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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Abuse Occures When Weak Men holds Powerful Positions.

It is a sad thing when irresponsible and immature people are put in position of great responsibility; in other words when weak men are place in position of power. Such situations give rise to the misuse of resources and an increase in corruption and other unethical practices. I can say with a great deal of certainty, that this is so in the Bermuda Police Service.

All that’s glitters is not gold, and in the Bermuda Police Service, all who appear to be adult are not mature men and women. I can remember when I was a serving member of that institution; I became a target/victim of particular individuals for some very petty reasons. You see when I came to Bermuda; I left an active social, community and political life in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. I always take the opportunity to share with the public whether by submitting articles for the news papers and or in my vocal expression whenever I was invited to the radio
station to speak or when I call into the live interactive radio programs). As it also is in Bermuda, I have mashed and irritated the social, political and other corns of many people in St. Vincent and the Grenadines and there were a great number of them who wanted and could not wait to get their revenge.

There was the case where ex-superintendent Randy Liverpool, a man who befriended me, who was at the time chairman of the Bermuda Police Service Promotion Board; and one who was solicited by a politician in St. Vincent to ensure that I failed. In this particular case a few Police Sergeants (PS) were solicited for his initial campaign against me; it was their task to frustrate me. There was a particular PS who will go into my incident updates and change the content, alter spelling, or just infused error into my updates, after which he will call me in the presence of the other officer and in a loud tone of annoyance, speak of the errors I was suppose to have made. This was done in order to infuse within my psyche a sense of insecurity and thus replacing the confidence I had.

After a few such incidents, I began to first write my updates in Microsoft word Document, ensure that the content of the updates were spell check then I will paste it onto the AS400 (the program that is used by the Bermuda Police Service to log offences). Yet the same things occurred.

So I decided to print my update immediately after I finish typing, spell checking and pasting it onto the AS400. I can remember the shock this PS had, when he called me into the office, the door wide open; as he began to humiliate me; fortunately for me, this time I was prepared for him. When he began to speak I took out the printout for the particular update, (this caught him by surprised) I look at the errors he pointed out, I compared them to the content of print out; it was then I noticed that the content of the updates on the AS400 and the content of my printed out were different. So I confidently handed the copy of my printout to the Police Sergeant and I told him, “I do not know who wrote or tampered with that update but that is not the update I did. After which, I exited the PS office with a sense of relief, victory and pride in my demonstration of good deductive investigation. That was the last time I had any such experience.

Later the acting PS who after about seven attempt at the police exams and always seems to fail the interview due to his inability to articulate ideas was declared to have passed the exams even after men who are more knowledgeable, efficient and eloquent than him failed. This was the reward of the deal Randy Liverpool made with this particular Sergeant of Police for his efforts against me. He recruited many others who ensure that I was not given the opportunity to make overtime, to be come a certified, police trained SCUBA diver etc. But there were and are more important things than money.

Now to the main point of my discourse: everyone know that the Bermuda Police Service has a technology department that is highly trained and their technical ability far surpasses those regular commercial or other governmental information technology (IT) personnel. Unfortunately there are many senior police officers who often call upon members of the technology staff to bend the law for their personal, selfish, and egoistic gratification.

These guys are often called upon to remotely access people’s private email accounts, their private computers, other site and their personal account of social network (especially when they are set on private).

They also take liberty to listen into your private phone calls, be it land line or your cell. I know victims of this practice and I also know the individual who order such illegal surveillance. I can recall one such case where a senior officer after living a life of infidelity became suspicious that his wife was unfaithful to him. This man delegated police officers under his supervision to follow his wife, he also employed the other resources of the Bermuda Police Service to listen into and make a record of her cell phone calls. I truly envied these officers for they made lots of overtime when overtime was scarce.

It is a difficult task to prevent individuals from abusing such technology, but the Government of any country has an obligation to ensure that its citizen are protected from such unscrupulous men; they must also do all in their power to make sure the community privacy is protected. The government is also obligated to ensure that public funds and resources are not employed for the petty gratification of weak, selfish men who were entrusted with position of trust and power.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Bermuda's Day 2009

Bermuda's national holiday is rapidly approaching, as a matter of fact, the Island premier holiday is just a few days away; and thousands of Bermudians are winding up their preparation for the premier festival.

