Not infrequently, law enforcers have been seen as trespassing on the tolerance of members of the society. This may have been the case when the organizers had complied with statutory requirements and applied on ‘July 20, 2021’ for a permit to march on ‘August 8, 2021.’ It has been long recognized that those who enforce law have invariably been accused of excesses or have exercised authority stupidly and with impunity. That which has been proven might be discern from this statement; ‘For every action, there is an equal, but opposite reaction.’ Though this has been a term associated with physics, applied to conformity with law, it could make the actions of a ‘Commissioners of Police’ look grossly incompetent or totally ignorant.
Last ‘Monday, August 8, 2022,’ marked one year since the atmosphere in, and around the ‘City of St. John’ was fumigating and stiflingly choking from smoke emissions. The eventful day saw scores of protesting citizens, showing defiance and dissatisfaction with the ‘Suspect Refusal’ by ‘Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney QPM,’ in granting ‘Freedom Fighters’ organizers ‘Donette Simon 34 and Shenel Williams 29,’ a Permit to march along the streets of St. John’s When defiant protesters gathered in ‘St. John’s,’ the response by the ‘Police Tactical Unit’ was swift, decisive and dramatic. This was made very evident when ‘Vaccines Protesters’ converged on St. John’s’ [Sunday: August 8, 2021].
Identified as leaders of the ‘Freedom Fighters, Donette Simon 29 and Shenel Williams 34,’ came to the attention of law enforcers. On ‘Monday August 9, 2022,’ it also marked one year since Organizers of an unauthorized public march have been arrested. Incidentally, before the residual teargas fumes had dissipated from the ‘Market Square’ and periphery of the southern city environs, the two females were facing criminal charges under the ‘Public Order Act.’ Over one year later, for the simple Summary offences, the trial is yet to complete. Both were said to have been senselessly bounded hand and foot in metal restraints by overzealous officers. Whisked away from the comfort of their St. John’s homes, they were reportedly accommodated in sub-human conditions then existed in the ‘Police Holding Cells’ [ANR: Tuesday, August 10, 2021].
As citizens continue to reflect on the harrowing experiences and ordeal, there appeared to have been nothing to discourage them from describing the ill=fated gathering as ‘Smoky Sunday.’ Firstly, this commentary briefly looks at the impact of measures for the prevention and spread of the ‘Covid-19 Pandemic’ that led to protestations. It looks at; (a) …The unfolding events of ‘Teargas and Rubber Projectiles; (b) …Public Order Act’ [Chapter 357]; (c) … Requirements of persons applying for permission to hold public march and/or meetings; (d) Duty and administrative responsibilities of the Commissioner of Police: and (e) …Appellate provision as contained in the said Act.’ It also looks at; (f) …The apparent ‘Perjurious Behavior’ of Law enforcers; and; (g) The apparent ‘Unlawful Arrest’ of the two females; (i) ‘…Donette Simon; and (ii) Shenel Williams.’
When the ‘Caronavirus-19 Pandemic’ visited upon the nation, it was more than tragically eventful. It saw ‘Restrictions,’ as well as the ‘Repressive Behavior’ of certain members of the ‘Security Forces. Given its deadly nature,’ understandably so, the citizenry saw the implementation of several stringent measures. They have seen the compulsory wearing of face masks in public spaces. They have also seen physical, social and religious distancing being reduced to six feet. In some instances, they have seen curtailment on gatherings and the reduction to 10, the number of persons that may be in a group.
Though they have seen restrictions on their freedom of movement, resulted from a ‘Dusk-to-dawn Curfew,’ few queried the reason. Even so, given the purposes for the measures, citizens in significant numbers, fully appreciated the need for their implementation. The administration’s position on the ‘Vaccine Mandate’ and protection of the national health, were well and widely known. This necessarily meant that citizens were to be vaccinated in order to access certain governmental institutions and/or to retain their public service jobs. There was widespread hesitancy, as there were objections and protestations.
