Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith

The Ends and the Means

RightsToday’s Editorial in the Barbados Advocate makes for interesting reading. How the Barbados Police Force is reported to have reacted to a social media threat of violence on Foreday Morning Jam makes for interesting discussion and should by now have provoked all sensible Barbadians to reflect on the state of our society that precipitated such action by the Police Force – Barbados Underground

It is at least doubtful whether there will be much disquiet publicly expressed even if the story reported on the front page of another section of the local print press should turn out to be factual. It was to the effect that last week the police had arrested, detained in custody and subsequently released without criminal charge a number of people described as “high-profile person of interest”. “After all”, we can hear the reasoning, “at least they would not have been around to cause any trouble in the weekend before Kadooment street parade and it may be as a result of this measure of that the chronicle of the bloodbath foretold on social media did not occur”.

Very few will protest what is a clear abuse of authority and, strictly speaking legally, there is very little to rely on to do so. The police may by law arrest on a reasonable suspicion that an individual is about to or has committed a criminal offence and thereafter proceed to conduct investigations to determine the probable guilt of the accused, This “fig-leaf” of justification gas already been suggested by Assistant Commissioner of Police with responsibility for Crime. Erwin Boyce who told the press “Any person who is brought into custody is done so for investigative purposes…I don’t know of any other reason why they should be brought in”.

While it is true that the Constitution guarantees a right to personal liberty in section 13, this is expressly made subject to a deprivation “upon reasonable suspicion of his having committed, or being about to commit, a criminal offence under the law of Barbados”.

And although the requirement to establish the reasonableness of a suspicion is placed squarely on the authorities, this is not an especially onerous requirement. Further, although it should never be a relevant consideration, the place of origin of some of the detained persons -Spooner’s Hill, Deacons and Pinelands- will immediately raise a presumption of criminality in the minds of many Barbadians.

Despite the law being ostensibly against them in this matter, some of the detainees have nevertheless retained counsel -to institute actions for false imprisonment, we would suppose.

For all its presumed effectiveness in keeping the celebrations relatively safe, we should wish, without intruding on the exclusive jurisdiction of the police to determine policing strategy to suggest a limited use of this undoubted police power. We have observed with some degree of consternation the recent excesses of the police in the US, although that may be, admittedly, a world removed from our situation Scenarios may be imagined nonetheless where it might be abused locally under other guises and also against individuals who might be of a less immediately suspicious nature.

In other words, while we accept that sometimes the ends may justify the means used to arrive there, we fear the technical abuse by those in authority the letter of the law to infringe a fundamental right even more. It is tantamount to steeping on a slippery slope that bodes danger for the faithful observance of some of the other constitutional rights and ultimately, a police state.

As for the general public disinterest in the matter, we are not surprised. But it may be appropriate here to remember the oft-cited text of Pastor Martin Niemhöller and ask the question, “Who then will be left to speak for us after all the categories into which we do not fit, such as place of residence, hairstyle, criminal record have been excluded?

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42 Comments on “The Ends and the Means”

  1. Watcher August 6, 2016 at 5:50 AM #

    The police are out of control and this callousness towards the rights and liberties of citizens will go unnoticed and ignored byt idiotic Bajans whose only interest is the net wuk-up or Naked departure post. This government is oppressing every single one of us that dares to think differently or to hold them accountable; it is only a matter of time before they kill more of us – the 20 year old boy in St Matthias was just a beginning.

    Like

  2. David August 6, 2016 at 6:32 AM #

    The action taken by the Police demands careful scrutiny by civil society. BU was aghast to read what senior journalist Stetson Babb wrote on his Facebook page read the action of the police worked.

    The question his response evoked is how does he know that it worked. What baseline position did he use.

    >

    Like

  3. Well Well & Consequences August 6, 2016 at 7:11 AM #

    I understand the task force was armed with shotguns and showed a huge presence in one particular band filled with very young people. Did the police have credible information, if they did, they should have stated such in the days leading up to the event….to the public who pay their salaries.

