COMMENTARY: States of Emergency – A Commissioner’s Advocacy

Atlee Rodney

By Rawlston Pompey

In the ordinary course of human socialization, and in particular, the things people may wish for, many were invariably told; ‘Be Careful.’ Such, undoubtedly, shall be considered wise counsel. When a ‘Commissioner of Police,’ advocated, then seeks to influence the political directorate to use the ‘Legislative Assembly’ to provide ‘Emergency Powers’ to the office of ‘Commissioner,’ citizens shall be cautioned ‘Be Careful.’ Still, he/she runs the risk of not only being subjected to public ridicule, but also exposing insensitivity and gross professional stupidity. That which was being advocated, could easily be found in the ‘Public Order Act’ [Chapter 357].


A ‘Cabinet,’ sensing adversities and rejecting the ‘Advocacy,’ speak to a body of persons of superior intellect, endowed with ‘Reason and Conscience.’ They may have reminded themselves of the social commentary, ‘Sir MacLean Emmanuel, ‘King Short Shirt’ has ‘Pledged’ to the nation. They may have recollected the lyrical content; ‘We want not just society, but a ‘JUST’ society’ [Our Pledge: 1981].’ Looked at from an administrative perspective, a ‘Commissioner of Police,’ anticipating futuristic community disturbances, may have been usefully engaged in either reading the ‘Constitution Order,’ or utilizing the time advocating for ‘Limited States of Emergency,’ addressing unsolved crime.


The fact that criminal activities showed a prevalence or an uptick in particular communities, as to necessitate the use of ‘Emergency Powers,’ may have been ill-conceived. Among the dangers that seemed to have plagued humanity, has been a lesson taught by then, ‘Training Commandant, Sir Wrigt Fitzhenly George KCN, MVO, QPM, CPM.’ In a moment of enlightenment, he warned; ‘Knowledge is power, but some people want ‘Power without Knowledge.’ He had encouraged reading among the ‘Trainees.’ Some did, and some did not. These were the ones that often ‘Catch real hell’ [Education: Slinger Francisco: ‘Mighty Sparrow’].


This commentary, in content, is lengthily extensive.’ Those that believe that ‘Morrocoy fly in the sky,’ may ignore it. However, suffice to say, it primarily seeks to enlighten and educate. It looks at the apparent ill-advised ‘Advocacy’ for legislative empowerment’ in implementing ‘Limited States of Emergency’ by; (i) ‘Isolating a community in the event of affirmative actions; and (ii) Imposition of curfew and residential lock-downs; These are looked at from ; (iii) The Jamaica Experience; (iv) STRATCOM dissemination of the ‘Police version of events, as they affect Police Killings.; It particularly looks at; (a) ‘Implications for the citizenry; (b) Implications for constitutionally-enshrined rights and freedoms of the individual’ [CO:1981]: and (c) The notorious; (a) ‘Dominica Defence Force Behavior: and the then feared ‘Dread Act’ [1974]. To the knowledge of the students of history and those of posterity.


Every once in a while, a ‘Commissioner of Police’ comes along; Great confidence is reposed in his personality, more than of his capacity to manage and ability to lead. Then his ego is inflated, while his thoughts and imagination may influence courses of action, detrimental to the well-being of society, then it may urge utterances, capable of being described as; ‘Utter nonsense’ [Attorney Charlesworth Tabor]. The ‘Constitution Order,’ guarantees the rights and freedoms of every man, woman and child. If observed in practice, there shall be no reason not to eliminate that which ‘Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney QPM,’ had endeavored to achieve [ABS TV].


Functionally, in Law enforcement, law enforcers are administratively managed and operationally deployed. Thus, they are the ones that decide the extent of power to be resided in ‘State Agencies and Agents.’ Hence, the ‘Executive’ decides, and agents of the State implement according to Law. Though not necessarily on the same level of docility, this appeared not to have been the ‘Experiences’ of former Commissioner of Police, ‘Garry Griffith’ [Trinidad and Tobago: 2018 -2020]. Conversely, every once in a while, a ‘Prime Minister’ devotes time to communicate to his constituents through ‘Town Hall Meetings.’


Invariably, he/she speaks to ‘his trials and tribulations; his/she cardinal sins; deeds or misdeeds.’ Fundamentally, among the most important functions of any ‘Commissioner of Police,’ is endeavoring to strengthen and sustain reposed confidence. When ‘Prime Minster, Dr. Keith Rowley’ felt that the ‘Commissioner’ was behaving like ‘an island unto himself,’ he not only ‘Told him so, but also ‘Let Him Go.’ Reflecting or reminiscing on his; (i) ‘Satisfaction and dissatisfaction; His successes and failures; His decisional mistakes; and then he makes ‘Open confessions.’ The latter is not only good for his Soul, but also for constituents and public confidence. 


As working relations deteriorated, the ‘Prime Minister’ spoke fearlessly and forthrightly to the ‘non-political decision’ that he had taken. Respecting the appointment of the ‘no-nonsense; tough-talking; pro-active crime combatant, ‘Gary Griffith,’ full confidence may have been reposed in him. Back then he was considered as the ‘Best person for the job of Commissioner of Police.’  The media quoted him regrettably saying; (i) ‘I lost confidence in Mr. Griffith as Commissioner’ [Trinidad Express: 2018]. This is a paragraph, Prime Minister Gaston Browne’ may wish to skip.


Further research has revealed another quote: (ii) ‘One year ago I wrote to the Police Service Commission (PSC), that I lost confidence in ‘Garry Griffith as Commissioner of Police’ [News Day: December 16, 2021]. Speaking at the ‘Belmont Community,’ he reportedly told community members that; ‘Garry Griffith’s appointment was the ‘Biggest Mistake’ of my life’ [Daily Express: 2022]. Wherever, a ‘Commissioner’ places his/her allegiance, he/she still owes loyalty to the organization, subordinates and general public. Few ‘Prime Ministers possess the testicular fortitude and the integrity to admit publicly, his ‘Administrative Mistakes.’