While the ‘Vaccine Mandate’ became a hotly-debated issue, citizens became more mortally afraid of the behavior of some members of the ‘Security Forces’ than of the deadly ‘Coronavirus.’ This has not only caused disquiet among the citizenry, but also seen as among their worst fears. Firstly, the citizenry has seen Churches being forced under lock-down. They would have heard of the experiences of ‘Church Pastor Uriah Taylor’ as having been ‘Snatched’ from the pulpit, and congregants from the Church. They were accounted for in Police holding cells’ [March 29, 2020].
Incidentally, when ‘Falmouth resident Bruce Greenaway’ ‘Mysteriously Disappeared,’ having been taken into custody for a ‘Curfew Violation.’ When his lifeless body ended up on a beach in the surrounding area of his community, the citizenry became perturbed and outraged [March 9, 2020]. The members of the ‘Black Squadders’ continue to give citizens reasons to feel that their ‘Actions’ have been overbearingly repressive and ‘Extra-Judicially Punishing.’ Such feelings appeared to have been increased when ‘Bruce Greenaway’s’ partially-decomposed body was discovered at the remote and desolate ‘Indian Creek Beach’ shoreline [April 13, 2020].
SANCTITY OF LIFE
Such discovery was made some ‘3 miles’ from his ‘Falmouth Residence,’ and ‘some 2 miles’ from the secluded ‘Security Outpost’ he was reportedly taken after his detention. Media reports suggested that he was temporarily held by a unit that brought notoriety to the combined ‘Security Forces-Police: Military; Customs; and Immigration. Even as three members of these agencies have been charged with his death [ANR: June 4, 2020], it has brought little comfort to his bereaved children, family, friends, members of the surrounding communities, and those with high regard and respect for the ‘Sanctity of Life.’
RULE OF LAW
When citizens speak to the ’Rule of Law,’ they speak to a concept and principle, where in a democracy, a ‘State, its citizens, institutions, agencies and agents’ are subject to the dictates of Law.’ From this perspective, human civilization and the unpredictable nature and behavior of man, dictates that there shall be measures for ‘Social Control.’ None shall deny that enforcement of law necessarily involves two concepts: (i) ‘Letter of Law; and (ii) Spirit of Law.’ It has been for these reasons that the concept ‘Rule of Law,’ shall prevail in all democratic and civil societies. This nation is no exception. In the case of the ‘Letter,’ it is expected that when Law is disobeyed, the ‘Law’ might be enforced as intended and statutorily enacted.
SPIRIT OF LAW
Conversely, in the case of the ‘Spirit of Law,’ this speaks to a functional approach to enforcement, tempered with tolerance, restraint and professional discretion. This is so, when the nature and gravity of a criminal act does not, in a significant way, outrage the public conscience or offend public interest, safety and order. The citizenry was often seen as being subjected to the wrath of the untrained, uncouth and overly-officious and obnoxious law enforcer. These were often the ones often seen as among the most dangerous threat’ to; (a) ‘Citizen existence; (b) Personal liberty; (c) Freedoms- expression; movement and association; (d) Safety and protection and by extension, the ‘Rule of Law.’
REALM OF LAW
As it relates to law enforcers, irrespective of rank, be it ‘Constable or Commissioner,’ the Statute compels law enforcers to act within the ‘Realm of Law.’ From professional knowledge, these were either the ones not sufficiently familiar with provisions contained in law, or when positionally placed, allowed themselves to be subjected to manipulation. Invariably these law enforcers, for reasons of uncertainty of tenure and a desire to remain relevant or to be in ‘Good Graces,’ often abandoned professionalism to serve interests not contained in the ‘Sacred Oath of Office.’ In developing this point, it was considered useful to look at the ‘Subscriptive Oath’ for all serving members within the nation’s ‘Police Service.’
INSULATED BY OATH
Few law enforcers appeared to have stopped for a moment to think of the ‘Oath of Office.’ That which most appeared not to know, is that they have been ‘Insulated by Oath’ from the dictates of those in control of the political environment. Likened to all other ‘Commissioners of Police,’ in clearly defined and understandable language, the Oath states; ‘I Attlee Rodney do swear, that I will well and truly serve ‘Our Sovereign Lady the Queen,’ without favor or affection malice or (d) Ill-will.’ Ensuring that law enforcers understand their role and responsibility, it continues; (a) ‘…I will cause Her Majesty’s Peace to be preserved; (b) …I will prevent to the utmost of my power, offences against the same; and (c) …I will to the best of my knowledge and skill discharge all the duties thereof, according to LAW’ [Section 17: Police Act: Chapter 330].
