STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO POLICE STAFF ASSOCIATION PRESS CONFERENCE

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1499
Hon. Fred Mitchell

PRESS STATEMENT
FRED MITCHELL
STATEMENT IN RESPONSE TO POLICE STAFF ASSOCIATION PRESS CONFERENCE
10 MARCH 2011

STATEMENT: ZNS News has called me to ask my reaction to a press conference held by the Police Staff Association on reports in my press conference on the content of SIB reports:

I at first declined to comment but upon more mature consideration what I wish to say is that any and all of the comments made by me at any time are directed at politicians and policies and not at public servants.
The comments are about public policy. That should be crystal clear from the content and context of the remarks.  The police as a disciplined force are to be neutral in their responses and reactions to these matters.
That is in the very nature of a disciplined force. I expect that the Security and Intelligence Branch of the Royal Bahamas Police Force will continue to conduct themselves in the same politically neutral and above board fashion as their training dictates.
Police officers do not dabble in political matters. As a politician,  I have tried scrupulously to avoid a tit for tat with public servants who must serve both PLPs,  FNMs and in betweens. That is the nature of their jobs, to serve all without fear or favour.  I do not intend to start now. Public servants are to be politically neutral since they serve all Bahamians.
The Staff Association has met with us before and I am happy to speak with them again on any matter of public policy at any time of their choosing if they think it would be useful.
— End—
  • Maybe this vilification of the SIB is just a precursor, for when the real information about some high profile political FIGURE, whose sexuality is questionable, who is alleged to have instructed certain civil servants to dump refuse in front of a Govt. Office, is revealed. Or maybe when the information about who is alleged to have recruited known criminals to wreak havoc on certain government offices to embarass people in forein affairs, is revealed, then it can be said that it is just gossip ? Maybe just Maybe.

  • i hope the police take all imformation as gossip an see where crime would ,god help us

  • @Serious thing…your name speaks for itself. This is not Hubert’s army. When the police are publicly choosing political sides I can see why crime is at an all time high! The police should never say they saw wanted criminals and didn’t arrest them! This needs to be investigating and those not doing their jobs should be punished!
    …and by the way police were FNM from the early 80’s and the PLP won many elections. But (BTC)1999-2002 is repeating itself and you know what happened in 2002.

  • The police are citizens,and they’re entitled to political views individually and collectively;having said that,they should be cognizant of their professional duties,they are peace officers among many.But I also know that some of the police are apart of the FNM’s “RED BRIGADE,” no difference then whom they claim where criminals in the BTC demonstrations.

  • pat

    I REST MY CASE.

  • @ bahamianrealist & pat

    This is a very closely knitted society and the small size of this island (New Providence) compounds the closeness even more (my point being “news” gets around).

    While it is practically impossible for any union, association or church to exercise the degree of manipulative control over it’s members to instruct their vote, it is possible (and from what “leaked” from the police staff association meetings in 2007 – probable) that the rhetoric used by those at the head of said association depicted the PLP as undesirable. Again, nothing was said to member as instruction, but inferred through a clear display of warmth towards certain political personalities and an enthusiasm about all matters associated related being “shared” with them. The “support” was displayed in a subliminal way.

  • most of them support fnm i know that for sure.so they will be quick to fire back @ fred. they came out in red shirt after being told not to. but even they days coming in short order.a bunch of fnm maxi pad. all they see is red..

  • @ pat, you have missed all the salient points I sought to make. Nonetheless on your point again of wearing red shirts, I agree with you that some officers would have chosen to wear red shirts because they supported the FNM. I seek to make the point that it is their right to do so once not on duty, in official uniform or driving in police vehicles, on that we differ in opinion. On your point of an officer being on duty at all times, then he should never wear any article of clothing that is red or gold I suppose.

    Lastly, by wearing red you are saying that persons would be influenced to vote with them, well you obviously think Bahamians are of such low intelligence that they would be so easily influenced. On the contrary, those officers actions to wear red shirts probably cost the FNM votes as the opposition to them would have been more forceful by those in the other camp.

  • inspite of what is being said the staff association was contacted by members and their concerns given,the statement made by the well respected Mr.mitchell was out of order and attacked on the force itself,this sib section protected them when they was in power and will be there to power if they return,attacked on them is not warranted,inspite of who is in power including ndp they have to protect as sib officers nuetral,with regards of criminals or person convicted they have no voice because they cannot vote,and please make mentioned that a number of officers injured in that protest including an ASP,TWO INSP AND OTHER OFFICERS AT THIS SO CALLED PEACEFUL PROTEST.

    • @John Doe
      Interesting as the word was that everything went well.Information like you are presenting here was n ever conveyed to we the general public thus the reasoning for our stand on this issue.There should be no reason to hide anything that happened as law abiding citizens need to know about any injuries to Police or civilians.

  • pat

    The Police Staff Association as far as I am concerned have no credibility when it comes to where they stand politically. This was proven during the last general elections. This so called impartial group came out in their Red shirts to vote. If things were so bad at the demonstration, as the president says why didn’t they arrest these bad people? What he should have said in his opening statement was that on behalf of the Association he apologize for breaking that ladys’ shoulder. What about her “moral”?

    • @ pat, let’s not confuse what actually happened during the general election voting process for the police in 2007, and what many have formed in their own minds at the time.

      The police staff association issued shirts to its members (police officers) which happened to be red but was clarified by the association that it did not mean FNM support. The commissioner of police at that time sought to have all officers not to wear party colors. The association and by the fact that many officers did wear their association shirts made wearing them a protest against the commissioner’s authority to tell an off duty officer what he can and cannot wear as he exercise his right to vote.