    Like

  4. FearPlay August 6, 2016 at 7:50 AM #

    I don’t know how familiar contributors are with different types of firepower available to our men at arms but a shotgun does not seem to me to be the best weapon of choice one would use in a crowd. Unless collateral is not of great concern to innocent bystanders.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. lawson August 6, 2016 at 7:55 AM #

    Well Well you are right the police should do nothing…let whatever happens happen and deal with the aftermath. This pro-active stuff must stop why cant they just learn to be like the politicians whenever they feel something should be done….lay down until the feeling goes away

    Like

  6. David August 6, 2016 at 8:03 AM #

    @lawson

    If we can learn anything from North American society is that the militaristic approach to maintaining law and order will result in a big fail. The smallness of our island’s should give us the advantage to reaping good results from community policing.

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  7. de pedantic Dribbler August 6, 2016 at 9:16 AM #

    @David, I find a great benefit in reading and attempting to analyze actions you highlight on BU without reading the original news story. So based on the interpretation from your piece it seems that you asked very important questions about due process and then answered them just as emphatically.

    You said succinctly, “…some of the detainees have nevertheless retained counsel -to institute actions for false imprisonment, we would suppose.”

    As a citizen who benefited immensely by an incident free Kadooment I admittedly am biased towards preemptive police action based on good intelligence gathering or otherwise.

    As a citizen who also could become entrapped in some police action and thus also belong to the those who could be left as “who then will be left to speak for us after all the categories…” I am comfortable with the ability to get legal redress.

    We are in a very difficult time of life Mr Blogmaster and police authorities of necessity must take aggressive action to safeguard the homeland.

    And citizens of necessity must aggressively seek recompense when they over reach.

    We are not abrogating our rights. We all are seeking life in a time of apparent lawlessness. Yet, we do still have the law firmly on our side…it might be the proverbial molasses running up Horse Hill, but that is another problem entirely!

    Like

  8. David August 6, 2016 at 9:49 AM #

    @Dee Word

    Do you think if the same resources were placed on building police outposts in communities and working with neighborhood watches etc it would make for a better society? The police reacted to a post on social media, a rumour. Do you think if some idiot wanted to do something stupid a few policemen along the route would have prevented it?

    Next time let us build a wall separating the revellers and residents in Deacons.

    Like

  9. Donna August 6, 2016 at 11:31 AM #

    I am not disinterested in this action by the police but I am not prepared as yet to condemn it. What I will say is that all such action should be carefully scrutinized so as to keep it in check. Too far east will always be west.

    Like

  10. de pedantic Dribbler August 6, 2016 at 12:04 PM #

    @David August 6, 2016 at 9:49 AM # “Next time let us build a wall separating the revellers and residents in Deacons.”…. That is a LOLL.

    As I mentioned I do not know the details of the original story that prompted the police action. And to reiterate, your main point must be taken in the full context of life.

    Of course the police need a strong community presence. That is the essence and purpose of being a part of your community and maintaining law and order.

    No police anywhere can ever truly stop idiots from doing stuff but they can’t turn a blind eye to possible threats either. We have to thread the eye of that needle always.

    I have no idea if the police action you highlighted prevented any violence but police actions of that type will be a part of our life now as is taking a bath. And so too insane behaviour, threats and rumors of threats.

    BTW, David on the point of police in the communities, who is to ‘blame’ that a Bajan who was born in Greenfields or Deacons is likely to move from his parents’ home the day he starts at the Police Training School!

    Do police officers live among and talk on a daily basis with regular folks and attend community gatherings? Or is everyone walled up in their nice fancy bungalow!

    The divide between police and community is painful but it’s also somewhat deliberately instigated by some communities, those from both the citizens and the police!

    Like

  11. David August 6, 2016 at 12:50 PM #

    @Dee Word

    Many of us are so boisterous when it comes to the police adopting draconian and militaristic positions in the name of maintaining law and order but contrastingly silent when it comes to community policing. If as a society we compromise the effort at community policing then our society will transform to those reflected in the images we have been seeing on CNN of recent.

