this year.
A month after his suspension, Robinson filed his claim for judicial review.
About a week ago, the Police Service Commission filed a notice of appeal of Justice Smith’s decision to quash Robinson’s suspension.

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