Retired top cop says Police Service Commission is in contempt of court

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The seven-member Police Service Commission (PSC) is in contempt of court over the “sordid issue” of the suspension of Commissioner of Police Wendel Robinson last Friday, soon after High Court Justice Godfrey Smith ruled that his initial suspension in April was unlawful.
That is the view of Rawlston Pompey, retired commissioner of police, who said that the embattled top cop, Robinson, should again challenge this latest suspension and the charges that led to the said suspension.
He said, “The court has ordered immediate reinstatement … and what is happening now is the commission is really in contempt of court, and Mr. Robinson would be within his right to make an application to the same judge who made the order [to lift his suspension], to commit the seven-member commission including the Chairman, Kelvin John, an attorney at law, and a former acting judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court … commit all of them to prison.”
So far, OBSERVER media has confirmed that apart from John, the other commissioners are James Hill, Cosmos Marcelle and Claudette Mason. The others have only been identified as Pelle, Burton and Williams.
It should be noted, according to a source involved in the matter, that Robinson’s latest suspension letter was signed by Hill, acting as Chairman.
Pompey said that if the PSC intended to suspend the top cop, they ought to have started fresh and not hinge their decision on the charges of discreditable and oppressive conduct, because those charges stem from an investigation done under a suspension that the court just said was unlawful.
The former commissioner of police said that the charges “will not stand” because the whole process to get there was wrong. He called the last suspension a “blunder” by the PSC.
Pompey pointed out several things: a) the charges were laid by Special Constables invited to Antigua and Barbuda by the now-acting Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney, because the PSC allegedly abdicated its duty and passed that responsibility on to him after trying and failing to pass it on to the Attorney General (AG), Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin, b) the investigation was called by Rodney, who is Robinson’s subordinate officer and “there is no way you will have a subordinate investigating his superior, let alone charging him with a disciplinary offence”, and c) the regulations and procedures they followed in terms of arriving at the decision to charge Mr. Robinson are wrong because, as the court pointed out, the law specifically states that those laws and regulations govern the conduct of inspectors, senior sergeants, sergeants, corporals and police constables.
The retired police veteran thus stated, “We are at a position where they can be taken before the court and an application is made for them to be committed to prison.”
According to him, all the parties who have acted thus far have done so with ignorance.
Speaking of the PSC members’ decision to suspend, and the reasoning that they used to back their decision, he said, “It is due to a lack of procedural knowledge and understanding of the disciplinary regulations that govern inspectors, subordinate police officers and constables, and when I say subordinate police officers I am referring to senior sergeants, sergeants and corporals – the regulation is specific to the behavioural attitudes of officers within those ranks.”
And as it relates to the probe called by Rodney, he said, “I say this with all respect to him, because he was my former subordinate officer, I would say he [acted] out of ignorance, not with any hard feelings towards him. You would recall the Police Service Commission tried a number on the AG when they sought to defer their authority, and he had unwittingly written to Mr. Robinson. That is there for all to see, and when he realised he is a member of the executive he had nothing to do and still has nothing to do with the police service…this is a matter only for the Police Service Commission.”
Benjamin, as attorney general, was the first person to write to Robinson in late March after three of his male subordinates complained he sexually harassed them and sought to oppress at least one of them when his alleged advances were rejected.
But, Benjamin later withdrew the letter and the matter was put back into the hands of the PSC which eventually suspended Robinson on April 5, without pay and without any indication of the next step. His pay was later restored after his lawyer wrote to the PSC.
It was four months later that a three-member team from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), arrived in Antigua to investigate the allegations made against Robinson.
Then, in early October, the team recommended and charged Robinson with five internal offences. Initially, it was said to be two charges.
Pompey also weighed in on the work IMPACS did, saying, “I don’t see why that agency had to play a role in internal disciplinary matters in Antigua and Barbuda, that is laughable.”
He warned that if the PSC continues to hinge its latest suspension on the charges coming out of the probe that was done under an unlawful suspension and laws that do not govern the conduct of a commissioner of police, then it will find itself in trouble.
He reiterated his earlier advice saying that, “They have to start all over again, if they are going under Section 105 and using the language of the constitution that says to remove and exercise disciplinary control over an officer, there is where they would have to go and start all over again.”

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