Although officially the big day is: Sunday May 24th 2009, the government and people are looking forward to Monday the 25th day of May 2009, to indulge in the pageantry that is a welcome relief from the routine of daily living.

The band masters and musicians of the various bands (the Bermuda Regiment band, the various majorette drum lines, the Gombey bands etc) are busy fine tuning their techniques, skills and instruments to ensure the ears of their audience are blessed and their musical arrangement and performances out class that of their silent opponent.

The dancers are working on their dance steps, the majorettes are ensuring that their twirling routines are perfected, the other artisans are busy putting the final touches on their works of art and the die hard Bermuda's day fan are waiting for the right away to go out and stake their claim to their annual family plot along the parade rout, thus ensure their families are afforded the best spot to enjoy the pageantry that is the Bermuda day celebration.

The Bermuda day festival is beautiful in its simplicity (do not have the chaos that is associated with carnival) and creative in its artistry (a display of the nation's artistic and other culture and talents).

Bermuda's day 2008 was my last Bermuda's day as a member of the Bermuda Police Service; I will like to put Bermuda on notice that I will be participating in many more Bermuda day in the near future. Although Bermuda's day 2008 went well, it was soiled by an incident of violence that could have easily been prevented; this incident could have been prevented if the management of the Bermuda Police Service had the foresight to ensure there was a visible police presence, patrolling the grounds of Bernard's Park. I hope my good friend George Jackson will ensure that there is adequate police presence and the designated areas will be properly patrol and not the congregation of pockets of officers in secluded areas.

It is troubling, for just days before the islands premier festival, two individuals were shoot; one of whom later succumbed to his injuries, while the other is nursing his bullet wounds at the King Edward Memorial Hospital; under armed police protection. This new development is troubling because I have the presence of mind to recognize the spirit of revenge that nurtures the egos of the residence of this twenty two square miles island. There are other unfortunately qualities that are also common among the youths and members of the gang culture of Bermuda; a culture of which the two victims are a part, a culture out of which this barefaced daylight shooting germinated. Another of the sad qualities of which I speak is the lack restraint among the groups in question. This lack of restraint is the main factor that prevent them from choosing a time and place appropriate (if there is such) to indulge in their uncivilized violent attack on each other. The Bermuda Police Service has their work cut out for them this weekend.

It is after laying aside the unfortunate incident that threatens the spirit of Bermuda’s Day 2009; that I wish all Bermudian a happy and incident free Bermuda day celebration. Let the love move you Bermuda.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Job Well-done Larry Dennis

The news that the Auditor General of Bermuda Mr. Larry Dennis will be calling it quits at the end of August 2009 is sad news for Bermuda. For this man had valiantly and singly handed kept Bermuda's public officers honest. Those who disregarded his presence, the office he held and Mishandle public funds, were kept on the run: Larry Dennis did all in his power to ensure the offenders were made accountable. People with Larry Dennis' determination and fearless personality is need to be the watch dog in the "culture" that is the "Bermuda government."

I had two opportunities to pick Mr. Dennis’ brain at length when I was his Jailer. This was when Dennis was detained in police custody at the Hamilton Police Station for allegedly having in his possession copies of the stolen Bermuda Housing Corporation dossier (document the Police never recover from Dennis), documents that had information the powers that be wanted to keep private.

Mr. Dennis like the true solider (not literal) he is, suffered the consequence of being confidential, which was, detention in the Jail at the Hamilton police Station. He slept, ate and was treated like anyone who was so detained, yet without complaint. The efforts of the authority to break Larry Dennis and have him squeal like a snitching pig failed, for he knew that he was being prosecuted for a lawful and upright cause and though such treatment may have been humiliating he dealt with it like a man, never losing his respect and or his dignity.