First, as it affects the well-being of Law enforcement, it shall do no harm speaking to the issues of; (a) ‘Infrastructure; and (b) Administrative Behavior.’ Administratively, these have always posed serious accommodation challenges. Thus, there shall be lawful and reasonable demands for the construction of more modern ‘Infrastructure’ to be used for both; (i) ‘Police Stations; and (ii) Magistrate’s Courts,’ where they previously existed. None may deny that where those precincts were first, and well established to serve communities, have been in complete disrepair. None may argue that many became community eye-sore, before descending into a ‘State of Dereliction.’


Moreover, none may deny that proper accommodation has been widely known to have a critical and positive impact on both morale, productivity and behavior that shall be seen as consistent with good discipline. Though gravely ignored, these have always been necessary to encourage inter alia: (i) ‘Commitment to the ‘Police Service; and (i) sustain ‘Devotion to Duty.’ Though, not necessarily the most influential factors, they have certainly helped in inspiring greater interest and commitment, productivity and a higher standard of discipline.’


Fundamental to the infrastructure, are undoubtedly;(i) ‘Adequacy of resources: (ii) An enabling environment; and (iii) Opportunities for professional development and advancement. Unlike the grievous practice of insularity, such shall be considered on the basis of; (a) ‘Merit; (b) Ability; and (c) Integrity.’ These as a ‘Commissioner of Police’ shall know, allow for both personnel and citizenry to ‘Assert their conviction that their happiness and prosperity, can best be pursued in a ‘Democratic Society’ [CO: 1981: Principle: ‘C’]. Equally as much as Law enforcers have called for ‘Limited States of Emergency,’ in addressing ‘Societal Lawlessness,’ so too, are the ‘Constitutional Antidotes’ to address; ‘Community disquiet; Social discontent’ and Social Unrests.’ 


That which shall be urged, is discontinuation of the apparent systemic practice of appointing personnel to positions beyond their professional competencies and managerial capacity. Thes often prompts the idiom; ‘Placing square pegs in round holes.’ Then they become ‘Clock Watchers’ and ‘Moonlighters,’ ever seeking way in shirking responsibility. Thus, when a ‘Commissioner of Police’ advocated, and sought to pre-empt legislation to empower him to exercise ‘Emergency Powers, these speak to ‘Illusions of Power and Grandeur.’ That which were often associated with such power have been; ‘Tyranny and Oppression; and Terror and Murder.’ 


Clearly, with no evidence of; (i) Mob Rule; (ii) Gangsterism; and (iii) Gang violence; or (iv) Running gun battles with the criminal element,’ makes it difficult for a ‘political directorate and a citizenry to be convinced that their safety and security, were under serious and imminent threat. The day a ‘Commissioner of Police,’ surrenders his ‘Dignity and Worth,’ to become slave to docility and stupidity, is the day he becomes slave to exploitation. Moreover, it is the day that he shall know that without pomp and ceremony and fanfare, he would be trimmed from ‘Size-plus,’ to ‘Size small.’ 


It is not necessarily good to tout that a ‘Commissioner of Police’ has been flying around and hiking about faster than he was solving crime. Even so, the citizenry shall know that these activities have always been part of the social and recreational life in a ‘Police Services.’ Though not necessarily Police personnel, those with oversized egos, have always considered it to be a ‘Novelty of the office.’ The apparently ill-advised public advocacy, that the ‘Gaston-Browne-led administration’ may amend the ‘Police Act’ to allow for the dastardly unthinkable, shall still position ‘Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney QPM,’, to be credited for the brazen, yet citizen- provoke contempt for his apparent misguided utterances.


In love as it is in war and peace, the things that a leader desires, could liken him/her to a ‘Fool.’ It was to professional knowledge that the entire ‘Organization of Eastern Caribbean States “OECS),’ have more ‘Boy Scouts Commissioners,’ than ‘Cubs’ in that organization. A small minority was more often ‘toyed and buoyed; exploited and manipulated; then shaped and cultivated with a mindset akin to ancestral slaves. According to the ‘Mighty Sparrow,’ ‘They like it so.’ In such state of mind, these know not they are; ‘Fools, breaking their own hearts.’ 


Guided by the lyrical content and versatility and the unique version by the world-renowned social commentator, the artiste, sings to them; ‘Only a fool breaks his own heart’ [1964: Norman Bergen & Shelly Coburn]. Though a particular era of the nation’s status under ‘British Colonialism,’ has been long passed, certain slave-like mentality continues its existence, up to this day.  No ‘Commissioner of Police,’ shall be found, neither in wanting of ‘character, intelligence and scruples, nor wanting of integrity and courage.’ Equally as much as obtained in the ‘State of Normalcy,’ in the event of a declared ‘State of Emergency,’ the functions of Law enforcement remain the same applies. 


This said, ‘Commissioners’ with even one or more of these virtues, could never last as long as a ‘Hot Cup of Blue Mountain Coffee.’ Suggestively, there appears to be ‘More Fools’ with intellectual degrees, than are people afflicted with illiteracy, and affected by abject poverty. They do not ‘Break their own hearts,’ infrequently, the system does. Public administrators, often set up the citizens, as well as the electorate, against them. That which some ‘Commissioners’ may not know, policy-makers are the ones given the electoral mandate.


In this jurisdiction, ‘Commissioner’ is guided by law, ‘Protect and Serve’ the people [Police Act: Chapter 330]. For others, by the influences in the environment. This necessarily means that none shall; (i) ‘Be a ‘Law’ unto him/herself; or Operate outside the realm of law; or (iii) Seen as being above Law,’ then to be treated as ‘straw.’ Moreover, none shall, unto himself, offer unsolicited ‘Legislative Dictation,’ to the ‘Parliamentary Representatives,’ against the ‘Will and Wishes’ of the people. 


When ‘Cabinet,’ uncompromisingly, unhesitatingly and unanimously, rejected the ‘Commissioner’s’ quest of ‘States of Emergency,’ and exercisable attendant powers, members of ‘Cabinet’ may not only have seen smoke, but may also have wondered, if anything, just what he may have been puffing. Though not necessarily in these words, the membership may have said; ‘That which you have advocated, led us to believe that taking such legislative course of action, could spell public administration and political disaster of epic proportion. Without much bruhaha, they may simply have suggested that the ‘Commissioner’ requests of their ‘Parliamentary colleague, ‘Sir Robin Yearwood,’ a ‘Cubana Cigar’ that may assist him with more ‘Brain Matter.’


