BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS (SKNLPCU) – Continued pressure from the opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party and the recent crime wave including five murders in one week last month may have jolted Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr Timothy Harris to appoint a Commissioner of Police.
Labour Party caretaker for St Christopher 8, Dr Terrance Drew in congratulating new Commissioner Mr Ian Queeley on Wednesday called on him to root out any evidence of corruption in the law enforcement agency and to ensure that the suspected illegal tapping of phones by police officers comes to an end.
“The police high command must be above politics and must not allow Dr Harris to push you around,” said Dr Drew who called upon the new Commissioner of Police to be strong.
“I ask you to stand by principles and good police practice. I ask you to recognize that you are not serving a leader but ultimately the people of St. Kitts and Nevis and they demand a lot of you. I ask you to speak truth to power when it is necessary by telling Harris\what are best and not what he wants,” said Dr Drew during Wednesday’s popular radio programme “Issues” on Freedom FM 106.5.
He said there is concern about corruption in the force “and if there is, (he should) deal with the corruption so that the people of St Kitts and Nevis can develop a strong sense of confidence in the police.”
Dr Drew also commented on allegations that members of the force were involved in the illegal tapping of phones of some residents.
“I want you to take handle of the phone tapping capability and capacity of the force. I know and we know that the police have the technology to tap people’s phone. It has been used for nefarious reasons and reasons not associated with policing, criminality and national security, but reasons associated with politics,” said Dr Drew.
“You as the Commissioner would be in charge of this and I am asking you to appoint whoever you have to appoint to oversee and supervise so that persons do not use the technology to look at people’s private messages and listen in on conversations and use them for political reasons or to blackmail persons,” said Dr. Drew, who urged Commissioner Queeley not to allow the human rights, fundamental rights, constitutional rights and freedom to be violated by the political zealot in Prime Minister Harris.
Dr Drew disclosed that he has inside information that Prime Minister Harris “was using then Acting Commissioner of Police, Mr. Stafford Liburd” and would never confirm him in the post.
Prime Minister Harris is on record as saying there was no need for a confirmed Commissioner of Police as \several other Caribbean islands including Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada had persons acting for several years.
Dr. Drew thanked the former commissioner for his service “although under very difficult circumstances by not been given the full powers to carry out his duty and should be absolved of any failures. The buck stops with the Minister of National Security who was the leader of the police force as he never wanted to appoint a commissioner.”
“We thank you Stafford for your service,” said Dr. Drew, who commended the new Commissioner of Police Mr Ian Queeley on his appointment.
“You deserve the position. As a young man you have worked hard and I wish you success in your position,” said Dr Drew, who reminded Queeley that he would not have an easy time as it is unprecedented that a Commissioner is placed on probation.
Dr Drew said he is aware that Prime Minister Harris was looking at another person overseas to appoint as Commissioner and suggested that this may be the reason why the entire leadership of the force is on one year probation.