Unfortunately I do not know about the professional ability of Dennis’ successor: Mrs. Heather Jacobs Matthews, however I could remember seeing her unassumingly going about her business in the City of Hamilton, doing her banking with the Bank Of Butterfield on Reid and Burnaby Street. I remembered her for she was the dignified looking senior lady, with the physique and agility of an eighteen year old. I trust that this Soon to be dame (lady receiving the Queens honor) will be as determine as Larry was and she will serve the country and the people of Bermuda with new vigor. I trust that there will be manifested within her the intent to set new levels of integrity; ensuring that all public officer are afraid to mess with the public money.

Ralph Gonsalves Vs Lady Justice

When Barrack Obama the current president of the United States of America speaks; his peers, colleagues, supporters and his detractors are left in awe, holding onto every word that falls from his lips. Barrack Obama does not possess any exceptional quality or qualities that make his hearers float on his words, he does not use a conglomeration of sophisticated words in order to impress his hearers, he do not try to appear as one who is learnt and he does not have the alluring voice of an angel: a voice that is laced with a mesmerizing sensation that enthrall the undivided attention of his hearers.

Many people have been studding the content of Barrack Obama’s speeches. They have been studding his speech pattern and all of the other intricacy of his presentation; however they are still unable to detect what give him the ability to captivate his audience the way he does. Unfortunately what they are looking for cannot be found in his speeches, his words or his mannerism. For Barrack Obama’s alluring power is not in what he says or how he says it, as fate would have it, it is found in the integrity that makes up his character. There is something about a strong character that lends power to a person’s appearance, their word (spoken and written) and their actions; such characteristics that cannot be replicated or imitated.

Lately, many people with mess up character have been trying to create their own Obama moment, one such person is Prime Minister Ralph Gonslaves. He goes about making speeches, not because such speeches are needed but in order to fluff his ego, to gain recognition and respect within the region. His objectives as transparent as they are, drives him to address topics he is not qualify to deal with; in doing so he try to speaks on matters of human ills, he fruitlessly try to lend words of motivations to people who need to be inspired and he often fail to bring light of hope to the hopeless. Unfortunately Gonsalves is a man whose character has been so defiled that he would better serve the members of his species by maintaining an eternal silence. This is so for reason I will develop as I continue in this discourse.

Each time Gonsalves opens his mouth to speak, instead of blessing he blights and weary the ears of his hearers, his words are perfect representation of a paradox: his lifestyle are in total disharmony with his words, words which he (Ralph) is unable to trust.

Recently I was exposed to a speech Ralph Gonsalves made on the Isle of spice: Grenada. In his effort to create an Obama moment he created yet another paradoxical moment. He caution his hearers not to be come entrapped by learn helplessness, however he neglect to careful examine his words, for we all know that for every instance where an individual is afforded an opportunity to learn, such lesson must be taught by a teacher, although many lesson are though by the traditional teachers (human); very often our teachers are nature and or even circumstances which create learning moments or experiences.

He also asked his hearers not to adopting a defeatist attitude or personality or as he called it adopting the principal doctrine of “it cannot be done.” The question that must be answered and is on everyone’s mind is: Does Ralph Gonsalves qualify to use such words or to make such speeches? These are questions each person must answer for them self. I challenge Ralph to justifiable answer these question publicly.

Daily Ralph imposed such lessons and he persuasively taught Vincentian the most binding lesson in helplessness; while also teaching the populace that it cannot be done. He was instrumental in creating the circumstances that cause each of us to learn from our experiences, how to be helpless. Ralph Gonslaves was/is the ideal teacher on helplessness and hopelessness. He not only taught it, he ensures that such lessons were superimposed on the psyche of Vincentian. Such imposed teaching may very well leave a mental impression on the people and cause them to develop mental complexes that may very well affect member of that community for generations to come.

He made the masses helpless when he promoted incompetent people into post they are incapable of handling, causing them to exist in an environment of mental helplessness. He is responsible for the state of bewilderment Vincentian now exist in, as they helplessly and hopelessly wait for service promised, and for their life to improve; regrettably there is no visible or imaginary means of such improvement. This can be seen in the poor health care system that exists in the country, the lack of employment that existed even before the global recession. There is also the poor personal example he set for the people as a role model: he taught decent citizen that it is OK to disregard their decency to get what they want; but more so the rapid increase in reported police brutality only aids in compounding such helplessness.