Clearly not in desperate want of wielding legislative power, yet anticipating future societal disquiet; community unrest and gross lawlessness, ‘Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney QPM,’ may have seen trends that that necessitated him to secure the crime fighting requisites. Seemingly, sourcing difficulties than of his ego, subtly, yet unwittingly impelled him to call upon the present administration to avail him power of declaring ‘Limited States of Emergency’ in trouble-prone communities. That which he may not have considered was that he had no such mandate to determine that which is ‘Emergency; or (b) That which is ‘Calamity.’


Notwithstanding changes in criminal and anti-social behavior, in modern societies, if such powers were so required, then he would have inherited ‘Legacies’ left by ‘former Commissioner of Police, Sir Wright Fitzhenly George KCN, CVO, QPM.’ Pre-dating his enlistment into the ‘Police Service,’ Sir Wright’ fought the criminal element with his managerial and leadership skills, complemented by the professional competencies of his deeply, committed loyal, highly motivated and ‘Meritoriously Rewarded/Awarded and ‘Devoted-to-Duty’ subordinates. At every level, there shall be functional cooperation between the; (a) ‘Gazetted; (b) Inspectorate; (c) Subordinate; and (d) Constable ranks.’


Though the advocacy appeared not to have resonated with citizens and public officials, ‘Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney QPM,’ continues to face mounting ‘Embarrassing Administrative Challenges’ within the ‘Police Service.’ The ‘Cabinet’s’ swift public rejection of the call for ‘Limited States of Emergency,’ speaks to a clear understanding by its membership. Inferentially, it means that no lesser mortal shall attempt to prepare a ‘Road Map’ for policy-making on which to give legislative consideration. Quite luckily, ‘Cabinet Minister and Spokesperson and a ‘House Majority member, Melford Nicholas,’ appeared to have forgotten his famous line to ‘Pathologist, Dr. Lester Simon;’ ‘Stay in your Lane.’


Except the people, no ‘Commissioner of Police,’ that sits not in the ‘Cabinet,’ shall attempt to shape the thinking of the political directorate in swaying them against the electorate. A ‘Commissioner of Police’ may have been so ‘Administratively Engaged,’ yet finding time in lobbying; (i) ‘The Justice; Law and order and Police Minister;’ and (ii) ‘Police Service Commission (PSC)’ to appoint more competent ‘Gazetted Officers.’ These are among that which may provide effective leadership to those seemingly starved of supervision. 


The competence and supervisory efficiency by those so positioned, often help in; (a) Ensuring that trucks reportedly laden with citizen-recovered building material and tools were properly secured; and (b) Ensuring safety and accountability by ‘Custodians of Police Court Exhibits,’ held for; (i) ‘Criminal trials; or (ii) Forfeiture proceedings.’ This may have been among the purposes, for the ranks; (i) ‘Deputy Commissioner; and (ii) Assistant Commissioner’ to assist the Commissioner of Police.’ Even more ‘Profoundly Important,’ are those critical matters of ‘Police Welfare.’ 


Given this view, the call for ‘Situational Powers’ to address future ‘Police-Determined Emergency’ and the exercise of such powers, appear destined to run-counter to the ‘Principles of Democracy,’ and the ‘Supreme Law- The Constitution Order’ [No. 1106: 1981]. Not infrequently, egoism, zeal and anxiety, were known to have encourage ‘Administrative Adventurism.’ Many ‘Police High Commands’ were known to have grown egos, larger than their heads, with feet to step ‘Commissioner of Police, Garry Griffiths’ [Trinidad and Tobago].


It may have been for very good reasons that the ‘Framers of the Constitution’ have placed the declaration of ‘States of Emergency’ into the considerations of: (i) ‘The Prime Minister: and (ii) The ‘Governor General,’ acting on the advice of the ‘Prime Minister’ [CO: 1981: Section 20]. starved for knowledge,’ could hear a ‘Commissioner of Police’ saying the wrong things. That which ‘Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney QPM,’ may have imprudently ignored, was that those that govern the nation, by the ‘Will and Mandate’ of the people,’ were formidably positioned in making ‘Policy Decisions,’ not only for the electorate, but also the common good.  


That which appeared not to have informed ‘Prudent Thinking’ and/or misguided public utterances on matters not of urgent public importance. While ‘Commissioner of Police ‘Atlee Rodney QPM,’ may not necessarily have been ‘Fraternizing with Fancy,’ it might reasonably be inferred that ‘Administrative Stupidity,’ may have led him into areas that could have angered ‘National Security Minister, Prime Minister Gaston Browne’ and Police Minister Steadroy Cutie’ Benjamin,’ and by extension the ‘9-Member of Cabinet.’


In comparison to neighboring ‘Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS),’ such as: (i) ‘St. Lucia; and (ii) St. Vincent and the Grenadines,’ the twin-island nation of ‘Antigua and Barbuda,’ has not only been a ‘Model Nation,’ but also has been described as a ‘Visitor’s Paradise.’ This may have been made evident by; (i) No public disorder; and (ii) There were no identifiable renegade communities within the nation. Besides, with the continuing combined ‘Police/Military Operations (PMO’s),’ the ‘Security Forces,’ has shown a deep resolve in making the nation safe and secure from the criminal element.


Inferentially, to the extent that ‘Members of Cabinet,’ appeared to have shared ‘Commonality of Understanding’ of possible implications for that which may have been seen as a ridiculous call, it may have been sufficient to have fueled contempt within the nation’s Cabinet. Thus, when the public lobbying’ for empowerment through the Parliament for ‘Limited States of Emergency,’ was contemplated, a ‘Commissioner of Police,’ shall always seek the advice of the ’Heads of Special Branch and Criminal Investigations Department (CID).’ They ought to be so positioned to speak to the currency of the ‘State of Affairs,’ as it affects; (a) National Security; and (b) Crime and Violence.’ 


Moreover, a ‘Commissioner of Police’ shall be prudently guided by ‘Communications Protocol.’ Most importantly, no matter how mindboggling, such shall also be shared with the ‘Heads of the ‘Security Forces- Defence Force and ONDCP.’ Such, by, and of itself, speaks to ‘Agency and functional cooperation.’ Equally as important, he/she shall know that likened to other jurisdictions, there exists a ‘National Security Council (NSC).’ Mindful of the ’Golden Rule’ that advises; ‘Only who needs to know.’ Thus, those that need to know,’ are members of this body. 


