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Bermuda Sun
April 4, 1997

Search continues for new police chief

By Don Burgess

THREE senior police officers have been identified as potential candidates to replace Colin Coxall as police commissioner when his contract expires next March.

Superintendent Vic Richmond, 51, and Chief Inspectors George Jackson, 44, and Jonathan Smith, 37, were quietly appointed to the Executive Development Group last November.

Other candidates could be announced later and would come from the pool of officers who hold the rank of chief inspector, superintendent or assistant commissioner.

Of the top tier of officers serving under Commissioner Coxall and Deputy Commissioner Jean Jacques Lemay, only Superintendent Richmond is part of the group; Superintendent Campbell Simons, 53, Superintendent Alan Bissell, 53, and Assistant Commissioner Harold Moniz, 57, are not.

The EDG idea was announced last August by Governor Lord Waddington and Labour and Home Affairs Minister Quinton Edness as "a programme aimed at developing senior police officers to fill the ranks of superintendent, assistant commissioner, deputy commissioner and commissioner of police within the Bermuda Police Service.

"The commissioner, with the chairman of the Public service Commission, will evaluate and select a small number of police officers for intensive training and development in Bermuda and abroad, with a view to their eventual appointment to the most senior positions within the service."

According to police spokeswoman Evelyn James Barnett, Superintendent Richmond, and Chief Inspectors Jackson and Smith were appointed to this group last November.

No formal announcement was made at that time that these officers were made a part of the EDG group. However, in a speech hosted by the Respect for Law Alliance at the Elbow Beach Hotel on November 9, Commissioner Coxall said that Chief Inspectors Jackson and Smith would be part of a six month exchange programme with Scotland Yard. However, he did not mention that they were part of the EDG programme.

And in an interview with the Bermuda Sun in December, Mr. Edness gave no indication that anyone had been appointed to the EDG: "I would expect that we're going to be announcing in the not too distant future the candidates that have been selected by the process," he said.

He added: "I know they are in the process of making that selection and we ought to be able to announce them ... before the holiday or immediately after the holiday who the candidates are going to be."

Mr. Edness said there will probably be a minimum of six candidates selected.

Police Commissioner Coxall stressed other officers could be added to the Executive Development Group, and the three candidates selected so far would not necessarily become the next commissioner of police.

He said: "I sat down with the chairman of the public services commission and we interviewed nearly all the senior officers of the service of chief inspector and superintendent rank who indicated they would be interested ... in some executive development. We selected three officers at this stage and with the strong possibility of selecting further senior officers later."

Offshore training

Commissioner Coxall added: "It is a leap of imagination ... to presume that these people as holding more senior rank in the future. That is the matter for the Governor ... and in conjunction with the public service commission and the minister."

He said the three officers would be getting extra offshore training. and that the service is "spending an enormous amount of time on training on all of our senior officers which had been neglected in the past."

Shadow Minister for Public Safety Alex Scott was not amused by the retro-announcement.

"It certainly didn't came across to the whole community that ... they were the candidates," he said. "I think we are now beginning to reconstruct it as being an announcement."

He added: "It was not characterized as such. It was announced they are going abroad for additionally training. The announcement seemed to overtake us in our sleep because nobody seems to realize what that actually was last November. Unfortunately it is this sleight of hand that raises serious credibility over the statistics and all the pronouncements at the police service."

Mr. Scott said that Chief Inspectors Jackson and Smith were "exemplary officers" but "we just lament that many other senior officers, superior to these officers that we are now discussing have been overlooked."

He called it "a miscarriage of justice" that Wayne Perinchief and Harold Moniz had been overlooked. "This is not a complaint against these younger officers outside the fact that they lack the seniority of those we have mentioned and others."

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