Home Editorials Editorial: Time is of the essence

Editorial: Time is of the essence


Why did it take so long? Especially since it was pellucid that the presence of Mr. Wendel Robinson at police headquarters, never mind at the helm of the department, was much like a cancer about the body of law enforcement that needed to be excised.  Some school children are suggesting that the foot-dragging was the result of the “good old boys chumminess” between Mr. Robinson and officialdom. Never mind the fact that these branches of the government should be separate (for obvious reasons) and act as a check and balance, of sorts, on each other. Other school children, those from the school of conspiracy theories and intrigue, are suggesting that because the suspended commissioner and officialdom knew each others’ secrets, neither could move effectively against each other, hence the stalemate.
Be that as it may, we are again calling for a speedy and thorough investigation into l’affaire sordide so that there can be some measure of relief and closure for the accused and his accusers; and so that the cloud of suspicion and mistrust and the whisperings and the innuendos will be lifted from the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda. Nothing can cripple and stymie a workplace like a lack of confidence in one’s colleagues, as well as a lack of confidence in the leadership of a department.  That sword of Damocles has to be lifted, and time is of the essence. After all, the word crossing the wires is that some, or all of the accusers, would like to take leave out of fear of retribution and the emotional trauma that they are now reportedly experiencing.
Meanwhile, we are happy to learn that newly-appointed acting commissioner, Mr. Atlee Rodney, will not be conducting the investigation into the sexual harassment allegations lodged by the three junior officers against Mr. Robinson. The conflict and the pressures from both sides are obvious. Not that we are suggesting that  acting Commissioner Rodney is not equal to the task and could not conduct a comprehensive and impartial investigation. Au contraire, we have every confidence in Rodney’s strength of character and his other manifest leadership attributes. It simply is that Rodney has enough on his plate, to wit, tackling and resolving the myriad problems in the police force.  And trust us, those problems are legion! In any event, the good acting commissioner was too close to the principals in this matter, and his non-involvement in the investigation was in the furtherance of avoiding the very appearance of impropriety and bias.
Interestingly, we note that there are calls for the appointment of an independent investigative body, and while we are pleased with the notion of an ‘independent body,’ we are concerned because, it has been our experience that usually, when governments set up a commission of inquiry, it is a code for “Nothing will come of it.” There is a popular saying that “If you want to get nothing done, set up a committee!” Exhibit A: First it takes weeks to select a head, then several months to select the other committee members, then endless wrangling over the ambits and parameters of the investigation (whether it will have subpoena powers, whether the witnesses will testify under oath, under pain and peril of a perjury charge and whether they will meet once per week or once per month and those sorts of procedural things).  Of course, we are being facetious here, but you get the point.  In the meantime, the principals in the case languish in perpetuity with little or no hope for closure. The case fades from the front pages of the news media, and the public soon loses interest. Eventually, the ‘independent investigative body’ disbands itself (mercifully) and the case dies a natural death. Good grief!
We certainly trust that this sad and ignominious end will not be the fate of the investigation into the sexual harassment allegations in our police force. It is said that the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly, but here’s hoping that that will not be the case in l’affaire sordide!