|Former minister blasts police chief|
Guardian News Editor
Published: Jul 19, 2012
Former Minister of State for Finance Zhivargo Laing is accusing Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade of making political comments in declaring that Urban Renewal 2.0 is working.
“I am very concerned about the posturing of the commissioner of police and so are other members of the public, and so are some past and present police officers,” Laing said
in a statement.
“It gives me no great pleasure to say so. The commissioner has my full support in terms of fighting crime, but if he is going to sound political in his comments and public posture, I am going to call him out.
“A commissioner of police must work for peace at all times and under all circumstances. He must give his all no matter who is in power. This is what professionalism is. I can say that this appeared to be the public posture of former commissioners of police.”
The commissioner touted the success of Urban Renewal 2.0 when he spoke with reporters at police headquarters on East Street on Monday.
Urban Renewal 2.0 and saturation patrols are key anti-crime initiatives touted by the Progressive Liberal Party ahead of the May 7 general election, and in the days and weeks since it returned to power.
Greenslade said, “Certainly Urban Renewal 2.0 is providing good results for us.”
The commissioner added, “If you drive our communities on a daily basis and you observe for yourself the fantastic work that’s being done by Bahamians all across New Providence and by police officers, it would leave you certainly in a state where you would marvel.
“I as a police officer I’ve never seen for many years now the level of excitement that I now see in communities. If you didn’t want to get excited, if you were to go by while a tractor is clearing an area of debris, an old abandoned building, old cars, and observe the excitement on the faces of residents, it’s got to touch you in a warm spot.
“We are doing the right things and we are going to continue to do the right things. The right things are paying good dividends for the people of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”
While Laing said pushing down houses, removing derelict vehicles and clearing down bushes may be “useful things to do”, he questioned why Greenslade has not provided statistics to support his claim.
Greenslade said on Monday that serious crimes are down six percent, but provided no breakdown by category.
Laing said it is noteworthy that there are laws governing the tearing down of houses, the removal of vehicles and the clearing of bushes, especially where they relate to private property.
“With the rate and somewhat indiscriminate nature with which this is being done, one has to question whether these laws are being followed by law enforcers,” he said.
“...If these things can fix crime and work so quickly, why was the commissioner of police not doing them before?
“Is he suggesting that the former administration kept him from doing these things or that he did not know that this was what was needed to be done? Is that what he means by the comment that now they can do their job?
“Is the commissioner saying that his new initiatives are only able to be implemented now that the government has changed? Then what in Heaven’s name was his published strategic plan all about? Is he admitting that his plan was ineffective and that only Urban Renewal 2.0 was needed all along?”
Laing questioned whether Greenslade is under pressure from the PLP administration “to serve them, given their promise to give the commissioner tenure once again?”
“If we all must be a part of the fight against crime, then it will require leadership by the police that is absolutely free of politics,” he said.
“It must be a fight where the police are seen as purely professional and only on the side of the law. The prospect of a highly political minister of state and a political commissioner of police sends chills down my spine.
“I truly hope that it is not the case, but I and others will be watching.”