The ‘Riot Squads’ were said to have been more ‘Riotously Combative’ than the missile-throwing protesters. Observingly, the ‘Squadders’ have not only displayed expected tactical traits, but seemingly with inferential excess zeal, intolerance and insensitivity, aggressively pursued and unleashed a fury, consistent with that reportedly exacted upon the people of ‘Grenada’ by the notorious ‘Sir Eric Matthew Gairy Mongoose Gang’ [Grenada: 1967-1979]. Instructively, in the event of violence or other infractions of law, necessitating criminal prosecutions, ‘Banners’ displayed may have been seen as an ineffective means of communication. Unexpectedly, the protesters and -on-lookers were on the receiving end of the ‘Tactical Fury’ of the ‘riot-ready personnel.’
Instructively, even with physical evidence of injuries, ‘ABS TV News’ anchors merely reported that ‘protesters had an array of grouses including opposition to wearing of masks and nightly curfew’ [May 10, 2020]. Demonstrating a pre-planned intentional act of ‘Aggression and Excesses,’ the ‘Police Tactical Unit’ was well prepared and ready to ‘Move Mountain.’ This was made abundantly clear that ‘Disproportionate Force’ was to be used against unarmed citizens, peacefully, yet defiantly gathered downtown. Whether or not by calculation, common design or inadvertence, a ‘Commissioner’s role, function and responsibility are clearly defined in the ‘Public Order Act.’ Whether or not persons on the trucks or on the streets were ‘Literate or Illiterate,’ it was made very clear that those gathered would suffer physical consequences.
LITERATE OR ILLITERATE
There were to be discomfort and pain. Though the truck engines intimidatingly revved and appeared not to have caused panic, they indeed, brought terror and injected fear into the hearts of those gathered downtown [August 8, 2021]. Video footage showed the trucks bearing ‘Banners’ tersely worded for all to see, but only for the literate to read- ‘Disperse.’ As the trucks reportedly closed in on the protesters and onlookers, the cracking sounds of ‘Police Teargas Guns’ deafeningly rang out. They emitted fire, chemicalized fumes and smoke. The smoke-filled atmosphere seemingly ill-advisedly created under the guise of maintaining ‘Public Order,’ has long been dissipated.
PRESENCE AND WRATH
This occurred when the ‘Police Riot Squad’ reportedly discharged several volleys of ‘Tear Gas and Rubber Projectiles’ into the gathered protesters. That which seemed to have provoked angst in the citizenry has been the apparent heavy-handed and brutal behavior of ‘Squadders.’ When the ‘Police Riot Squad’ let its ‘Presence and Tactical Wrath’ felt, it was the day– ‘Sunday 8, 2021,’ they moved in to disperse those gathered for a possible ‘Unauthorized March.’ That day, pandemonium broke out around the ‘Sir Vere Cornwall Bird Bust.’ Resting peacefully at the ‘Tomlinson National Heroes Park,’ he could neither have moved, nor could his ‘Market Square Bust’ prevent that which was to be descended upon defiant protesters and innocent and curious by-standers.
The smoke-filled atmosphere was attributed firstly to fumes emitted from the exhaust systems of two heavy-duty-diesel-fueled dump trucks. These were being used by the now fearsome ‘Police Tactical Unit.’ Frightened and terror-stricken protesters and curious onlookers of men, women, several said to have been in a state of pregnancy, and children quickly ran for cover. Even as they were forcibly made to vacate the Square, in hot pursuit, they were reportedly ‘Peppered with Rubber Projectiles.’ On that day, in a rather extra-ordinary show of strength, resolve and force, the ‘Police Riot Squad,’ under the command of ‘Assistant Superintendent James ‘Jimmy’ Tongue,’ ensured that no activity not approved by ‘Commissioner of Police, Atlee Rodney QPM,’ took place.
