Police morale low following murder charge of one of their own
PWA President Travis Chicot
The Police Welfare Association (PWA) has expressed concern as it relates to the morale of officers of the Royal Saint Lucia Police Force (RSLPF).
The cause for concern by the PWA is being expressed following the murder charge brought against a member of the RSLPF last week.
Mitchell Vitalis was charged with murder on August 19, 2020, for the 2018 shooting death of 22-year-old Ronnie Samuel.
Samuel opened fire at a mass crowd event in Gros Islet on August 1, 2018, injuring two people before he was shot by police.
When asked if the morale of officers was low at the moment as a result on this development, PWA President Travis Chicot declared, "Of course!"
"That is what it is. When we have those issues, persons are friends, we are a small organization, friends become brothers, brothers become family... that's what we have. It will take a lot to get back to our good days and I am sure another situation like that would destroy us and it is just a really trying time for us as an association, as a membership and I just call for quick dispensation of justice in such a matter," Chicot said.
According to the PWA President, officers should not lose faith in the justice system.
"We have a few officers who are on suspension, currently we have another officer currently in suspension for a similar offence and its been twelve years.
The Welfare Association sometimes understands the challenges of the judicial system and we call on our members at this point in time that we should never lose hope on the judicial system and we must at all times have confidence in the state.
We urge our members to remain professional, we know we are operating in trying times and we urge our members in providing professional service," said Chicot.
Police officers stood outside police headquarters in solidarity with officer Vitalis on August 19, 2020.