    Like

  12. lawson August 6, 2016 at 1:43 PM #

    David the problem today is the lack of a good family network. I can remember screwing up and knowing I was gonna get it at home because I had embarrassed our family (we may not have had money but we had pride ),for being disrespectful to teachers or police. Nowadays I can imagine families sitting around the kitchen table drawing straws to see which one was going to commit a crime and possibly get killed or beaten by the police so the rest of the household can cash in.

    Like

  13. Anonymice - TheGazer August 6, 2016 at 1:48 PM #

    @lawson
    “Nowadays I can imagine ”

    Sound more like a hallucination than an imagination. Who on earth would loved to see a beloved family member stealing or being killed?
    Bajan mothers feel pain…

    Like

  14. David August 6, 2016 at 1:54 PM #

    @lawson

    Agree with your comment, all the more reason why community policing is important.

    On Sat, Aug 6, 2016 at 5:43 PM, Barbados Underground wrote:

    >

    Like

  15. pieceuhderockyeahright August 6, 2016 at 3:16 PM #

    @ The Gazer

    Lawson was being facetious but he is right insofar as they are families that sit while junior is counting the cash from the sale of drugs and will swear that he was home when they go popping other drug dealers in other communities.

    He has embellished the facts very slightly but what he says is real.

    @ Donna, David The Honourable Blogmaster and all

    The police reaction to the planned retaliation by and among the hoodlums did, irrespective of its questionable civil liberties infractions, result in an incident free Kadooment.

    Our country COULD NOT HAVE WITHSTOOD an adverse crop over incident!!!

    Having said “a” one must say “b”

    What if say a person of peculiar skills were thusly “implicated” in a voice message?

    Suppose while chatting up a new ting I was to say “girl I going come cross by you and bomb up all uh your property” or “I got a claymore mine that it going catspraddle your undercarriage” or such string of remarks to suggest sedition? Or, let us hope that she does not live close to the airport where there are several plane undercarriages!!!

    You see how this preemptive action going destroy my hedonistic weekend? because of a few ill used words?

    The police HAVE TO GO BACK TO COMMUNITY POLICING or else face several more preemptive lockups and lockdowns

    They have to create a new image that is devoid of the Nazim Blackett’s and the Hitlers or they will idiotically deploy shotguns to combat possible acts of retaliation against an enemy in a crowd of civilians

    Technically FearPlay , if bum rushed by a group of enemy combatants the shotgun is correct but in that crowd it seems to be pure idiocy and could suggest that you were setting up that particular cop to die since he mightn’t be able to fire his weapon in a crowd, UNLESS his load was different, NOT ALL LOAD IS SCATTERSHOT

    Like

  16. de pedantic Dribbler August 6, 2016 at 5:00 PM #

    @David, the reference below is best suited other places but I deposit it here with this lead off rhetoric: How long did it take us as a country to lose our way in the abyss of corruption? According to a 20-20 hindsight analysis that could be as early as the days of alleged drug-trafficking by deceased PMs and other elites…or indeed even before with the HARP and other thorny issues like the missing door-to-door salesman never resolved.

    So here we have of course…” The African National Congress, the party that helped liberate black South Africans from white-minority rule but has become mired in corruption, endured its worst election since taking power after the end of apartheid, according to results released on Friday.”

    The ANC will of course go on to rule SA yet for decades I suspect.

    But corruption deep and wide and has been so now for years…theirs has been quick!!. Still better than apartheid of course…no quibbling on that.

    Obviously folks are getting theirs. A familiar local refrain also.

    Like

  17. lawson August 6, 2016 at 5:59 PM #

    Every time I go to the dentist or doctor I sign a form relieving them of responsibility if something goes wrong, they are good people trying to help me but as we should all know anything can happen during these interactions and I could die , so I do my best to avoid having them work on me. What is so different with police interactions, we had a fella last week groping a woman in a coffee shop the police chased him got him to the ground ,in the scuffle he was injured and died, the family is up in arms claiming this and that ,people are marching but the way I think about it is if this 40 year old man didn’t think that feeling up some woman he didn’t know in a restaurant was a good idea the police wouldn’t have been called and he would never have been injured, so these same people who are up in arms should take some responsibility for his actions especially the mothers and fathers . Now before some freak out this doesn’t mean police have a license to kill it just means any interaction with people with tazers, fight training and guns can go wrong and is best to be avoided

    Like

  18. Anonymice - TheGazer August 6, 2016 at 6:09 PM #

    As one man sees it…
    Some things just don’t pass the scratch and sniff test. It is not always virulent, it can be mild….