DRAMA AND CONFUSION
Adding to the Sunday afternoon ‘Drama and Confusion’ were said to have been several uniformed officers initially deployed on crowd control duty. Caught between the protesters and ‘Riot Squads,’ was said to be a small contingent of ‘Crowd Control Officers.’ With burning and reddened eyes, tripping and falling on each other, everyone, protesters, by-standers and ‘Crowd Control Police officers, reportedly ran in all directions. Overwhelmed by the fumes of teargas fumes and searching for escape routes, those officers reportedly ran as quickly as hares trying to escape the deadly jaws of a pack of hungry lions.
WRATH OF RIOT SQUAD
Overwhelmed by choking fumes of tear-gas, saw persons of all ages frantically scattered in all directions in desperate attempts to escape the ‘Wrath of the Riot Squad.’ Instructively, protesters reportedly running from the ‘Tactical Fury’ of the ‘Market Square,’ were said to have been under hot pursuit. Angry protesters were alleged to have retaliated with whatever missiles were available to halt its advances. Peppered with ‘Rubber Projectiles,’ protesters reportedly lit used tires, thereby creating the spectacle of a glowing inferno in downtown, St. John’s. Today, that which transpired on the ‘Event-filled Sunday,’ continues to evoke memories in those that still feel deeply aggrieved over the repressive action of the ‘Police Tactical Unit.’
AGGRESSION AND EXCESSES
Instructively, even with physical evidence of injuries, ‘ABS TV News’ anchors merely reported that ‘protesters had an array of grouses including opposition to wearing of masks and nightly curfew’ [May 10, 2020]. Demonstrating a pre-planned intentional act of ‘Aggression and Excesses,’ the ‘Police Tactical Unit’ was well prepared and ready to ‘Move Mountain.’ This was made abundantly clear that ‘Disproportionate Force’ was to be used against unarmed citizens, peacefully, yet defiantly gathered downtown. Whether or not by calculation, common design or inadvertence, a ‘Commissioner’s role, function and responsibility are clearly defined in the ‘Public Order Act.’
CHAOS AND CONFUSION
In the heat of excitement and amidst, ‘Chaos and Confusion,’ an overall commander shall maintain control of his ‘Tactical Units.’ This, of course comes with exposure to the requisite ‘Tactical and Use of Force Training.’ Such training is of critical importance, particularly in dealing with non-violent protesters. This is so especially when protesters, though boisterous, angry or rowdy, but unarmed. This necessarily calls for civility, flexibility and restraint. These often avert untoward events, regrettable actions and criminal and litigious consequences. Moreover, these may ultimately avert culpability that may result from; (a) ‘Coroner’s Inquisitions; (b) Public Inquiries; and (c) Criminal Trials.’
MISUSE OF PROCESS
Not infrequently, the ‘Magistracy’ has been accused of allowing egregious ‘Misuse of Process,’ by law enforcers, starved of professional ethics and scruples. Even more ‘Stranger than Fiction,’ their homes had been rummaged by officers far removed from the protestation. Though ‘Warrants to Search’ were issued, it may have been under circumstances that begged for ‘Truth and Justification.’ The issuing ‘Magistrates’ may have been ‘Unsuspectingly Duped.’ It was obvious that officers applying for, and obtaining the ‘Warrants to Search’ their premises, had committed the serious ‘Act of Perjury.’ This has often been the case, when ‘Magistrates’ failed to grill officers on the veracity of the ‘Information’ to be sworn.
A circumspect and discerning ‘Magistrate’ shall have seen a disconnection between; (i) ‘A public order offence’ [Chapter 357]; (ii) Firearm and ammunition offence’ [Chapter 171]: and (iii) Illegal possession of controlled drug offence.’ A Magistrate may have been ‘Unsuspectingly Duped.’ Acting on ‘Sworn Information,’ if so sworn, had reportedly issued a ‘Warrant to Search.’ It is usually actions like these that not only provide for crooked cops, but also perjurious and roguish behavior. None may deny that there have recently been manifestations of such, when two law enforcers have been charged, prosecuted and properly convicted of ‘Corruption in Public Office’ [ABS TV/Radio: May 13, 2022].
