Acting COP Denies Officers To Be Fired.
ACTING Police Commissioner Errol Alexander has dismissed as rumour, claims that senior police officers have been targeted for dismissal in the public interest.
Speculation about the alleged “dismissals” was first raised on a local news service earlier this week and aired on radio and television stations.
But up to press time yesterday neither the Police Force nor the Public Service Commission had given any indication that this was so. However, one senior police officer yesterday told this newspaper that “where there is smoke there is fire.”
Alexander however was more direct when at a press conference yesterday he emphatically brushed aside the speculation.
“I take it as rumour because there are no facts…there’s nothing factual about it,” Alexander said.
“When the time comes, or if the time comes then from my standpoint I will know what to do because I think I have enough experience to know what to do,” Alexander added.
However The VOICE has learned that in the coming days, changes may take place within the police hierarchy .
Speculation also abounds about a possible return to office of Police Commissioner Vernon Francois, who has been on vacation leave for the past four months.
It was Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony who, in an address to the nation on the investigation into the alleged extra-judicial killings by certain members of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force on 8 March of this year, publicized Francois’ vacation leave.
Alexander was appointed acting Police Commissioner on March 23 for a period of one month. He was reappointed on April 24 until June 30, which was then further extended to July 31.
Alexander is uncertain whether his tenure at the head of the police force will continue after next week Friday. The situation has given rise to speculation that Francois may return.
But will Francois’ return boost morale within the rank and file of the police force which is said to be at an all-time low, according to Camron Laure, President of the Police Welfare Association?
Laure, earlier this year said that in the wake of the IMPACS report, which points an accusatory finger at the police force, morale had been low.
But Alexander yesterday had a different point of view stating that he does not have a yardstick to measure whether or not the morale in the police force is low.
“I am telling you that if there was low morale police officers would not be fighting crime the way they are fighting crime. We would not have gotten the successes that we have had,” Alexander said.
To prove his point he referred to the latest crime statistics which showed that for the first half of last year the country recorded 17 homicides. Today that number is lower. Saint Lucia recorded 10 homicides for the first half of this year.
With this month added in, the homicide count now stands at 12.
“And there are a number of offences that are down and we have a number of successes in terms of decreases in summary offences,” Alexander said.