Ralph Gonsalves is the principal instigator and the perfect teacher of the principal doctrine of learnt helplessness which is: “It cannot be done.” He even went as far as to teach his parliamentary colleagues and those whom he surround himself with, that they are incapable of doing anything: this is exhibited in the way he allows his ego to micro manage every aspect of the government and the lives of those around him. He encourages people not to believe and to develop the mind set that their dreams can and will come through; he used his office to propagated that there is no place in his government, his life and his world for integrity, hard work and honorable motive, which are the driving force of success. Helplessness is what happens when the driving force of success is taken away. Unfortunately individuals who exhibit such independent, ethic and are hard workers are victimized.

We have seen so-called honorable men who were once champions of Justice and truth, when caught in the grasp of Ralph’s, they broke under his pressure, as a result they trade the virtues that characterizes a strong character for life of ease, (I will not unmask such by making a public record of their names) while the real men whose values, principles and ethics are far above that which can be traded like a common commodity, are made to undergo hardship. Such virtue and valiant actions must have something more than intrinsic value.

“It cannot be done:” in the courts of Ralph Gonsalves victims are beaten into submission, just like the female police officer and the Canadian human rights lawyers whose allegation of rape and sexual assault were hurriedly swept under the rug by weak men in powerful positions; but an un-normal bulge in the rug still remain, revealing the hidden mess that is yet to be properly taken care of. I must say that all of the wheeling and dealing will not detour Lady Justice, for she will not be deprived of her opportunity to present her public performance in poetic wonderment, a performance she uncomplainingly await to deliver: poetic Justice.

It was only a matter of days after Ralph Gonsalves try to create his Obama Moment by admonishing the people of the Caribbean not to embrace “learnt helplessness,” and not to buy into its principal doctrine which is “It cannot be done.” Here is a case where the great counselor Ralph Gonsalves, forget that example is still the greatest teacher, he fail to follow his own counsel and use the opportunity to teach his student (including himself) a valuable lesson. Instead, in a display of self taught helplessness, he burst into a tangent of childish rage pointing his finger at his CARICOM neighbor: Barbados, threatened not to play with the other members of CARICOM if Barbados do not confirm to his code of conducting the affairs of their nation. Did Vincentian elected a spoilt child to be their political leader?

This is what was meant when Ralph speak of learn helplessness and buying into its principal doctrine of “it cannot be done. Couldn't’t Ralph Gonsalves the nation’s lead statesman and chief diplomat find some diplomatic avenue of addressing the concerns of Vincentian as it relates to the immigration differences between both countries? Or is he frustrated that he no longer holds the influence and respect he once held among his CARICOM colleagues.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Cheri-Ann Smith Congratulation

Yesterday Tuesday 5th May 2009, I received some very important news about a friend in Bermuda. This news made me very proud to know that I had a hand in this young person professional career.

It was just over three years ago, so I remember it like it was only yesterday, when young Cherri-Anne Smith, fresh out of the Bermuda Police Training School was assigned to the team or watch as it is called in the Bermuda Police Service (BPS) where I was also assigned. At this stage of her police career the beautiful lass still not quite sure of herself but was eager to learn.

I was so blessed that I was afforded the privilege of mentoring her older sister in the same capacity about two years earlier. As most police officers fresh out of training school are; Cheri-Ann was eager to show me what she had learnt. She wanted to be on the streets enforced the law.

I could remember our very first meaningful assignment as a team. A vice president in a popular insurance company had violated a restraining order. Because I was entrusted with the responsibility of teaching this very impressionable young person the practicality of policing I had to be careful. I wanted to ensure I taught her how to do things the correct way, give her a sense of why it should be done in a particular way, but most of all not to personalize other people’s problems. It is common for individuals making a report very often expect you (the police officer) to react as if the offender had violated our (the investigating officer) rights, or commit an offence against us. Unfortunately too many officers are guilty of this.

I saw this opportunity to teach my new partner and later friend this valuable lesson; so we began our investigation. Our first mission was to prove that the offence actually happened, so we went in search of the proof (evidence) that the allegation was not a malicious one.