None of the items sworn to were found and no charges relating to illegal possession were slapped against those identified as organizing the gathering. In fact, no march had even commenced. An applicant so sworn to such information knowing that he was dealing with matters of ‘Public Order and Public Safety,’ may have committed the serious indictable criminal offence of ‘Perjury.’ From professional law enforcement practice and familiarity with the ‘Public Order Act,’ when the suspected organizers were arrested, neither had contravened any of the provisions contained in the Act. Besides neither was anywhere near, at or in the vicinity of the ‘Sir Vere Cornwall Bird Bust at Market Square’ [Monday, August 9, 2021]. Thus, the arresting officer runs the risk of being cited for ‘Perjury,’ should he testified on Oath to the events of Sunday [August 8, 2021].
CUFFED HANDS – SHACKLED FEET
The two female defendants may have been given reasons to feel distraught over the indiscretions and insensitivity shown by the arresting officer, denying them opportunities to feel hygienically fresh. Additionally, the indignities and humiliation suffered and psychological harm and anxieties experienced, were more of concerns to the citizenry, than of that which prosecutorally looms. Compounded these were the ‘Cuffed Hands and Shackled Feet.’ Such treatment could easily be frowned upon as that the ‘Constitution Order’ prohibits. This speaks to ‘…Degrading and inhuman treatment’ [CO: 1981: Section 7]. Criminal investigators know that such restraining instruments are applied only to the hands that are violent and feet that seem as quick as those of renowned ‘Jamaica and Olympic Sprinter, Usain Bolt.’
Instructively, the two females ‘Donette Simon and Shenel Williams’ have been charged with committing offences under the ‘Public Order Act.’ Yet their respective homes were searched for items not connected to ‘Public Order or Public Safety’ [POA: Section 12]. The search for items unrelated to the public march included; (a) ‘Illegal concealment of Firearms and Ammunition; and (b) …Unlawful possession of Controlled Drugs.’ Yet ‘Unlawfully Arrested,’ the two females said to have been suspected of organizing what was intended to be a public march, suffered indignities and inhuman treatment when they hand and foot-cuffed for a ‘Non-Violent Offence’ [August 9, 2021].
It is to public knowledge that some law enforcers, smarting under the guise of ‘Law enforcement,’ have done the unthinkable. Thus, with punishing spite and impunity, a small minority, without justification, have brought unbearable pain and discomfort to the law-abiding, and not so law-abiding citizens. The recent complaints of gun assault, brutalization and ‘Unlawful Arrests’ by ‘Police officers’ on ‘Sister-Isle Barbuda’ by the son of ‘Woman Police Constable Bonnie John-De Souza, Kenny Morris 22 and fellow-Barbudan Shackeal Yearwood 24,’ make the point’ [Observer: June 25, 2022].
JUDICIAL NOTICE – COMPENSATORY JUSTICE
The allegations have been given ‘Judicial Notice’ by ‘Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh.’ Appearing on trial for ‘Suspect Charges’ of ‘Beating and Resisting Police,’ the ‘Court reportedly found no merit. Consequently, the charges were dismissed, thereby opening an avenue for ‘Compensatory Justice.’ The constitutional provisions states; ‘Any person who is unlawfully arrested or detained by any other person shall be entitled to compensation for such unlawful arrest or detention from any person or authority on whose behalf the person making the arrest or effecting the detention was acting, or from them both’ [CO: 1981: Section 5 (7)]. This has been a judicial route successfully traveled by attorney-a-law ‘Vere Bird III’ for ‘Unlawful Arrest. He was awarded ‘Judgment’ in the hefty sum of EC$150, 000 […].
As it affects the ‘Public Order Act,’ it might easily be inferred that ‘Parliament Anticipated’ that an applicant may instantaneously wish to ‘Organize a Public March.’ The Parliamentarians knew that a ‘Commissioner of Police,’ necessarily needs time for consideration, planning and deployment of a sufficient number of personnel to ensure; (i) ‘The preservation of public order; and (ii) Interest of public safety.’ Parliamentary wisdom caused them to insert; ‘Any Persson who desires to organize any public march, shall, at least 3 days before the day of such march, apply to the ‘Commissioner of Police for a permit’ [POA: Section 11]. Only a docile, exploitable and figurehead Commissioner of Police, may not understand this provision.
