The Police Welfare Association (PWA) is bracing itself to go up against National Security Minister Hermangild Francis over a matter in which a Woman Police Constable (WPC) is alleged to have acted in an “inappropriate manner” in refusing to take a telephone call from the Minister.
The PWA, in a statement today says it stands firmly and in solidarity with the officer and will provide her with the necessary support to fight the charge against her.
Travis Chicot, PWA President, noted that the island’s Constitution gives the Commissioner of Police the operational authority of the police force and that no other person, whether politician or otherwise, should use his or her office to influence or to appear to influence the daily operations of the police officer.
“Having consulted with the officer and conducted our own investigations, we stand firmly in solidarity with the police officer and will provide her with the necessary support,” Chicot said.
“Further we shall be writing to the commissioner of police asking for an immediate discontinuation of this investigation since the Minister has admitted he understands protocols and the chain of command of the Royal St. Lucia Police Force in an article on St. Lucia Times dated August 16, 2018,” Chicot said.
The PWA’s Public Relations Officer Acting Sergeant Zachary Hippolyte also came out in support of the WPC stating that while the police have responsibilities to national security it is important for the public to understand that the police are not servants of the government at any level.
“We do not solely act at the behest of a Minister or any political party, not even the party in government,” Hippolyte said.
Francis has since stated that Ministers of government carry a certain weight and that respect is due to them. He filed a formal complaint against the WPC. The matter is currently being hotly debated inside and outside the police force, with the Minister at the receiving end of several statements made on social media.