Hence, they shall always be apprised, yet to be hearing the concern or request through the ‘Journalistic Exploits’ of ‘Garfield Burford’ [ABS]. One never knows who may guide a journalist’ s knowledge. Looked at from the call reportedly made to the ‘Legislative Assembly’ and ‘Cabinet’s Swift Response,’ it might very well be viewed as a ‘Ridiculous Call’ for ‘Limited States of Emergency.’ When State-owned ‘ABS Tv’ host, ‘Garfield Burford’ unsuspectingly, but skillfully pulled out from ‘Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney QPM,’ the legislative consideration considered as a ‘Crime Fighting Measure,’ he had no idea that; (a) ‘Cabinet would have harbored ‘skepticism’ over his motive.’


Had the nation been over-run by ‘Criminal Gangs and Mobs,’ and that the ‘Police Service’ was overwhelmed by a drastic increase in acts of criminality, then it may not have been considered prudent for the ‘Police and National Security Ministers’ to dispatch ‘Police and Military’ personnel to ‘St. Lucia.’ A member-nation within the ‘Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS),’ it has reportedly seen a spate of violent crimes that have plagued that nation. Still, its ‘Commissioner of Police’ appear not to have made an open request to be statutorily empowered to use ‘Emergency Powers’ that inevitably will affect the freedoms and liberties of ‘St. Lucians.’


Members of ‘Cabinet’ may just have been looking at the impact on ‘Social cohesion’ as reported on social media’ [Carib Daily News: August 25, 2023]. That which may very well have guided their collective response, may have been: (i) ‘Abrogation; (ii) Infringement; and (iii) Abridgment of the constitutionally entrenched and protection-guaranteed rights, freedoms and liberties of the people. Seemingly, rather than presenting an ‘Acceptable Rationale,’ he has cited; (i) ‘Barbados: (ii) Belize; and (iii) Jamaica,’ as among other territories that have legislation that provides for the implementation of ‘Limited State of Emergency.’


It has been an undisputed fact, that except for ‘Barbados,’ the latter two regional countries and non-members of the ‘Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS),’ have been identified and listed as among ‘six members of the international community with the ‘Highest Murder Rates-Jamaica- 2nd and Belize- 5th’ respectively. Excluding Barbados, those countries have been identified, as among the ‘Most Dangerous Places’ for ‘Intentional Homicide’ [WIO July, 2023]. The statistical data speaks to scant regard to the ‘Sanctity of Life,’ by cold-blooded killers in those jurisdictions.


Statistically, research has shown that only two regional nations have very troubling ‘Murder Rates’ of; ’37. 8 murders per 100, 000: and 56. 4 murders per 100, 000 people.’  Given the advocacy by ‘Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney QPM’ for ‘Limited States of Emergency,’ undoubtedly, as reported, those are nations that require the ‘Toughest Cop’ on Crime.’ They need legislative measures, in restricting the movement of; (a) ‘Gangsters; and (b) Combatively, neutralize the cold-blooded and merciless killers.’ The mantra of ‘Civil Authority’ has always been to enlist the assistance of the Military,’ and not the responsibility to takeover and curb or stop serious and violent crimes. 


It was not clear what may have spurred the imagination or guided the thinking and belief that ‘State of Emergency’ is a ‘Crime Fighting Measure.’ If only for academic reasons, the currency of the membership of the ‘National Security Council,’ includes: (i) ‘Prime Minster Gaston Browne- Chaiman; and members; (ii) Attorney General and Police Minister, Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin: (iii) Chief of Defence Staff, Colonel Telbert Benjamin: (iv) Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney QPM; and (v) Director of the ‘ONDCP,’ Colonel Edward Croft.’ 


Instructively, that which ‘Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney QPM,’ appeared to have lacked sufficient familiarity of, may have been that which necessitated the declaration of ‘States of Emergency,’ however ‘Limited.’ To appreciate the ‘Nature’ of the call for ‘Limited States of Emergency,’ is to understand the ‘Implications’ for the ‘Freedoms and Liberties’ long before entrenched and guaranteed protection by the ‘Constitution Order’ [CO: No: 1106: 1981]. Be it ‘Limited’ or full, looked at from the ‘Belize and Jamaican perspective, ‘States of Emergency’ always have very ‘Serious Implications’ for both ‘Citizen and Government.’


In ‘States of Emergency,’ a ‘Commissioner of Police’ shall be considered reckless not to know, or be mindful of the unsupervised and unresisted trigger-happiness, invariably exhibited by personnel. More importantly, is an un-mindfulness of respect the ‘Sanctity of Life,’ demands. In the history of the nation of ‘Antigua and Barbuda,’ except for the declared ‘State of Public Emergency (SOPE)’ to quell) the riotous situation, occasioned by a ‘Labour Union Rift’ [1968: New York Times: March 21, 1968]. Several innocent citizens, said to have been in the safety of their homes, reportedly sustained ‘multiple non-life-threatening gunshot wounds to their bodies.


These were reportedly inflicted upon relatively peaceful protestors. Most were said to have been ‘Imperiled,’ as to be so incensed, that they felt ‘Impelled’ into a ‘Rioting Mode,’ by the apparent; (a) ‘Drastic Emergency Measures: and (b) High-handed tactics and methodologies adopted by law enforcers. Then in more modern times, and for reasons of the ‘National Health,’ the declared ‘Emergency Measures’ were considered of utmost necessity. It was primarily concerned not with criminal activities, but with controlling the spread of the dangerous and infectious ‘Corona Virus-19 Pandemic’ [SI: No. 16 of 2020]. 


A ‘Commissioner of Police’ shall be so read, as to be informed through familiarization, the constitutional provision that Law enforcement actions shall not, in an adverse way, affect the lawful movement and the legitimate conduct of business by the populace. Advocacy for ‘Emergency Powers,’ necessarily demands consideration not only that which it hopes to achieve, but most importantly, comports with that which the ‘People’ have proclaimed for enjoyment and protection.  Fundamental to such enjoyment, is the provision that states; ‘If any other Laws is inconsistent with the Constitution,’ to the extent of such inconsistency, the ‘Constitution’ shall prevail and that any other Law, whether or not requested by Law enforcers, shall be void’ [CO: 1981: Section 2]. 