    Like

  19. Enuff August 6, 2016 at 9:09 PM #

    With this kind of thinking, how can we criticise and malign politicians? If the troublemakers are known, why not focus on reform programmes rather than waiting until Kadooment to unlawfully arrest and detain individuals? Furthermore, are Bajans only entitled to safety during Kadooment weekend? #wondersnevercease.

    Like

  20. Jeff Cumberbatch August 6, 2016 at 9:25 PM #

    Seems that the position is different if there is no arrest – From Trinidad & Tobago Express [04/08/2016]

    “Police officers have no power in this country to detain a person against their will merely for questioning or to assist with investigations.

    Justice Ronnie Boodoosingh made this statement yesterday as he awarded two men a total of $1 million in compensation after they filed legal action for being kept in custody for two and half days without being charged.

    He said evidence in this case showed “there is a great deal of confusion among some police officers about their powers”.

    Like

  21. Hants August 6, 2016 at 11:14 PM #

    Lawson wrote “Every time I go to the dentist or doctor I sign a form relieving them of responsibility if something goes wrong, they are good people trying to help me but as we should all know anything can happen during these interactions and I could die , so I do my best to avoid having them work on me.”

    That is very interesting.

    I live in Toronto and have never had to sign any forms at my doctor or dentist.

    Like

  22. Sargeant August 7, 2016 at 1:01 AM #

    @Lawson
    What is so different with police interactions, we had a fella last week groping a woman in a coffee shop the police chased him got him to the ground ,in the scuffle he was injured and died, the family is up in arms claiming this and that ,people are marching
    +++++++++++
    “In the scuffle he was injured and died”? That’s one way of putting it you know that it was a serious “beat down’ far above what was necessary to affect an arrest by the Police. That’s the attitude that says Cops are never wrong citizens interact with them at their peril.

    Like

  23. Donna August 7, 2016 at 7:45 AM #

    Piece,

    It is obvious that we have to change our policing ways. One can only hope that we shall soon make a start on that. But “until the philosophy that holds one [class] superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned……Until the [money in a man’s pants] is of no more significance than the colour of his [pants] …there’ll be war!”

    “Until the basic human rights are EQUALLY guaranteed to all without regard to [class]……..”

    This two Barbados’ thing will eventually destroy Barbados. When are some so-called “big shots” going to be called to account and locked up????!!!!

    It is not only the boys on the block who commit crimes. Why should they respect this system? I don’t. But I learnt well at school and still have hope to navigate through it. They didn’t and don’t!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Donna August 7, 2016 at 7:49 AM #

    Jeff,

    Wow! Don’t they have even a small window of opportunity? Isn’t it that you can be held only for a specific and short period without being charged?

    Like

  25. Donna August 7, 2016 at 7:50 AM #

    Barbadoses

    Like

  26. David August 7, 2016 at 7:52 AM #

    How many listened to the VoB ‘intern’ interviewed by Corey on Thursday or Friday? last week who is in his early 20s. He was asked to comment about his view on the political landscape in Barbados. He was scathing and cynical in his remarks regarding the manifesto. His view mirrors the majority of the youth in waiting. What does it bode therefore for a future Barbados.

    On Sun, Aug 7, 2016 at 11:45 AM, Barbados Underground wrote:

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  27. David August 7, 2016 at 7:59 AM #

    @Jeff

    How far is too far.

    Chekov Star Trek 2015

    On Sun, Aug 7, 2016 at 11:49 AM, Barbados Underground wrote:

    >

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Anonymice - TheGazer August 7, 2016 at 8:15 AM #

    Took my time and read this article twice.

