MITCHELL ON NATIONAL SECURITY MINISTER

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Statement From The Chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party

On The National Security Minister’s Comments On Police Wrongdoing

For Immediate Release

14 May 2020

The PLP is not surprised by the pernicious indifference to prosecutorial misconduct in the views of National Security Minister Marvin Dames. In response to questions put to him by the broadcast press yesterday about support for Superintendent of Police Deborah Thompson’s promotion to that post, Mr. Dames expressed “utmost confidence” in her integrity and her ability.

The Superintendent stands accused and condemned in the court of law of synchronizing the evidence – fixing up the evidence – in the Shane Gibson case. Superintendent Thompson admitted and agreed under oath that what she did was wrong. Mr. Dames dismissed the judicial pronouncement against Superintendent Thompson and against the prosecution’s case as “someone winning a case or losing a case”. The PLP views his remarks as consistent with the conduct of regimes of impunity over an unwatchful society.

Had Mr. Dames acknowledged to reporters the under-oath admissions of prosecutorial misconduct – of fixing the case against Shane Gibson – the moment would have been equivalent to the Prime Minister acknowledging the breach of protocol of the Emergency Orders by Dr. Duane Sands. But it would have been worse still.

We remind the public that Mr. Dames himself stands condemned at the Magistrates Court level for his conduct in the case The Commissioner of Police and Frank Smith. The decision of the Magistrate was affirmed at the Court of Appeal and at the Privy Council, the highest court in the land. And so, in the face of clear evidence to the contrary in the Shane Gibson case, Mr. Dames pronounced his faith in Superintendent Thompson’s skills and integrity. It is a moment no different from the leading figure in George Orwell’s Animal Farm destroying objective truth as a matter of personal convenience.

Then the Police Service Commission, populated by a Clergyman at its head and two former Police Commissioners, fell into error by allowing the officer’s promotion, supported by Mr. Dames and the Prime Minister to advance, without considering the public evidence and a formal complaint from former Minister Shane Gibson before making their determination. These developments portray a total disregard for constitutional norms and the basic principles of administrative law.

In fact, the evidence also shows that the Police Service Commission may not have been properly appointed at the time, and so its appointment decision on Superintendent Thompson might well be a nullity.

The PLP registers its active discontent especially on behalf of the poor. These matters have not attracted the rhetoric of lawyers or civic actors with their political ambitions close to their chest or others. Yet while the *politically insulated* and wealthy may gain added favour; the poor has the rule of law. The ancient and eternal principle is right to repeat: thou shalt not bear false witness.

We place Mr. Dames’ indifference to admitted misconduct in a criminal case against a political opponent now in the context of the Government’s use of the Constitution to shut down the normal civil rights of citizens, giving the power of life and death to Cabinet Ministers without normal recourse.

The pronouncements by Mr. Dames are serious and should be condemned. *Deborah Thompson’s admitted and condemned misconduct has been rewarded in a promotion to Superintendent. This is manifestly unfair to all;* *and so Mr. Dames’ defence of her is an embarrassment to the police officer that he once was when he aspired to be Commissioner of Police and a betrayal of the conduct that the Police Force seeks of its officers.* Mr. Dames does not belong in the Cabinet and we renew the call that he must go.

End

PT