Though no evidence confirms or suggests otherwise, ‘Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney QPM,’ could never have been ‘an infant in arm.’ Though he may not necessarily have been mature to understand the ‘Dominica Syndrome,’ there may be no excuse for not knowing its history. He shall have known when the dual-positioned former ‘Dominican Prime Minister’ and Defence Force Commander Patrick John’ enacted the notorious ‘Dread Act’ [1974]. Long titled; ‘Prohibited and Unlawful Societies and Association Act,’ the enactment appeared ‘Mighty Dread.’


While some ‘Brutal Events’ of yesteryear often evoke bitter memories, if only one historical fact that shall not descend, neither into obscurity, nor into the dark recesses of the mind. The people of the ‘Commonwealth of Dominica’ shall be credited for their steely-resolve and perseverance that the ‘Ruthless Behavior of Prime Minister, Patrick John,’ shall cease. They knew then that the ‘Tree of Liberty’ shall be watered by the ‘Blood of the innocent.’ Through the years, such resolution and determination have stood the test of time. Giving the ‘Cabinet Ministers’ and enforcers of Law the ‘Benefit of Knowledge,’ there may have been many that may have positioned themselves to understand certain constitutional provisions.


Research and history have identified him holding the dual-positions of; (i) ‘Commissioner of Police’ and (ii) Chairman of the notorious, and equally disbanded and ‘Dreaded Dominica Defence Force (DDF).’ The ‘Mischief Aimed’ by Parliament’ and the ‘Legislative Powers’ vested in the ‘Commissioner of Police,’ speak to unchecked and unpunishable ruthlessness. It (a) Abrogated: (b) Infringed: and (c) Abridged’ the ‘Fundamental Rights and Freedoms’ of the then emerging ‘Rastafarian Community.’


Wikipedia will show, inter alia, that which was intended and in actuality brutally, savagely and mercilessly done to the minority group. The Prime Minister,’ reportedly placed ‘Dread Act Power’ in the hands of ‘Commissioner of Police, Oliver N. Phillips’ [1974]. Those so positioned, were often subjected to ‘Exploitation by Officialdom.’ The historical annals shall show no other declaration of ‘States of Emergency in the life of the independent nation of ‘Antigua and Barbuda.’ That which research appears to have coincidentally shown, has been the ‘Dominica Syndrome.’ 


Instructively, it revealed; (i) ‘A declared ‘State of Public Emergency;’ and (ii) A deadly armed attack on the ‘Police Headquarters of the ‘Commonwealth of Dominica’ [1981]. Thus, the ‘Year-1981’ bears three ‘Significant Events;’ (i) ‘The People’s uprising in the Commonwealth of Dominica; (ii) A declaration of a ‘State of Emergency’ by a ruthless Prime Minister, Patrick John: and outside of that jurisdiction, the attainment of Political Independence of Antigua and Barbuda’ [November 1, 1981]. In the face, and under no veil threat of the use of Tear Gas: Rubber bullet; and Metal bullet’ by the dreaded combination of the ‘Police and Defence Forces.’


 A notorious piece of legislation called the ‘Dominica Dread Act’ [1974], saw the most dreadful occurrences.’ That unfolded, speaks to; (i) A collapsed Government; and (ii) An attack on the Police left ‘Police Constable Matthias Alexander’ fatally wounded.’ It was also revealed that ‘6-convicted cold-blooded murderers, all ex-Dominica Defence Force (DDF) personnel were indicted and convicted for the ‘Jointly and common purpose’ ‘Deadly Escapade’ [June 24, 1983: Criminal Appeal: Docket No: 10: 11: 12: 13: 14: and 17 of 1983]. They were all convicted by a mixed-Jury. The numbers represent the convicted murder-accused.  


The evidence as dictaed by then ‘Jamaican Jurist and Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court (ECSC) Chief Justice, His Lordship Justice, Sir Lascelles Lister Robotham [ECSC: 1984 – 1991],’ is graphic. It was the ‘Journalistic Quizzing’ by Garfield Burford,’ that had prompted research into the ‘Advocacy for Limited States of Emergency’ [ABS Tv]. That which was instructive, were; (i) ‘The ‘Judicial Notice; and (ii) A seemingly ‘Corruptible Evidential Omission.’ The ‘Learned Chief Justice’ wrote: ‘Although no evidence was led of this at trial, it is a matter of record that on the fateful morning of ‘December 19, 1981,’ the deceased Constable came to an untimely death’ [Paragraph 3].


His Lordship continues; ‘On February 13, 1981,’ a ‘State of Public Emergency’ had been declared following on political unrest.’ The evidence that appeared ‘Most Graphic’ may have been that of ‘Pathologist, Dr. Kareemulo.’ Unlike the apparent ‘wishy-washy’ Pathologists Reports obtained in some jurisdictions, the ‘Pathologist’ has shown a ‘Professional Thoroughness.’ His evidence states; ‘The ‘Cause of Death’ was; (a) ‘Abdominal hemorrhage and shock; (b) Resulting from a devastating shotgun blast; (c) Leaving a 5cm round wound in the left lower quadrant of the abdomen.’


This may have had profound effect on the mind of the Jury.’ The ‘Most Horrific’ in the ‘Report’ graphically states; (d) ‘It mutilated the abdominal organs; and (e) Fragmented the lumbar spine at the level of the 3rd and 4th lumbar vertebra.’ In ‘States of Public Emergency,’ however ‘Limited,’ and where ‘Constitutional Rule’ is suspended and ‘Military Rule’ supersedes, and due regard to the ‘Sanctity of Life’ could not be guaranteed, these are the deadliest of ‘Inescapabilities’ (new-used word).


Researching for this commentary, it revealed a ‘Deadly Attack’ launched by irate members of the brutal and deadly disbanded ‘Dominica Defence Force.’ In the Case; ‘State of Dominica v Newton et al,’ speaks to horrors that may come to the innocent citizen.’ The call for ‘Situational Powers,’ appeared misguided. It may have brought no amusement to members of the ‘Antigua and Barbuda Cabinet.’ Still, they could have believed that ‘Commissioner pf Police, Atlee Rodney QPM,’ had an overfill of the ‘featherless and wingless, grassy-marine four-legged- resident called- ‘Mountain Chicken.’