    Let me add that without legal training, I am forced to rely on my gut feelings and I am sick to my stomach right now.

    How can we be certain that all who were picked up, but not arrested were released? This is how people disappear in some countries; the police make a sweep and then you never hear from some of those who were detained. Is there a list of those who were picked up and those who were release so that we can reconcile the two? I fear that we have taken the first step on a dangerous and slippery slope.

    Obviously with this approach to policing, we have identified a segment of society who we can treat as “guilty before a crime is committed”. This minimum standard may be acceptable to those who have characteristics that clearly separate them from this segment, but what if you lack those protective characteristics and happen to be in the wrong area at the wrong time?

    I remember a young man who use to say “my fruit hangs low, so everyone can pick it”. It is a scary thought if we have the police force identifying and picking just the low fruits (prior to a crime being committed).

    This happens to be a next example of where there are two Barbados. However, this is the more frightening as anyone of us can be on some list of “high-profile persons of interest”. Don’t wait until you disappear to know that this is wrong.

    The author of ‘the ends and the means” has the good sense to know taht one day he may say ‘When they came for me, there was no one left to speak out.’

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Donna August 7, 2016 at 8:15 AM #

    David,

    Most young people I know are cynical. They are not filled with hope for a brighter tomorrow. They just hope that they will find a way to enjoy themselves regardless of what’s going on around them. They don’t believe anything can be changed. They just plan for themselves and believe that they can only depend on themselves to make a way through the mess. It’s an individualistic consciousness. Nothing collective about it. They don’t dream of making the world a better place. They only dream of finding a better corner for themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Anonymice - TheGazer August 7, 2016 at 8:45 AM #

    As I peruse the various comments made by various annonymice and named mice, a few things are immediately clear:
    (1) There is widespread belief in the fact that there are two states of Barbados
    The two economic-state Barbados may not fully overlap with the two crime-state Barbados, but as we go forward we have to ensure that our government treats all Barbadians in exactly the same manner; money, color, class and connections cannot remain as defining which Barbados a person belongs to. We need one Barbados

    (2) Barbados is travelling backwards in time.
    We are about to celebrate 50-years of independence, but to some of us, Barbados of 2016 seem more like Barbados prior to 1966. Once education was seen as a means of escape, but avenues of the entrance to Cave Hill seems smaller and fewer; we have more lawyers, but the quality of our legal system seem to be on the decline; money is more concentrated in the hands of fewer people; and the ruling white elite are displaying more balls today, than they would have dared displayed in 1966.

    (3) Politically we have matured to the last stage of Animal Farm where we are we cannot distinguish the black ruling political class from the Mr. Maloneys. Oh, we can recognize Mr Maloney, but we know he could not be so powerful without Napoleon on his side…

    Liked by 1 person

  31. pieceuhderockyeahright August 7, 2016 at 8:49 AM #

    @ The Gazer

    You said ” How can we be certain that all who were picked up, but not arrested were released?”

    That my man is the “Blackett Teaching Point”

    Anyone in Barbados can, given the climate that exists in Barbados, easily become the victim of a police extrajudicial intervention.

    Anyone, who while in custody, decides that they are going to speak out, or like Nazim Blackett, not respond to a query by an over enthusiastic officer, find themselves beaten, or dead.

    And, what is even worse, the Gazer, what this rounding up of perceived threats confirms, so soon after the Nazim beating, is that the extrajudicial actions are endorsed by the Attorney General AND THE PRIME MINISTER!!!

    THIS IS NOT NO SIMPLE COMMISSIONER OF POLICE ACTION, THIS CAME FROM, AND HAS, THE SUPPORT OF, THE PM.

    WHAT EVIDENCE ONE HAS?

    None.

    But think this through carefully, what was the ultimate objective and who has the power to make such a decision?

    I ent k whu wunna say, wunna see dis ministerial power ting? when dese fellers get near elections we going really start to see how extreme this is going to become, mark my words

    Like

  32. Donna August 7, 2016 at 8:55 AM #

    Gazer,

    Bingo!