GRANT OR REFUSE: GROUNDS
The ‘Act’ makes it sufficiently clear for even a ‘Rookie Constable’ to understand, and at all material times, to act lawfully, professionally and responsibly. An applicant that wishes to; (a) ‘Organize: (b) Lead: or (c) Take part in any public march,’ shall first obtain a permit to be issued by the ‘Commissioner of Police’ [Section 10: Public Order Act: Chapter 357]. The ‘statutory provisions allow a discretionary power for a ‘Commissioner of Police’ to grant or refuse a permit. That which shall be given acute considerations are: (i) ‘Public order: and (ii) …Interest of public safety’ [Section 5: Public Order Act: Chapter 357].
DISSATISFACTION AND DEFIANCE
Lest it be misunderstood, the ‘Public Order Act’ provides for a ‘Commissioner of Police’ to ‘Grant or Refuse’ a permit to any law-abiding citizen to; (i) ‘…Hold public march; (ii) …Hold public meeting; or (iii) …Use a public address system.’ Identified as the organizers, ‘Donette Simon or Shenel Williams’ were said to have been fully compliant with the law’ [Section 11]. Consequently, the Organizers contended that the ‘Refusal’ in granting a permit [Section 12], together with the denial of an opportunity to file ‘an Appeal’ [Section 40], the decision of ‘Commissioner of Police Atlee Patrick Rodney QPM,’ had fueled ‘Dissatisfaction and Defiance.’
REFUSAL AND DENIAL
It has been felt that it was the last-minute ‘Refusal and Denial’ of the opportunity to appeal the decision of the Commissioner of Police’ [Section 40]. Such was said to have incensed both the organizers and protesters. This may have been easily discerned from this statement; ‘It is apparent that his late response was a calculated and deliberate act by the Police Commissioner, since he knew that his decision can be appealed to the Minister responsible for the Police’ [Barbados Today: August 8, 2021]. That statement was said to have been contained in a letter to the media by the ‘Freedom Fighters.’
In the event a ‘Commissioner of Police’ shall have been influenced by the environment, or for reasons known only to himself, conscientious Parliamentarians carefully inserted into the Act and ‘Appellate Provision.’ It states; ‘Any person who is dissatisfied with the refusal of the Commissioner of Police to grant a permit under this Act, or with the terms of such permit, may within ‘7 DAYS,’ of being notified of the decision, ‘APPEAL’ in writing to the Minister’ [Section 40]. A Commissioner of Police’ shall know that such period is ‘Statute-Barred.’ Therefore, he/she shall respond in a timely manner.
Instructively, the ‘Minister’ with responsibility for ‘Public Safety’ may have found himself in the most awkward, if not complex situations. Such awkwardness and such complexity seemed to have resulted from the multiple positions then held. For instance, he was the nation’s; (i) ‘Attorney General: (ii) …Principal Legal Adviser to the Government: (iii) …Minister of Justice and Legal Affairs: (iv) …Minister for the Police; (v): Minister for the maintenance of ‘Law and Order [POA: Section 2]; and (vi) …Acting Prime Minister.’
Professionally viewed from two perspectives; (i) ‘Administrative; and (ii) Enforcement,’ the turn of events, undoubtedly, speaks to defiance to the ‘Rule of Law.’ Even more troubling may have been the delayed response that effectively denied the organizers an opportunity to appeal to the ‘Public Safety Minister Steadroy ‘Cutie Benjamin.’ Consequent upon the behavior of the ‘Police high command, it appeared inexcusable, having received the application [July 20, 2021] for the organizing and holding a ‘Public March.’ For instance, having prepared the dated letter of ‘August 5, 2021’ and delivered on ‘Friday August 6, 2021,’ such speaks to nothing short of a ‘Serious Administrative Glitch.’
Responding merely two days before the event, even ‘Balaam Donkey’ [NIV: Numbers 22: 21] may have argued that it was outrageous, unacceptable, unethical. In other quarters, this may have been seen as a decision ‘Corruptible Pregnant.’ Instructively, holding these positions, ‘Public Safety Minister, ‘Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin’ may not have been properly positioned to entertain an appeal. Had the appellate course been pursued the ‘Dissatisfied Appellants’ would have been appealing in futility to; (i) ‘The principal legal adviser to the Government; (ii) Police Minister; and (iii) Acting Prime Minister.’ The additional positional resulted when the substantive holder of the office, ‘Prime Minister Gaston Browne’ was reported to have travelled overseas on a working vacation.
