Retired Commissioner of Police Winston James is back on the job as head of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF). A well-placed source told THE NEW TODAY that James was brought out of retirement to take charge of the force on a temporary basis by newly elected Prime Minister, Dr. Keith Mitchell who is also the island’s Minister of National Security.
According to the source, James was at Police headquarters on Friday to accept the handing over of the Force from Commissioner of Police, Willan Thompson who opted to take 257 days leave amidst reports that the new administration is not happy with him being at the helm of the force.
He said that James officially took up duties on Monday but could not say for how long he might remain in the job. The long-standing member of the RGPF resigned from the top job within the force within months of the National Democratic Congress (NDC) taking office after the 2008 general elections and making way for another former Commissioner of Police, James Clarkson.
When Clarkson’s contract ended 17 months ago, the post was handed to Thompson following interviews conducted by the Public Service Commission (PSC) with two other members of the RGPF hierarchy. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Mitchell has sought to clear the air on widespread reports in the country that he was bent on removing Commissioner Thompson from the post.
The Government Information Service issued the following release under the headline banner, “PM Mitchell Clears The Air On His Meeting With Commissioner Thompson”. Prime Minister Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell has sought to clear the air over allegations in some quarters that he has moved to dismiss Police Commissioner Willan Thompson.
Prime Minister Mitchell has also expressed concern, that some aspects of a private conversation he had with Commissioner Thompson appeared to have been leaked. The Grenadian Leader met with the Commissioner and other Senior Public Servants in a series of separate meetings after the General Elections.
“I never indicated to him that I would not want him to continue as Police Commissioner,” Prime Minister Mitchell said in an interview on Channel six. “I posed some questions of concern and decisions that were taken, which clearly to me demonstrate some measure of Political activities, and clearly I have to be concern, so I raised the questions to him to get clarification to hear his explanation”.
Prime Minister Mitchell stressed, that during his one and one meeting with Commissioner Thompson he never indicated to him that he did not want him to continue as the country’s Top Cop. The Prime Minister said, during the conversation, that he did explain to Commissioner Thompson that he was not satisfied with explanations provided on certain matters.
“I never said a word to him, I just received his explanation. I in some cases told him I didn’t necessarily share, understand and be satisfied with those explanation, but I said nothing more to him,” Dr. Mitchell said. “The next thing I am hearing … after a private conversation he and I alone had, some elements of it were in the street and in some cases blatant lies about the conversation, twisted to make me look bad as if I was trying to hound him out of Office, and it’s unfortunate that someone who was chosen to be a Police Commissioner could behave in that manner”.
Prime Minister Mitchell said he believes Commissioner Thompson, who was appointed to the position in September 2011 replacing James Clarkson, has since gone on extended leave. “I think the Police Commissioner from what appears to be happening, has seemed to have decided to change himself without being told specifically that there needs to be a change,” Prime Minister Mitchell added.