EDITORIAL: A breath of fresh air

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The news crossing the wires was a relief! Not so much because we believed that the commissioner of the Royal Antigua Barbuda Police Force is guilty of malfeasance, after all he is entitled to the presumption of innocence, but because of the nature of the allegations and his position of power. The allegations of sexual harassment have as much to do with the wielding of power as of well, . . . sex.  Manifestly, it was an untenable situation that had to be resolved as a matter of urgency.
      Unfortunately, the Police Service Commission (PSC) under the leadership of Mr. Kelvin John, did not seem to grasp that this was a tenuous situation that had to be dealt with post haste. Mercifully, they found religion, albeit belatedly, and we salute them for acting to boost the sagging morale in the police department. Sagging morale? Yes. With the putrid sexual harassment allegations by at least three of his subordinates, the commissioner of police, Wendel Robinson, must have felt himself under increasing pressure from a concerned citizenry and the rank-and-file. Moreover, his accusers must have been perplexed at the seeming delay and inaction on such an important matter. Needless to say, it was a hostile work environment with much tension around the water coolers in the various precincts.
Of course, notwithstanding its newly-discovered spine, the PSC deserves all the opprobrium heaped upon it from outraged citizens and victims’ advocates who felt that its seeming indifference and casual willingness to pass the buck was downright wimpy and odious. And when this matter is finally resolved, we suggest that Mr. Kelvin John and his fellow commissioners give up their seats on this commission. They simply do not seem up to the awesome and grave responsibility of policing the police department.
Meanwhile, as the investigation continues under the very able guidance of newly-appointed Commissioner, Atlee Rodney, we here at OBSERVER media are confident that “Justice will not only be done, but that it will be seen to be done.” Commissioner Rodney, a man whom we greatly admire, and one imbued with the requisite attributes to bring much-needed reforms and restore our pride and confidence in the force, is “The right man for the right job at the right time.”  We salute the good commissioner and wish him Godspeed, and every success in bringing this tawdry matter to a timely resolution. After all, “Justice delayed, is justice denied!”   And mind you, when we refer to ‘justice,’ we are looking for a clearing of Mr. Robinson’s name or a substantiation of the allegations. Either way, the cloud of uncertainty, suspicion and intrigue must very quickly be lifted.
His (Commissioner Rodney) is a daunting task – that of reinvigorating the moribund police force. Again, eyebrows are raised at our choice of words, especially the word, ‘moribund,’ but we make no apologies for this rather tough choice, because law and order and the safety and security of the citizenry are fundamental of government, and when law and order break down and officer morale is at an ebb, then we are one step away from anarchy. With the recent disturbing news of a prisoner jumping over a wall at the Newgate Street police station, followed shortly after by the escape of triple-murder-accused, Delano Forbes, and the disclosures of the despicable conditions of the detention cells and other work areas at some of the police stations, many feared for our bit of paradise. Whew! It was quite a stink!
But with yesterday’s developments  – the suspension of Mr. Wendell Robinson, and the ascension of Mr. Atlee Rodney, we believe that the pungent and stultifying air at the police force will soon be a thing of the past. Ahhh! Breathe that air!
We invite you to visit www.antiguaobserver.com and give us your feedback on our opinions.

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