THE Police Welfare Association (PWA), which serves as a sort of trade union for police officers, has come out in full support and defence of its president, Travis Chicot.
Last Friday, Chicot came under fire from National Security and Home Affairs Minister Hermangild Francis for meeting with his executive before meeting with him (the Minister) over remarks made by a controversial local talk show host.
Minister Francis claimed that Chicot was irresponsible for holding the meeting with his Executive and said that as President of the PWA, he should have verified the accuracy of the statements made by the talk show host before meeting with his Executive.
The Minister went further, saying that Chicot should also have first raised the matter with him (the minister), after which, if needed, he could also have taken further action.
But the PWA’s Executive Members seemed to have found the Minister’s remarks somewhat unreal.
Zachary Hippolyte, the PWA’s Public Relations Officer said Chicot was within his right to call a meeting of his executive and that he did nothing wrong and broke no protocol by doing so before or without meeting Minister Francis.
Hippolyte explained that information received by the president that can have some sort of an impact on the membership of the PWA – and whether such information is insinuating, ambiguous, or simply an innuendo does not mean that the president cannot meet with his executive.
Hippolyte also took the opportunity to dispel any notion that the recent meeting of the PWA’s Executive Committee was a call for some sort of industrial action.
Rumours that police officers were on standby for some sort of industrial action did surface last Friday. However, Hippolyte made it clear that the executive never discussed taking any form of action when it met because that was not the Executive’s call to make.
“We take our mandate from our members,” Hippolyte told The VOICE in a telephone interview yesterday.
Francis and the PWA executive met on Friday, a meeting requested by Francis and one which concluded satisfactorily, it seems — at least from the PWA end.
According to Hippolyte, the other rumours about promotions of certain persons within the police force allegedly suggested by the Cabinet of Ministers were dispelled at that meeting.
He said the PWA has not received or seen any evidence to prove the allegations correct in any form.
Further, neither has the PWA discerned any intention on the part of anyone regarding promotions for hand-picked persons within the force.
Such rumours, he said were also dispelled at the meeting with the Minister.
Francis, at a news conference last Friday said he was taking Christopher Hunte, the talk show host, to court over comments Minister Francis took to be referring to his wife, who is a Sergeant employed in the Case Administrative Department of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force.
The VOICE has learned that that department may eventually be merged with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions as part of plans to restructure the Crown Prosecution Department.
Hunte last Thursday on his show “Politically Incorrect” asked whether the Cabinet of Ministers sent a memo or Cabinet Conclusion to the police force seeking promotions for some police officers, including “a Minister’s wife”, whom he did not name.