… King promoted a non violent philosophy and was killed. Malcolm promoted a philosophy of being non violent with those who are non violent with you. But don’t try to be non violent when people are killing, maiming your men women and children. The assassin’s gun found him also. Laws have changed but the people enforcing the laws are still acting the same. Amodou Dialo is still dead and the police that shot him 19 times are not held accountable. Brandon Johnson here in Indianapolis is beat unmercifully by three police officers that kick him in face until his eye is swollen shut, with his cheek bone broke and his teeth kicked out of his mouth. The prosecutor said he committed no crime still the police exonerated. Even if we wanted to forget, with the police still acting like this how can we forget. And the society keeps exonerating them which sends the signal its alright. Martin himself had the Deacons of Defense!! Have you forgotten? Man it is time for men to be men who have the nerve and courage to protect our women and children from this brutal behavior. Here in Indianapolis we have formed a militia to protect Brandon and his family. Bishop T. Garrott Benjamin, Pastor of one of the largest church’s here has just put up several hundred dollars to purchase a security system for the family. Hell, we aint going to be relying on police to protect our women and children. We are going to do it ourselves. Noooo!! We haven’t forgot. We REMEMBER!! – Mmoja Ajabu
The story this week that two of our finest were charged for allegedly assaulting a Jamaican woman while in custody should be of concerned to Barbadians. It could not have come at a worse time for Barbados given the Myrie Affair which continues to get strong ‘airplay’ in the region. For too long we have heard stories about the behaviour of some members of our police force which betrays its credo to serve and protect.
Barbados is a small society which owes a large part of its success to a strong belief in a law and order system. The idea for example that elements in our society would routinely engage in gunplay directed at the police is alien to our culture. The same cannot be stated for what occurs in a few neighbouring countries. The reality however is that as our society changes so too irrelevant laws and practices must be tweaked to ensure their relevance and effectiveness. If we continue with the police using the insensitive and ‘brawn’ approach to delivering enforcement, rebellion by the ‘new citizen’ will be the unavoidable outcome.
The heralded Police Complaints Authority has been a no-show to date. To expect the police force like the Barbados Bar Association and other key agencies to police itself is a big joke. We live in a society today which is conditioned to challenge anything. The advent of social media and other technologies has made the task of suppressing unsavoury activity very difficult for agencies like the police. The best way to deal with the expectations of the ‘new citizen’ is to ensure transparency.
The admission last week by the minister of home affairs the police force may soon have to recruit from outside our shores is indicative of another problem which looms. They are some who believe that the nuances, mores and idiosyncrasies of a people can only be understood by having been a product of the same environment it has to serve.
If one is to look for the silver lining beyond all of the gloom of the past week it is that there is the opportunity for our leaders to usher in meaningful reform. Retired Chief Justice David Simmons promised reform, for example witnesses would be required to give recorded statement. Several years hence the police force continues to operate as if we were a banana republic. If Barbadians accept that the police force represents a key cog in the wheel to sustaining a civil society then the perennial neglect meted out to this body by successive government must be dealt with forthwith.