      1. no police officer was forced to wear the shirt by the association as he went to vote

      2. wearing the shirt did not mean that an officer was in support of the FNM

      3. there was no way to tell which party would win the election as both parties had very good turnouts at their rallys so for the association to pick a side would have been a big gamble.

      I find it most unfair to label the association as being FNM. If the association is swayed politically then it would not make any sense to choose sides now as we come down to another general election especially since by some persons assertions, is an easy road the PLP to be returned. If that is the case seems to me that the association should be pandering to the PLP rather than the FNM.

  • Why is the response coming from the Police Staff Association? Shouldn’t it come through the Press Liaison Officer of the Police Force. After all, the criticism was about the police in their official capacity, meaning representing The Commissioner of Police, and not civilian conduct during their time away from work (which would have warranted their staff association standing up for them).

    Mitchell is doing a “tar and feather” political move of course, but this is the silly season, so no one should be surprised. Like it or not, the police are already being used as porns in the political game, since Tommy Turnquest used their credibility to launch his attack remarks at the protesters. The “upset posture” would be more weighty and an easier sell if the police staff association had step forward then.

  • Statements by the Police Staff Association are viewed with suspicion by those of us who remember the events of the 2007 Gern Elects.The BTC situation is a political row so the Police should not be getting involved.I find the statement by the Association scary as again they appear to be taking sides.So Association show by your actions to maintain law and order to lockup all offenders of the law regardless of political association.Yes criminals came to Bay St on the day of the demonstration but just lockup the persons who offend the law and stay out of politics.

  • Mr. Mitchell is entitled to his opinion on SIB. They have been used especially b former senior police officers to cast aspersion on persons who the saw as competition for jobs and positions.As another vestige of our colonial past when they were Special Branch, SIB is intended to be political police.What makes this organization dangerous is that they are not accountable to anyone but their political masters. SIB generates reports which once disseminated, can damage persons without their knowledge even if they are innocent.SIB do not attend court and use this as an excuse for not having to justify their claims.Many civil servants have been dismissed only to find out that SIB reported this or that on them. In some cases, government has had to pay dismissed persons large amounts of money for erroneous SIB reports because SIB officers would not testify and support their negative reports. Small wonder then that even police officers refer to SIB as no intelligence and no security.

    • @ michael, Interesting revelations you made about SIB which suggests that you know intimately of their operations. If what you say is an accurate characterization of the entire branch then all the more reason for Mr. Mitchell to stand firmly by his original statements. However, in this press release he backs away by saying he is directing his comments “at politicians and policies and not at public servants”. Either what he says of their work is so or it isn’t. I guess we should read between the lines by his direction for them to remain “disciplined” and have no comment and to continue to be just the very thing that you seem to be saying the SIB branch is, political operatives in police clothing.

    • Come on Mr Brown, SIB has certain responsibilities. The branch has been and is still being held in high regards. Mr Mitchell is entitled to this opinion, but in the meanwhile he should leave politics out of it. SIB do not operate on rumours like Mr Mitchell stated. He need to take his foot out of his mouth…

  • Get a life Fred Mitchell!!! You are not mature and are always involved in tit for tat – you don’t read your website hey???…your rebuttal to the police is stupid and assinine at best – …that the police should remain neutral – what??? in other words, you can say whatever you like and they should just sit on their hands and take it – why? because the mighty politician, fred mitchell says so. you obvisiously don’t get it that people are tired of you scurrilous politicians. If you have something to say to politicians, call them by name and say what you have to say to that/those particular person(s). While it may be hard and I mean extremely hard for you, please find a bit more time to at the very least to act as a mature, exposed male who “gets it” rather than as a whiney, self-centered, spoilt, immature brat, who constantly needs to have their own way!!!

  • Mr. Mitchell’s response to the Police Staff Association press conference is in essence an admission that he casted negative aspersions on the quality of work of a division of the police only to score cheap political points against the current government.

    He then made it even worse by basically saying to the SIB officers shut-up and do your job and that they have no right to respond to serious quality of work accusations made against them. Well Mr. Mitchell should note that it is the Police Staff Association speaking on behalf of the officers it represents not the individual officers of SIB. Yes, even the police have a voice and have a body to represent their views. Maybe Mr. Mitchell is mixing up the Defense Force with the Police Force.

    He even went further to insinuate that the association was being political in their response to his statement. I wonder if Mr. Mitchell would say that the employees of BTC protesting the sale to CWC are being political.

    I think that the best response by Mr. Mitchell should have either been a simple apology or to fully stand by his first statement and to provide verifiable evidence to support his unfortunate statements.

  • Dread Fred sounds scared to mess with the police! The plp made that same mistake in the last elections.

    The same mistake Steve Mckinney and Phillpa Russell made in the leading up to the last general election they on the exact same run! They are so bias, and no sense of speaking truth!

    Aren’t you glad lies have no legs to stand on!

    • I beg to diff “All Praises”! While I am not a Fred mitchell fan, I must say that he is a very intelligent man and knows alot of what he speaks about. I had a chance to listen to President of the police staff association and I was not impressed at all with what he had to say, in fact I thought it wasn’t warrented a response. Clearly he was not properly breifed on what to say and it was politically driven.
      So sad that we still living like this, clueless and out of wacked.
      As for messing with the police; The country is in a bad state and even the police catching hell so stop your **** about being scared! With all this crap taking place in our country, everyone should be running for a safer harbour!