The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) welcomes the news this afternoon that the Police Service Commission (PSC) has finally suspended Commissioner of Police, Wendell Robinson, from his official duties following a series of allegations involving sexual harassment leveled against him by junior male Officers of the Royal Police Force of Antigua and Barbuda.
The PSC has named Deputy Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney, as Robinson’s replacement. He is also charged with the responsibility to lead the investigation into the said alleged misconduct by Robinson. It is neither acceptable nor transparent for the police to investigate themselves as this does not auger well for good governance standards. Based on information circulating for weeks in the public domain, the complaints of some of these junior Officers date back several years! Yet, in spite of knowing of the allegations, no senior Officer or the PSC did anything to enquire further or convene an investigation into these sordid matters. The DNA is opposed to this move and continues to maintain that nothing short of the appointment of an independent investigator to enquire into the allegations will suffice!
To compound the matter, it is alleged that both Prime Minister Browne and Attorney General Benjamin also had prior knowledge of the said complaints before they became public. Regrettably, their individual and collective failure to give these complaints the seriousness they deserved readily leads to a conclusion that both are guilty of complicity in the proverbial “blue wall of silence” which often pervades law enforcement agencies. In fact, the Prime Minister is on record of saying that the complaints were “mere allegations” which anyone could make thereby appearing to trivialize the matters.
While the DNA accepts the well established legal principle that every accused is innocent until proven guilty, it is adamant that Robinson should have been suspended once the initial complaints were lodged and that the PSC was derelict in its duties by not acting sooner. The DNA, for the last 2 consecutive weeks, has called on the PSC to act with all deliberate speed given their Constitutional and legislative authority.
The DNA commends the courage and bravery of the junior Officers for coming forward in what must be extremely difficult circumstances. Together with all right thinking citizens and residents, the DNA will continue to support the complainants in their efforts to ensure that justice is done.