Former president of the Law Association, Senior Counsel Martin Daly is calling for top cop Stephen Williams to go.
Daly’s statement yesterday came after it was reported that acting Commissioner of Police Williams, in an interview with i95.5FM, said a death threat against CCN senior investigative journalist Mark Bassant may have been partly as a result of Bassant’s “irresponsibility”.
Williams had said: “There were a lot of statements and utterances made by Mr Bassant which have been very irresponsible on his part on things which are incorrect, which I know as a fact are incorrect, which I can just put in the public domain, based on the office I hold and the access to information I have. And some of that, I believe, may have triggered the issue of a threat being made against Mr Mark Bassant.”
In an immediate response, Daly blamed the Police Service Commission for inflicting “upon us Stephen Williams as acting Commissioner of Police”.
“We have an appallingly low crime detection rate and now he has delivered an utterly shocking utterance, which convinces me that the current members of the Police Service Commission should disappear into the wilderness if they intend to renew Mr Williams’ acting appointment as Commissioner.
Mr Williams has effectively said that television journalist, Mark Bassant, has looked for it, namely that by his ‘irresponsibility’, in Mr Williams’ opinion, (which many might say is extremely shallow and out of the loop), Bassant himself may have triggered the issue of the widely reported death threat against him,” said Daly.
He observed that however qualified Commissioner Williams’ assertion that the police are taking the death threat report seriously, “Mr Williams’ highly questionable utterance for a person holding his office can only serve as comfort to all those who wish to suppress the media. It is clear that he does not believe in the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech unless he is an arbiter of what degree of freedom is to be allowed. That of course is one hallmark of a police state.
Additionally it is crude and insensitive to speak as Mr Williams has done at a time when the entire country is justifiably nervous about exposure to violent crime. He has further vividly brought into question his reliability to protect and serve us.”
Daly said he hoped Prof Deosaran and his colleagues on the PSC “know what their duties are” and will cease being accomplices to Mr Williams’ deficiencies.
“There is need for Mr Williams to depart forthwith from the seat of Acting Commissioner or, in the absence of some compelling public explanation or apology, to be robustly pushed aside,” he ended.
Bassant was forced to flee the country after he received reports that death threats had been made against him, and that a hit with a starting price of $20,000 was ordered against him.
Contacted yesterday, Commissioner Williams requested that the Sunday Express e-mail him Daly’s statement before he could respond.
The Sunday Express complied with Williams’ request.
He did not respond yesterday.