Monday, January 13, 2020
EDITOR, The Tribune
The recent comments by the Minster of National Security in relation to the Commissioner of Police and other senior career officers at the annual service for the RBPF’S, to say the least was inappropriate and disrespectful.
I need not and will not say more in respect to that particular issue as other commentators have rightfully, publicly expressed the inappropriateness of his behaviour.
I will, however, make a general observation about the manner in which the Minister of National Security approaches his role as the political head in charge of the various uniform branches and which might explain his fondness for making these ill-considered public rants disguised as ministerial commentary.
In my view, he approaches his role as Minister of National Security in a manner indicative of a plain old political bully and is symptomatic of one who is intoxicated with the political power that perhaps unexpectedly fell in his lap.
He too often throws his political weight around when dealing with, or publicly speaking about Senior Officers of the Police, Prison and Defence Forces or when dealing with the Human Resources component of these branches generally.
His constant public commentary and angry rants of their imminent departure from the force and that they are nothing more than just bodies/occupants that are just passing through in their role as career officers is not only disrespectful, but is, in my opinion, just another form of political bullying and ministerial abuse.
Individuals in these careers, ought to be shown a degree of respect and support by the Minister.
They ought not to be publicly disgraced by being told they are just bodies/occupants that are just passing through in their role as career officers. How are such comments expected to build moral and zeal among the rank and file throughout the uniform branches?
What public purpose or value does it serve for officers to be constantly told or threatened publicly with removal or retirement from office?
If it is the Government or this Minister’s desire to have a particular individual(s) politically promoted or appointed to a particular post, there are other, less disgraceful, but disgraceful nonetheless, means available to the Government or the minister to achieve this political end.
I would think that every senior officer on the force whose retirement is approaching is fully aware or ought to be fully aware that he or she is approaching retirement. They, or their imminent retirement or departure, need not be the subject of the Minister’s rage at public events
The Minister appears not to know his role. He is part of the policy making arm of the Government and if it’s the Government’s desire that there should be a particular succession plan in place this ought to be officially communicated by a policy communication to the Commissioner and his Executive team.
They, subject to the relevant statutory enactments, are mandated to put in the place an administrative procedure that achieve these objectives.
It is also not the Minister’s role, nor does he have the power to tell an employee when and where to take a vacation, nor is it the Minister’s role to transfer an employee where and when he sees fit.
There is no need for the Minister of National Security, in the fashion he has become accustomed, to publicly broadcast which officers should prepare for retirement or prepare to move on or out.
Matters of this nature ought to be addressed in private briefings with the concerned officers in the appropriate settings, and at the appropriate time and place a well prepared public communication is then released by the Public Relations arm of the force informing the public of any such departures or retirements.
The Minster of National Security must muster the discipline to abstain from meddling in the various uniform branches and if he cannot resist the urge to do so, rather than disturbing and threatening the career path and advancement of officers, he ought to focus more attention on addressing the abusive manner some police officers in the course of purportedly performing their duties, treat the public.
CLAUDE B HANNA
January 9, 2020