After a lengthy discussion with PC Smith about the matter which required our attention and I was sure that she understood what was required we commenced our investigation, Officer Sherri-Anne Smith went about gathering the evidence that was needed to verify that an offence was actually committed.

  • First: Cheri-Anne obtained an authentic document from the court which verified that a presiding jurist reviewed evidence and issued a temporary restraining order which is normal.

  • Second: she lends validity to the report. Before any police officer can take any meaningful action on behalf of a complainant who is not incapacitated or one that is not deemed incompetent to make a report, the investigating officer should first obtain a valid statement from the complainant. In this statement Officer Smith made a detail record of the allegation.

  • Then she went about obtaining evidence to collaborate the allegation that was made. It is important that this aspect is done in such cases; this is so because the presiding Jurist (whether it is a magistrate or a Judge) depends on the information of the police officer to determine the suspect guilt.
After Officer Smith had put in all of the ground work I noticed that she was visible upset. The young officer entered into the emotions of the crying victim who was for obvious reasons traumatized. She began to internalized the ladies problem which is common with many seasoned police officers who personalized the case.

This spurred in my partner an eagerness to have the suspect arrested and taken before the court. I could not forfeit this opportunity to teach this intelligent lass who possessed such an excitement to learn her job, one of the most valuable lesson in policing.

So I delayed the arrest of the suspect for a few hours and once again began to speak of the case and the two people involved, I use my experience and training as a counselor to guide the conversation to a place where my new partner came to her own conclusion as it regards to her feelings for the suspect and the victim. It did not take long before she began to exhibit the desired attitude to the incident we were dealing with.

Now it was time to make the arrest, we went over our approach using role play; then we went to the third floor executive office to make the arrest. I stood by my young partner as she affected the arrest. When the time was right I removed my hand cuff from my holster and passed it to my partner. After she outfitted the suspect with the handcuffs, we were ready to convey the suspect to the Hamilton Police Station.

When we were about to leave the suspect speak; looking at the young lady, who was only old enough to be his daughter he said, "this is very embarrassing to be escorted out of my office in hand cuffs, by the police, in the presence of my staff." Then he asked if he can be allowed to leave the office without the hand cuffs. My young partner looked at me expecting me as the senior officer to step in and make this decision. I then reassured her that what ever she decided was quite ok with me; she made a decision and we escorted the suspect out of the building; then to the Hamilton police station where he spend the weekend. The following Monday he was taken to the Hamilton Magistrate Court where he was found guilty of violating the order from the court.

So when I learnt that Cherri-Anne Smith will be acting Sergeant of Police supervision her peers most of whom will be her senior in service and experience I was elated and proud to know that at lease I had the pleasure of working with and being apart of her policing education.

Cheri-Anne is not one to shy away from challenges and I know that she is going to tackle this new responsibility with the tact and tenacity that she exhibited while we worked together. Congratulation Acting Police Sergeant (PS) Cheri-Anne Smith.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Emerging Literacy Profile

The student that is the subject of this practicum is a fifteen years old Latino male. This young man is the oldest of two children and is of Mexican parentage. The subject was born in Veracruz Mexico. Veracruz is a deprived neighborhood and school is not a priority for people in this community.

For the purpose of this assignment, to protect the subject from becoming stigmatize and to avoid any legal repercussion we will call student Philip.

The subject came to the United States of America at ten (10) years old; however while in Mexico his elderly grand mother was entrusted with his care and responsibility since the subject was two years old. As a result the subject had a poor school attendance whilst he was living in Mexico. The subject currently resides in a Hispanic community and is required to live in an overcrowded, low income, extended family setting.

The subject has a younger brother, who was born in the USA. Both brothers attend the same school and are in the eighth grade but they are in different class. When the subject entered the United States of America school system, the general assessment placed the subject two grades below that of a child his age. The subject is withdrawn, rarely speaks and appears to be tired or low of energy.

Although there is a father present in the home, the mother takes the leading role as it relates to the care and nurturing of the children. She also takes a keen interest in the academic advancement of her children; unfortunately she lacks the kills necessary, the academic background and the finances to make any meaningful contribution to support her sons in improving their literacy skills.