    Like

  33. lawson August 7, 2016 at 1:10 PM #

    probably because you have false teeth hants, look I guess I have to be very clear, go get your wisdom teeth out, or go under with gas or anything more than a local and you are signing forms. I actually thought you were smarter than most …guess not.
    Sarge I know nothing of the sort , they may have tackled him as he ran and hit his head unlike a lot of 2nd guessers I will wait till the investigation is completed. But what came first the fondling or the `unfortunate capture lesson should be learned when you come to a new country better check out the dos and donts

    Like

  34. de pedantic Dribbler August 7, 2016 at 2:06 PM #

    @Lawson, which comes first… The criminals or the police trained and employed to catch them?

    Why is every incident where there may be police over-use of force justified or validated by the mantra that the perp ‘deserved it’.

    If that is the yard stick used to measure that ‘metric’ then supposedly righteous police officers convicted of a criminal act should be executed forthwith as they doubly deserve harsh punishment. Steeupse!

    Why can’t police officers like some perps just be WRONG based on the available clear video evidence – not necessarily in this case !

    Like

  35. Sargeant August 7, 2016 at 2:32 PM #

    @Lawson
    The video evidence will tell the tale as far as do’s and don’ts are concerned, according to his family the man had mental issues and death has been the fate for many people with mental disabilities who interact with Police in Ontario.

    For those who are unfamiliar with the story that Lawson referred to here is a report from CBC

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/police-officer-in-abdi-death-identified-1.3695996

    Like

  36. lawson August 7, 2016 at 6:12 PM #

    Sarge this is the thing that is bewildering to most of us how are people with mental issues being allowed to come in ??? when we don’t have the resources to look after our own. I would suggest he seemed to know what he was groping for and to run when confronted by the people in the store. But as you say the evidence will show what happened … I am fairley confident there was no racial malice and this was an arrest that went wrong
    Dribbler were they wrong to be called, were they wrong to chase, were they wrong not to have a butterfly net with them, catching criminals isn’t a game and the cops don’t want a fight they want an arrest.

    Like

  37. Bush Tea August 7, 2016 at 9:27 PM #

    LOL @ Lawson
    Bushie can’t wait to hear your take on this matter when the tables turn …and it is your pink ass on the line with such police ‘misjudgements’…
    Hopefully what is good for the goose will be also good for wunna gander….

    Like

  38. ac August 7, 2016 at 9:37 PM #

    No bush s.hit it is when your two by four hut is burned to the ground and police knows who did it and does no shit to arrest them.

    Like

  39. Hants August 7, 2016 at 10:05 PM #

    If this was your relative how would you feel? Why was he not rushed to hospital after he was unconscious?

    Like

  40. Alvin Cummins August 7, 2016 at 10:20 PM #

    @David, et. al.
    I am an old man now, but I was taught by the old people when I was a boy:”Prevention better than cure”. No one suffered by the police actions, AND NO ONE GOT HURT.Give thanks.
    I did not hear Corey’s comments, but we older folk have to realize that the world that they prepare for themselves will be the world they have to live in, not our world. All we can do is lay the foundation, provide them with the knowledge on how to build; as we learned, and leave them to finish the construction. We have no control over anything else. We will be long gone, or incapable of changing anything for them.

    Like

  41. David August 7, 2016 at 10:30 PM #

    @Alvin

    You have no idea. All those years ago people died and sacrificed to safeguard our personal liberties today and you post your shitty comment?

    Have you ever heard or followed the Ross Ulbricht case? He was arrested for running the Silk Road website. You should if you want to get a sense of how complicated the world has become. Rounding up bodies located in slum neighbourhoods does not cut it.

    Like

  42. lawson August 8, 2016 at 8:44 AM #

    Again hants??? police do not transport to hospital, ems was called unfortunately there is a delay as calls go through dispatch. Ambulance have a 9 min response time usually I think. Where is the video leading up to this point, listen to the racket going on around keeping the officers attention away from the person

    Like

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