ONDCP staff speak out against decision to fully reinstate the Assistant Director of Operations

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

PRESS RELEASE

We the employees of the Office of the National Drug & Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP) in conjunction with and on the advice of our bargaining agent the Antigua and Barbuda Trades & Labour Union (ABTLU), wish to inform the Government and the General Public that the Press Release issued by the Director of the ONDCP, Lt. Col. Edward Croft on (June 02nd, 2022) does NOT represent the beliefs and opinions of the general staff body of the ONDCP and we in no way support or condone the decision made by the Leadership of the ONDCP in fully reinstating the Assistant Director of Operations.

It is our opinion that the disciplinary process was flawed, and the disciplinary measures recommended were inconclusive and not at all indicative of the grave and heinous nature of the actions taken by said Assistant Director.

Instead, they are viewed as nothing more than a slap on the wrist for what should have been dealt with as a serious and criminal offense.

As representatives of this organization, we are called to and held accountable at a higher standard than our fellow law enforcement agencies and if we are to maintain this standard, then a firm stance must be taken as an employee body when a Manager/High Ranking Official commits an act that seeks to destroy the credibility and good name that we, the employees of the ONDCP, have and continue to strive so hard to create and maintain.

As an Agency we are not without the issues that plague most Government Institutions –  we too struggle year after year dealing with inadequate working conditions; lack of appropriate funding to provide us with the tools to function at even a basic level; the failure to provide appropriate compensation; lack of policies to actually protect us as human resources in which the Government invests; and the failure to ensure an empowering working environment that promotes the growth required to efficiently and effectively function as an organization.

All this, however, while expecting us to churn out the very best of the best in results.

As professionals, being passionate about the duties we perform, we have sought to find creative ways to work around these obstacles as best as we can so that the job can get done. Unfortunately, rather than seeing this value in its staff body and seeking to enable our efforts, we are told, that what we do is expected of us and what we are being paid for. We have sought to resolve our issues internally, but this is the “straw that has broken the camel’s back”.

As human beings, we are not void of the moral compass that would somehow numb us down to the likes of “sheep to the slaughter” and as such we cannot and will not be part of an organization whose leadership pacifies the acts of its high-ranking officials, while terrorizing the minor misgivings of its junior employees.  We will not be part of an organization whose “Massa/Slave” mentality seeks to ensure that rather than building the resources entrusted to the organization to the benefit of the Government, the Country, and the Public that we serve, we are subjected to a “do as I say or suffer the consequences” mindset.

We will not be forced as instructed in a general staff meeting to “give the necessary respect to said individual in his capacity as Manager/Assistant Director” or to work with said individual in an untrusting and uncomfortable environment, when said individual did not at any time consider the consequences of his actions, behavior, rank or duty to either the Government who employs him, the General Public he serves or the institution he represented prior to his threats, admonitions and confessions as well as his blatant misuse of the government resources entrusted to him.

It is the opinion of the staff compliment of the ONDCP, that this individual has brought great shame, reproach, and disappointment to the name and employees of this organization and the principles by which we are governed and for which we stand.

He has shattered any trust and confidence that the public we serve may have had in our integrity as officials entrusted with their safety and the safety of our borders, and the precedent set here reflects poorly not only on the Leadership of the ONDCP, but on all investigating parties and sadly the Ministers of Government who govern the Ministries to which we report and are commissioned.

We wish like our fellow Law Enforcement agencies to distance ourselves from this kind of behavior or anyone that perpetrates this kind of conduct within our ranks and send a clear message that we will not tolerate on any level this clear disregard for the value of human life, disrespect, discrimination, or domestic abuse of any kind towards women and the blatant violation of the guidelines that govern the ONDCP and its members.

We ask for the support of our Union, the General Public and Ministers of Government to correct this infraction and bring calm to the unrest that currently persists within the ONDCP, while reassuring the public, that its law enforcement entities, seek not only to enforce the law but to be governed by the same.

Respectfully,

The Staff-The Office of National Drug & Money Laundering Control Policy (ONDCP).

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