Even though the family is required to exist in an English speaking society where English is the first language; Spanish is the primary language that is spoken in the household which Philip spend the last five years. This do not aid in facilitating the subject in gaining a full appreciation for the English language. The primary recreation factor and social pastime in the subject home is the television and although there is a presence of books every where in the home; reading for any reason (information, educations and entertainment) is none existent.

The children in this extended household spend a large amount of time unsupervised when they are at home; this is so because the adults in this family work very long hours performing laborious task in order to meat their primary financial obligation.

The subject in-school behavior:
I can report from a review of the student’s records; there are nothing adverse about his behavior no bad or poor conduct sheet follows him. Although the parent said the child is vocal when he is at home he appears to be very quiet when he is in the class. from my observation of the subject I have concluded that behaviorally he can be considered withdrawn he rarely interact with the other student but will participate in group activities only when it is required that he so do.

Although the subject has good oral command of the English language he has a deep Spanish accent and is teased by the other children about the way he speaks. The student has poor reading skills and this affect his ability to comprehend text that is required and expected from someone in his grade level. His reading and comprehension of the English language is very poor hence the reason he perform in these two key areas three grades below his current assigned grade.

Professional Observation:

Philip is a very intelligent student with the ability to progress academically, his ability to proficiently read and understand Spanish is a sign that he does not have a learning disability; when that is combined with the progress he made in the command he has in his vocal expression of the English language; this in itself a good indicator that the subject is capable of meeting and surpassing the requirements of his grade; However the student will have to develop a desire to do so.

The subject needs help in dealing with the effect of a Culture Shock: Culture Shock refers to the anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, confusion, etc.) felt when people have to operate within a different and unknown cultural or social environment, such as a foreign country. It grows out of the difficulties in assimilating the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not. This is often combined with a dislike for or even disgust (moral or aesthetical) with certain aspects of the new or different culture; which also includes attending new schools and have to go over the process of making friends again.

It is important to note that culture shock may not be totally avoided but the impact could have been limited if his parent had took the time to properly prepare the lad for his new environment and aid him in the adjustment period.

Philip is insecure and timid. Such insecurity and timidity may be the effects of the culture shock; he also needs the help of his parent and guardian. He needs help in building his self-esteem and an attitude that he can do anything he want to.

The Recommendation:

Although I feel inadequate to tackle such a task, my observation has lead me to come up with a few ideas that may aid the subject in improving his academic aspect of his life. In order to make Philip the subject of this study a stronger student; it will take the cohesive or the combined efforts of the two primary institutions in this student’s life which are the home: the parent, the guardian as well as the school system (the teachers).

  1. Philip teachers will have to ensure that particular attention is paid to Philip thus ensuring that he received a level of personalized attention.

  2. Philip needs to be supervised while at home, his parent and guardian need to get involved in Philip’s academic life. They need to ensure that Philip spend quality time doing homework.

  3. Philip’s family need to manage the television and encourage the children in the household to read. This should be done by designating reading times and the adults in the family must also participate in such events. This will give the children in the household including Philip an appreciation for reading.

  4. Both the family unite and the teachers has to help Philip in developing a healthy self-esteem.

  5. Philip’s family need to develop and teach the children an appreciation for the English language and this can be accomplished by making English the primary language of communication within the home setting.

  6. Philip is aware that he is not functioning as is expected, however he needs the help of the parents to instill within him and to motivate the lad to pursue as well as to gain a comprehensive reasons why he should pursue his academic.

    The teacher’s role:

    It is important that the people who are entrusted with this student on site (in-school) academic development to show him that he is capable of performing above his present skill level.

    The Conclusion: a teacher must always enter the class with the concept that there is no student that cannot learn but there are teacher that do not have the necessary skill set to reach a particular child or children. A good teacher will look beyond the surface and help the child to address the psychological and external variables that are creating a block and is preventing that child from learning. For the potential is endless.

    Reference: Wikipedia on line encyclopedia

    Culture Shock: Dr. Carmen Guanipa, Dept. of Counseling and School Psychology,San Diego State University.