The scent of violence and fear hung thick in the air on the “Gaza Strip” in Enterprise last Friday. “They does call here the Gaza Strip.
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Griffith’s photo goes up in police stations
Police at stations in the various divisions were up to late yesterday scrambling to mount photographs of National Security Minister Gary Griffith on station walls, after receiving an order to do so from the ministry. Police said the order was handed down by seniors to juniors soon after a bodyguard assigned to the minister, who was conducting business at a station, asked why the minister’s photograph was not up in the charge room.
The bodyguard, who was there to license firearms on behalf of the minister and his wife, Nicole Dyer-Griffith, was told by officers on duty that the police standing orders do not say a minister’s photograph should be mounted in charge rooms. But yesterday, Western Division officers were given oral instructions from the ministry to put up photos of Griffith in charge rooms. Photos were subsequently distributed to various stations and officers began putting them up.
Contacted by telephone yesterday, general secretary of the Police Social and Welfare Association, acting Insp Michael Seales, said he was upset that officers were mandated to do this as there was no such law, adding they had previously dealt with a similar problem. “This is wrong. There were pictures of Sandy (former minister Brig John Sandy) and people who read the Standing Order took it down since then,” Seales said.
“That has to come from additional orders from the commissioner. By the Standing Orders it should be the Prime Minister, Commissioner and the President. “Unfortunately, they (officers) won’t know why they doing it, and if they were following the Standing Orders it would not be there in the first place.” Contacted for comment, Griffith said, “This comes from the office of the police, and it is irrelevant to me, but you can liaise with the commissioner.”
Director of corporate communications at the ministry, Marcia Hope, subsequently contacted the Guardian to say there was no clause that prevented the minister’s photo being put up at police stations. “He (Griffith) went to a couple of stations and asked what was happening and to find out why his photo was not mounted. “We asked to undertake it and mount it in various divisions and we have been liaising with them.”
Acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams refused to answer any questions when contacted yesterday, saying he was out of the country.
Standing Order 38 states: “It shall be the responsibility of the officer in charge of the division, to ensure that there is posted in a conspicuous place of all police stations the following:
a) mission statement
b) code of conduct
c) notices (informing prisoners of their rights), a framed map of the station district, framed photographs of the President, the Commissioner and the Prime Minister.”