Who will be the next COP?

Several weeks ago, it was made public knowledge that an advertisement was being circulated, calling for suitably-qualified individuals to toss their cards into the proverbial hat, from which a successor for COP Williams would supposedly be selected.

Rumours previously abounded, suggesting that the Commissioner was on his way “out the door” which some suggest was evident by the fact that he was sent on “long leave”. Months later, however, Commissioner Williams was back on the job and engaged in full and active duty, with the assistance of his Deputy Commissioner Stafford Liburd, his Acting Assistant Commissioner of Police with responsibility for Crime Ian Queeley and his Assistant Commissioner of Police with responsibility for Operations Joseph Richardson.

Other rumours suggest that COP Williams’ stint in the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force is scheduled to end within coming months. However, MiyVue.com spoke with Minister of National Security, Sam Condor who indicated that he cannot indicate when Mr. Williams’s stint will be completed.

“We don’t know yet. There is no time on that yet. We will have a successor by that time. He will not leave until we would have identified a successor. We have advertised the position (locally and overseas) because we want to attract the best person for the post.”

Over the past 31 years, the Federation of St. Christopher and Nevis has had six COPs and various individuals who formed the high command of the police force.

Serving from 1980 to 1993 was Stanley Franks, assisted by his Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Edward Hughes and Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) William Walwyn. Franks was succeeded by Odessa Thompson who took control of the force in July 1993 until 1995 assisted by his Deputy and Assistant Commissioner, Felix Hodge and Lloyd Powell.

Brian Reynolds served as COP until 1998 with the assistance of DCP Felix Hodge and ACP Calvin Fahie. MiyVue.com also understands that sometime during that period, three individuals from abroad were attached to the police force as advisors, two of whom were Tim Oliver – advisor with responsibility for training – and Collin Walburton – advisor to the Criminal Investigations Department.

Calvin Fahie commenced his Commissionership in 1998 and took command of the force for approximately six years. Robert Jeffers was his Deputy Commissioner and Clayton Mills was his Assistant Commissioner 

In 2004, Jeffers moved up the ranks and took command of the force following Fahie’s retirement. His Deputy was Meredith Charles and his Assistant Commissioner was Clayton Mills who was succeeded by Ronald Charles, and his successor was Austin Williams.

When Jeffers’ retirement took effect in 2008, Austin Williams climbed the ranks and took the reins of leadership of the force with Deputy Commissioner Stafford Liburd and Assistant Commissioner Ian Queeley – who succeeded Joseph Liburd – by his side.

As is expected, each high command would draft and implement a crime-fighting plan which is in accordance with the Federation’s general Strategic Crime-Fighting Plan, with a view to lessening the number of acts of criminality and increasing the detection rate across the federation.

There are those who contend, however, that the rapid change of COPs, DCPs and or ACPs, has or could have a damaging effect on the crime situation in St. Kitts Nevis, in that, plans and strategies may not be properly executed owing to the rate of turnover of the leadership of the force. Simply put, the change of officers of the High Command, can inhibit the effective implementation of plans, efficient performance and accomplishment of goals.

Minister Condor expressed to this media house that this “may or may not” impede the crime fight in St. Kitts Nevis and further informed that, “We are looking at all of these things. All of these are part of the consideration in a Commissioner of Police.”

When asked if the Ministry of National Security is eyeing any “hopefuls” to succeed COP Williams, Minister Condor indicated that it is too soon to indicate.

“…We cannot look at hopefuls before we look at all the applicants. We don’t know. We have received applications, people are applying.”

So, who will be the next Commissioner of Police? Stafford Liburd, Joseph Richardson, Ian Queeley, another local or someone from across the waters? Only time will tell!


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