Condimented with ‘Chili pepper, cooked and consumed as a delicacy, the ‘froggy-delight’ reportedly came very close to extinction. Even so, Attorney-at-law ‘Charlesworth Tabor’ spoke to his delight at the famous ‘Papillote Rain Forest Restaurant’ [OECS: Commonwealth of Dominica]. Given his sanity and intellect, and a mind that appeared not to have been ‘Froggily Befuddled,’ he described the call for ‘Limited States of Emergency,’ as ‘utter nonsense’ [ABS TV: August 23, 2023].


However, be it at ‘Papillote or Marigot;’ Mountain with, or without frog or chicken; or Delicacy or ecstasy, likened to call for ‘States of Emergency Powers,’ neither; (i) ‘National Security Minister, Prime Minister Gaston Browne: (ii) Police Minister Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin; nor (iii) The ‘9-member Cabinet’ were prepared to give legislative consideration to anything called ‘Limited Emergency State of Emergency.’ Instructively, in spite of the several ‘Dreadful Hurricanes’ that have left trails of destruction on both ‘Antigua and Barbuda,’ have seen no declaration of ‘States of Emergency.


Neither has any been so declared for reasons of; (b) ‘A drastic increase in crime.’ Asserting these ‘Truths,’ none may claim a ‘Major Uptick’ in crimes have prompted the advocacy. It cannot be said that such an uptick’ was ‘Statistically Evident.’ Neither in the economically-marginalized and indigent communities on the periphery of the City of St. John’s, nor in rural and suburban communities. Having referred to ‘Emergency Measures’ obtained in ‘Jamaica,’ it shall offend enlightenment to look closely at that which was reportedly advocated by ‘Commissioner of Police Atley Rodney QPM.’


Research has shown that which were obtained in the ‘Jamaica Experience.’ For ‘SOE,’ The ‘National Security Council (NSC)’ gave considerations to specific situations such as: (i) ‘Natural disasters; (ii) Catastrophic fires; (ii) Outbreak of infectious diseases; and (iv) Drastic increase in crime’ [JIS]. That which were widely known are that; (a) ‘Likened to the rest of the international community, that nation was w stricken by the ‘Corona Virus-19 Pandemic: and (b) Constantly and continuously plagued by the rampancy of ‘Crime and Violence,’ the most prevalent of which have been; ‘Murders,’ including ‘Extra-Judicial Killings’ by members of the ‘Security Forces.’ Amnesty International’ has reported yearly statistics of ‘146 victims’ [AI].


Speaking to ‘Public Emergency,’ the authorities explained this as; ‘An extraordinary situation that poses a threat to the safety and security of a country’ [Jamaica Information Service (JIS): July 1, 2022]. The ‘JIS’ further explains this as; ‘A period during which a period which a government declares that a ‘Public Emergency’ necessitates ‘State’ empowerment to initiate actions and implement policies not normally permitted’ in a constitutional democracy. Cognizance of the violence-prone ‘Gun-toting gangsters and robbers,’ the ‘Jamaican’ authorities have published for the information and knowledge of nationals at home, as well as those in the ‘Diaspora.’


Logic therefore, dictates that responsible Governments shall always embark upon formulating measures to avert catastrophic situations.’ This has always been to gain control of the situation, that it allows for mitigation, even at the inconvenience of the citizenry. Unlike some regional ‘Strategic Communication Units,’ intending not to mislead or deceive, that which the ‘JIS’ provided for public information and knowledge’ on ‘States of Emergency,’ were these: (i) ‘When an ‘SOE’ is called, the Government grants the Security Forces ‘Temporary Additional Powers to; (ii) ‘Exercising ‘Emergency Powers,’ persons, buildings and homes were subject to search ‘Without Warrant.’


It appeared obvious, that very little of these were factored into the ‘Commissioner’s Advocacy’ for ‘Limited States of Emergency.’ As obtained in that jurisdiction, persons suspected of acts of criminality; (i) May have been arrested ‘Without Warrant;’ (ii) They shall have been detained for 7 days;’ and (iii) Operational business hours shall have been curtailed.’ The authorities provided the physical areas in which the provisions for ‘SOE had applied.’  Among the ‘Emergency Measures; the most restrictive were reported to have been; (a) A ‘Curfew’ during ‘SOE;’ and (b) Persons in the stipulated areas were required to remain inside’ [Jamaica Information Service]. 


From the ‘COVID-19 Pandemic,’ such restrictions were well known to residents of ‘Antigua and Barbuda.’ Apart from the imposed restrictions, many residents have experienced the wrath of some members of the ‘Security Forces.’ Some families were left distraught over the behavior of the ‘Security Forces,’ one family had to; (a) Prepare for a funeral to bury the dead; and (b) Medical officers had to dress the wounds of the injured, as they cared for the dying and ‘Corona Virus’ victims. The declaration of ‘States of Emergency,’ horribly reminds of the experiences, during the infectious deadly virus.’ 


A ‘Commissioner of Police’ shall ever be mindful and ever seeking to represent the ‘Police Service,’ not only of its statutory responsibilities as contained in the ‘Police Act [Sections 22 and 23: Chapter 330]. Moreover, matters that shall engage the attention of the ‘National Security Council (NSC),’ shall be formally channeled as ‘Procedural Protocols’ dictates. As it affects ‘States of Emergency,’ the moods of this body, and to a lesser extent, the ‘Cabinet, shall always be ascertained or assessed, before public disclosure. A ‘Commissioner’ in breach of this, or any other breach, runs the risk of being seen as ‘Flirting with Rejection.’ 


Though there may have been situations that speak to certain acts of criminality, the populace appeared not to have been disposed to throng the streets in protestations. Neither can it be contradicted that general public and members of the wider society, have been so provoked as to have been driven to ‘Affirmative Action.’ Sensing societal anger, outrage and wrath, the ‘Cabinet,’ led by its Chairman, Prime Minister Gaston Browne,’ incidentally, the ‘Chaiman of the NSC,’ inferentially, sided with his ‘Cabinet’ colleague in delivering an apparent ‘Ego-Shattering Blow’ to ‘Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney QPM.’ 