In fact, media reports indicated that the ‘National Security Minister’ had travelled to the neighboring island of St. Lucia’ [Government Website: August 5, 2021]. Such travel was dual-purpose. Firstly, he was to attend the swearing-in ceremony for newly-elected ‘St. Lucia Prime Minister Phillip Joseph Pierre.’ Then at the end of which, he along with wife Maria Browne and ‘Member of Parliament’ were to proceed on a one-week vacation.’ The same news report states; ‘Before departing, Prime Minister Browne received a ‘Security Briefing’ from ‘Commissioner Atlee Rodney and Deputy Chief of Defence Staff of the Antigua and Barbuda Defence Force, Lieutenant Trevor Pennyfeather’ [GOVT Website: August 5, 2021].
DISTANCING AND COUNTENANCING
Instructively, ‘Prime Minister Gaston Browne,’ who has ministerial responsibility for ‘National Security,’ sought to ‘Distance’ his administration from the actions of ‘Commissioner of Police Atlee Rodney QPM.’ In a social media video-recorded statement, he may have unwittingly ‘Countenanced’ the use of ‘Teargas’ against the protesters. He pointed out that ‘While government officials did not give an order for the use of teargas,’ ‘It was warranted due to what was happening on the ground’ [Observer: August 12, 2021]. Interestingly, several days after the protestation he revealed on radio ‘graphic threats being made on social media against his ‘10-month-old baby daughter Peace Marie Xandra Browne, his family and himself’ [Pointe FM-99/ANR: August 12, 2021].
Every ‘Commissioner of Police’ and ‘Tactical Unit Commanders’ shall know, that public officials have always distanced themselves from anything dastardly ‘Crooked; Smoky; Rubbery’ and/or anything called ‘Public Inquiry.’ This may have been made evident at the ‘Medical Benefit Scheme (MBS) Inquiry’ . The use of aerosolized canisters of irritating chemicals and ‘Tear Smoke Solids,’ not only caused burning sensation to sensitive areas of the body, resulting in teary-eyes and temporary blindness, but also produced heart palpitation, hysteric coughing and difficulty breathing. The rubber bullet-injuries reportedly sustained by those protesting against the mandatory vaccine regime, as well as the innocent and curious onlookers, have long been healed.
Today, in a ‘Public Inquiry,’ a ‘Commissioner of Police’ may find it painfully difficult to justify the actions of his deployed ‘Tactical Unit.’ Save as the immediacy of the situation or as circumstances may dictate, civil force ‘On-the-ground commanders’ are required to act swiftly and firmly, yet sensibly, civilly and with tact and decisively. In the instant situation, by the time the tear gas fumes had dissipated into the atmosphere and the ‘Rubber Projectiles’ had stopped raining down on protesters and by-standers, several persons were either left ‘Projectile-Battered’ and bruised or panting for breath.
From professional knowledge, ‘Tactical Warnings’ to protesters were to be delivered by ‘Tactical Unit Commander.’ Protesting citizens shall verbally be warned. This might be aided by the use of a public address system. Such warning had long been formalized method; ‘Disperse and go about your lawful business.’ Force to be used is situational and may be: (i) ‘…Batons and Shields’ (if attacked with missiles-bottles/stones).’ If such may not be effective; (ii) …Irritant, Smoke-Tear Gas; or (iii) …If attacked with firearms this shall be measured: …I shall fire upon you.’ Whether or not so degreed, a ‘Commissioner of Police’ of average intelligence shall know the stipulations contained in the law he enforces. Moreover, likened to the citizens, he shall not only be seen as showing undivided allegiance, but also ‘Obedience to Law.’ The ‘Constitution Order,’ speaking to itself as the- ‘Supreme Law,’ has been unambiguous in its contents [CO: 1981: Section 2]. One of the ‘Founding Principles’ states that; (a) ‘…Every citizen owes to it an undivided allegiance. (b) This shall not be limited by private views of justice or expediency
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