Over the past week or so a number of commentators have raised questions in the Press and social media about the appointment of veteran policeman, Mr. Oral Williams, to the post of Deputy Commissioner of Police.
In response to these questions, I wish to make it clear that this decision did not result from any whimsical or capricious approach, as some would wish to suggest, but followed robust and extensive consideration of the impact of the criminal element on the safety of our country and citizens, predating even our election to Government.
This Barbados Labour Party Government was convinced then, and remains convinced today, that efforts to reduce crime will not have the desired effect if the modernization of the management of the Royal Barbados Police Force is not an integral part of the exercise.
Consequently, as a critical part of that process, we determined that the best interest of the country would be served by having a Deputy Commissioner of Police with direct responsibility for Administration and Human Resources matters, and another deputy with direct responsibility for Operations.
On May 9, 2019, the second post of Deputy Commissioner of Police was created, and on that date, Mr. Williams was appointed to act in the position. On March 15, 2020, the Protective Services Commission confirmed Mr. Williams in the post.
As a result, Mr. Williams is responsible for Administration and Human Resources matters in the force, and his colleague Deputy Commissioner Erwin Boyce is responsible for Operations.
We take note that the Police Act only speaks to a single Deputy Commissioner of Police, and it is, therefore, to be regretted that the required amendment did not take place in advance of this confirmation.
None of this though, takes away from the necessity for the post as we work to improve the management of the force or the fact that Mr. Williams is qualified for, and deserving of, the position.
This is in essence just one of a number of steps that will be taken to bring the RBPF in line with modern police management structures, and DCOP Williams is qualified and eminently suited for the post as well as the responsibilities that come with it, especially given the fact that previously he had performed with distinction while acting as deputy commissioner.
I give Barbadians the assurance that once the strictures of COVID-19 allow us the space to resume sittings of Parliament, the necessary amendment will be made to the Police Act to give full effect to this decision.
In the meanwhile, I offer sincere thanks and congratulations to the men and women of the Royal Barbados Police Force who have been holding a most pivotal role on the frontline of the national fight to combat COVID-19 for the past two months. Your good work has made the difference in allowing the health professionals to execute the strategies that have allowed us to flatten the curve.
Barbadians have been able to sleep soundly at night because you were on the beat, and property owners had absolutely no need to panic because your presence was reassuring. You have my undying gratitude, and I am sure, that of a grateful nation.
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs, Dale Marshall