Obviously, more concerned with ‘Implications and Impact’ on; (a) ‘Good Governance; (b) Ensuring a peaceful stable society; and (c) Maintaining a stable Government,’ be it on ‘State-owned or social media, it was evident that ‘Cabinet Executives’ would have no imps or lesser mortals dictating matters, neither of; (a) ‘Governmental Policy; nor (b) National Security.’ A ‘Commissioner’ shall know that matters of ‘Public Emergency’ the power to determine and decide, has been vest, reserve and reside in; (i) ‘The Prime Minister; and (ii) The ‘Governor General.’  Sharpened knowledge and quick wit may only come from familiarity with that contained in the ‘Constitution Order’ [CO: 1981: Section 20]. 


While there are; (i) ‘Common Law; and (ii) Statutory Power,’ none is more powerful than ‘Constitutional Power.’ It might reasonably be inferred that members of ‘Cabinet’ have devoted time, either to read or listen to programme. Lessons shall be learned from the teachings of the ‘Antigua and Barbuda Constitutional Reform and Education (ABCRE).’ Though not necessarily directed to Law enforcers, its theme; ‘Know the Constitution; Own your freedom.’ While there are; (i) ‘Common Law; and (ii) Statutory Power,’ none is more powerful than ‘Constitutional Power.’ It might reasonably be inferred that members of ‘Cabinet’ have devoted time, either to read or listen to programme.  


While for reasons better known to the ‘House Majority,’ the rejection of the ‘Trevor Walker Private Bill’ on the ‘Oath of Allegiance’ to be pledged to the nation of ‘Antigua and Barbuda,’ ‘ABCRE’ may still feel satisfied that members within the 17-member ‘Legislative Chamber’ have been learning from, or paying attention, to its weekly-hosted-paid radio programme; ‘Constitution Corner’ [Observer Media]. While there are; (i) ‘Common Law; and (ii) Statutory Power,’ none is more powerful than ‘Constitutional Power.’ It might reasonably be inferred that members of ‘Cabinet’ have devoted time, either to read or listen to programme.’ 


Members of Cabinet, may not only have shown an administrative working knowledge of the constitutional provision, but also appeared to have been guided by wisdom and understanding. It states; ‘The Constitution is ‘The Supreme Law of Antigua and Barbuda.’ That which may also have guided the informed ‘Cabinet’s Decision,’ was the often overlooked or ignored provision that unambiguously states; ‘Except as is otherwise expressly provided in this ‘Constitution,’ NO law may; (i) ‘Abrogate: (ii) Abridge; or (iii) Infringe; or (iv) Authorize the abrogation, abridgement or infringement of ‘ANY’ of the ‘Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual; (a) Recognized; and (b) Declared’ [CO: 1981: Chapter II: and Section 19]. 


Whether or not fully, partially or inadequately resourced, ‘Cabinet’ may have been satisfied that Law enforcement had the capacity in combatting the criminal element without ‘Emergency Powers.’ That which law enforcers shall know, is that constituents of whatever societal status, have often seek to guide the thinking and actions of their area representatives. They knew not of any known, or immediate threats to the safety of the citizenry, and by extension, national Security.’


Moreover, the members of ‘Cabinet’ will have considered the well-being and comfort of the citizenry. These shall be free of the likely consequential excesses by ‘Renegade; Roguish; and Repressive’ law enforcers. Besides, law enforcers could never have informed the political directorate that there was a rampancy of, and increasing frequency of gun violence and murders, as that obtained in some regional jurisdictions. While the ‘NSC’ membership may have taken umbrage over the ‘Public Advocacy,’ that which members of ‘Cabinet’ may not have been unduly worried about, may have been the lack of ‘Alarming Lawlessness’ within the nation. 


Constantly outraging families and citizens, has been the vexatious ‘STRATCOM Repetitive Narrative,’ begging to be impregnated with truth;’ (a) ‘The deceased was in a confrontation with the Police; or (b) Under cover of darkness, had an unrecovered ‘Shiny Object.’ Undoubtedly, ‘STRATCOM’ has bettered ‘Sir Paul Richards’ King Obstinate’ ‘Shiny Eyes’’ [Antigua: 1985]. In the clearly ‘Extra-Judicial Killing’ of victims: (i) ‘Shanell Thomas (unrecovered shiny object)’ [April 10, 2022]; and (ii) Mannie James’ (Running-away/Viral video). In the most recent of alleged ‘Firing at Police Press Release,’ ‘STRACOM,’ amazingly, informed that; ‘The deceased ‘Mannie James’ was arrested and found with ‘Gunshot injuries to his body’ [ABS TV: August 2, 2023]. It was suggesting that he became ‘Felo-De-Se’ or Felon of himself (Suicide).’ 


The ‘Strategic Communication (STRATCOM),’ the most perfect name for disseminating ‘Law enforcement Accounts,’ has made a name for itself. It has often omitted the ‘Deceased Versions.’ But then, everyone knows that; ‘Dead men tell no tales.’ In Law enforcement, there comes a time when Law enforcement spokesperson shall present the ‘Police Version of Events.’ There has to be devised ‘Strategies on Communicating’ to the media. This was particularly so as the relate to; (i) ‘Crime fighting; and (ii) Police Killings.’ The latter has often escaped; (i) ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions; (ii) Attention of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP); and (iii) ‘Trials at the Criminal Assizes.’  


None were told by: (i) ‘Bruce Greenaway 43’ [April 9-13, 2020]: (ii) Unarmed prison farm- escapee, Shanell Thomas 34’ [ANR: February 9, 2022]; (iii) Suspected mentally-deranged Andrew Noyce 40’ [ANR: April 22, 2022]: and (iv) Gainfully self-employed jet ski-operator, Mannie James 45’ [August 5, 2023]. These were either killed under a ‘State of Public Emergency,’ or in the ‘State of Normalcy.’ In whichever state, one thing that appears certain, is that at the hands of some members of the ‘Security Forces,’ there will be grief and sorrow and burials near to the ‘National Heroes Park’ at Tomlinson.’


Seemingly, as ‘Mannie James’ fled from the hot-pursuit ‘JTF’ members, likened to a boomerang, his bullet circled around and struck him in the back.  This was the latest of reports, and may very well be the last of such pronouncements. Even more intriguing, has been the information that the shot victims were ‘rushed to the ‘Sir Lester Bird Medical Center (SLBMC)’ where they were ‘pronounced dead.’ Incidentally, unlike those ‘Gunned-Down Victims’ that were never seen on the run, ‘Mannie James’ could have been seen ‘Running Like a Hare,’ from its prey. Subsequently, his apparent lifeless body was seen being dragged along the ‘Grays/Green Street.’  


In every sphere of human life, people shall be availed of time for interacting and socializing with others. The same is true of ‘Law enforcement.’  For instance, there shall be time for ‘Crime Fighting,’ as there shall be time for resting. A time for dancing to the African song-Jerusalema: and a time for; (i) ‘Police Week activities, allowing for fun and frolic; (ii) A time for hiking in the bushes overlooking English Harbor; equally as much as; (iii) There shall be time for ‘Searching’ the bushes for ‘Missing Persons.’ Most of all; (iii) ‘There shall be time for ‘Female Beauty Contests; as there shall; (iv) Be time for hosting a ‘Male Police Beauty Contest.’ Dependent upon his ‘Beauty’ and attributes, privilege information has revealed that ‘Constable Jain Benta, ‘Orderly to Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney QPM,’ may cap one of the Segments or positions.’ There may be cause for a ‘State of Emergency,’ if ‘Dame Sherese or Washie,’ failed a place in the ‘All Male Pageantry.’

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  1. If any reasonable or prudent or intelligent person in general and those within the field of criminology, criminal justice, police science and social science in general reads this and not want to grant an award to the writer, then it is clear evidence they do not fit into any of the categories I mentioned.

    The national security council does not include one person with an advance degree in criminology, criminal justice, psychology, social science, or other vitally important and related field of study.

    I want before I die, to see positions on Antigua filled with those who have spend reasonable time learning and advancing their knowledge within the field in which they are in high position. I want to see people with those advance degrees and or exceptional abilities as described in Department of Homeland Security regulatory criteria (as granted to me).

    How can there be an Antiguan National Security Council but it is not made up of folks who are trained in intelligence and data gathering and analysis, and national security matters?

    This is why I have since been advocating for an Intelligence and National Security Unit, either within the police department or a completely separate law enforcement agency.

    This Unit must be made up of those with advance degrees and training in criminal justice statistics, criminology, psychology, police science, law, intelligence and national security are just a few of the educational requirements.

    This unit will be paid substantially more, to encourage other law enforcement staff to aim high to be recruited into the INSU. This eliminates the stagnation constantly mentioned in other law enforcement agencies on Island. It will also be the motivation officers need to work hard in their current job to be invited into a prestigious and elite INSU (unit).

    You can not have a National Security Council without professional data/intelligence collectors and data/intelligence analysts. How on earth does the NSC makes pragmatic and calculated decisions? Is it just base om their feelings?

    There are people available with advance degrees and or exceptional abilities in the sciences but they are not able to be placed in positions that they even qualify for more than the people who decides if they get the position. What on earth is going on in Antigua?

    Anyway, I tremendously enjoyed reading this article, and in agreement to the pith of the article. I am not even sure I could have said it any better.

    I want to see the first politician to truly care for their citizens by putting qualifies people in the positions they qualify for. It is why immediately after graduating overseas, students tend to stay away from Antigua and Barbuda because your training, education, and experiences will not be used in Antigua and Barbuda, if you do not have a connection to the politicians in power. And even then it may still not ne used because they already have untrained and unqualified persons in the positions.

    I do not mind those folks who are currently in the National Security Council to be in it but it MUST also be comprised of experts in criminology, national security and intelligence, etcetera.

    Separately, I am demanding for competent retired police officers to be used as auxiliary officers to observe and report information to INSU. It is not officers who gets the best data but community members who are always in the community and knows the community.

    State of emergency powers cannot easily be justified and impossible to be justified when there are basic steps that can be taken to secure the public, and national security but they have not be taken.

    I promise you I am not happy having to express major incompetence in the police force and the politicians in charge of them, but I need to say it, in hopes that my words will cause a positive change.

    And as I write this, I realize the main blames are not to be placed on the police officers. They did not get the training and resources they vitally need. But I do believe they, police officers, should be reasonable enough to accept they are not near the basic standard required for a regular police officer. They were not given proper training.

    I do believe all police officers who can take life, take away people’s freedom, must be fully trained at the level of an Attorney in specific areas. Those are in criminal procedures (constitutional law), criminal law, administrative law, rule of evidence, professional responsibility, remedies, torts. You can not have a gun and be an officer and not score at the below the level of an attorney. You must know when your power as an officer in law enforcement is justified for use. You can not know it without these things, the physical training and psychological test pass.

    To be commissioner, it should no longer be base solely on years in force and who you know but on education, achievements and accomplishments in years of service in related fields. It must be base on the person’s ability to do the job.

    Well, a lot of people will say that back then folks could not afford to travel overseas to get these advanced degree of education and experience but now, we have these kinds of people. I am demanding for the first political party to start to use them. Who will be the first political party to use merit as a deciding factor in fulfilling positions? I have no clue.

    Anyway, it is time for us to make Antigua and Barduda as safe as it can be, and sadly, it is not as safe as it could be.

    Please see the above article for other relevant and important information from a former Antigua and Barbuda police Commissioner.

    It is clear it is not only me who thinks we cam do better, and basing it on actual facts and science.

  2. It was like reading two articles. I like the idea of the retired police still being of service. I would blame officers and hold them accountable for the things they do. You can have all the education in the world, but you need common sense.

    You can even train a dog to understand right from wrong. let us hold them accountable for their actions. Then just maybe they will think twice about doing some of the ridiculous, hartless things they do.

    I really enjoyed reading that comment. It was well written. I was encouraged to keep reading.

  3. “This commentary, in content, is lengthily extensive”
    Did Mr.Pompey,,actually type this statement?
    Mr.Pompey,,,we’ve come to expect,, nothing less.
    You are never,,,short-n-sweet.
    This was long and especially,,sweet,coming from an Ex top cop,,slicing and dicing the now,,top cop,,ever so tastefully.
    I don’t think,now top cop will even realize he’s cut and bleeding.

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