Kenny’s crime guru was new Labour candidate’s worst nightmare!

In court: British cop John Broughton and Albert Fregis during a court appearance in 2008.

It is no secret that Albert Fregis had been living in the shadows of Kenny Anthony’s Labour Party for much longer than appears. Then a Police Superintendent, Fregis’ contribution was most likely limited as the ironic “trusted source”, whose efforts toiling in dark Chesterfield corridors have only now borne fruit—his acceptance as the SLP’s Dennery South Candidate. Albert Fregis’ name seemed synonymous with that of imported British Commissioner of Police, John Broughton, from the moment Broughton was appointed to that position in 2007. From his perch as host of the radio show Police Vibes, Fregis often tore into Broughton’s flesh, ravenous at times. Fregis always seemed when it came to Broughton in attack mode.                     Needless to say, Fregis was soon after his radio outbursts replaced on the RSLPF-sponsored Saturday afternoon call-in program.
Ah, but even as the Labour Party moulds Fregis into their ranks, judging by their advert for his launch, the SLP has clearly not succumbed to complete political amnesia—an  ailment the party of doctors are clearly unwilling to remedy. Instead of touting his career as an integral part of the constabulary, the SLP referred to Fregis as a 16-year serviceman.  Was Kenny Anthony afraid of reminding Saint Lucians of the salty reality of John Broughton’s stint as the island’s COP and his battered relationship with Fregis? Did he hope a trip to the uncertified doctors deep with Dennery South’s alpine would erase the fact that Albert Fregis had referred to John Broughton as a “bully”?
“The truth is I have been trying to avoid Broughton because I can see the bully in him. Broughton is a bully. He is always trying to intimidate people and I have seen him at work. Knowing my own personality and not wanting a confrontation, I have been trying to avoid him. But this afternoon I was coming from lower headquarters and went up and around the back, hoping to avoid him,” said Fregis to a STAR Newspaper reporter, back in March 2008, while replaying his side of an alleged altercation between the pair.
“Mr Broughton, leave me alone! Why are you harassing me? Mr Broughton, leave me alone! Why are you assaulting me? Leave me alone!” recalled Fregis. “I was trying to walk past him but he kept blocking my way. He was physically blocking my way. I stepped to one side and he stepped in front of me. I stepped to the other side and again he stepped in front of me. I tried to go around but he kept physically blocking me.”
Later, Fregis would sue Broughton over the alleged “attack.”
No surprise then, that the former Superintendent for Operations was again confined to the shadows when Kenny Anthony stepped up to deliver his party’s crime policy. Interesting too, that Anthony would chose to build his crime strategy on the report of an ex-commissioner who was surely persona non grata to his Dennery South candidate.
But the contempt for John Broughton clearly went beyond the reddened heart of Fregis. Soon after his June 8th, 2008 appointment as COP, the Englishman’s office had been vandalized, his laptop destroyed. On a wall nearest his desk, someone had spray painted his name, a gun and the threat that he would never live to be St Lucia’s police commissioner.
Not long after, in an article entitled, “Cops unite against Broughton” a STAR reporter recounted the saga that unfolded after Broughton transferred Police Association President Verne Garde and Staff Officer Leozandrae De Leon to the Laborie and Choiseul Police Stations, respectively.
At a heavily packed police association meeting, Garde told his colleagues that “the acting commissioner is more concerned about trips and cocktails than addressing what is affecting you.”
The May 28th 2008 article continued: “Instead of viewing issues in a good light,” the officer said Broughton saw the association as a group of troublemakers. De Leon said leaders should not seek to silence the association.                 “What we do today for our association will determine what our association will be able to do for us in the future,” said De Leon.
He repeated issues that were affecting police officers, which were brought to light two weeks ago when the Police Welfare Association announced that its members had given the executive a mandate to call for the removal of acting commissioner John Broughton. He spoke of the issue of the commissioner requesting he write articles on his behalf for the newspapers to make him (Broughton) look good.                 According to De Leon, Broughton had asked him to campaign on his behalf to get others to support him.
“I was asked to do things that may not be proper, may not be legal,” he said. “It’s no secret, it’s not classified. I’ve mentioned it all and will again. I am not doing it; I did not do it. That will not happen.” Many gasped as De Leon made the shocking revelation that as the acting commissioner’s staff officer he was asked to alter accounts.
“I have a lot to lose but I’m standing for what is right!” he said. “I’ve slept a lot better since the 19th, Choiseul is lovely! My issue is a matter of principle. No officer should be punished for doing what is right. I feel liberated; I’m standing on the right side. I have been through a lot, it’s not easy being in the commissioner’s office.”                 Meanwhile, the association president told members they had the right and the responsibility to make the right decision, whether for or against, their decision would be respected. He called on members to state the direction they wanted the association to take.”
As if that were not enough, John Broughton’s relationship with St Lucia took yet another twist, when talk-show host and former SLP vice chairman Claudius Francis, took issue with a new project approved only by Broughton: Policing in Paradise.
According to Francis, Broughton gave permission to and may have personally benefitted from the October Films company’s expose´on local crime. He then told his Straight Up audience that police officers were accosting men in the CDC area and a film crew had been taking footage of them as they were being searched: “The men were being treated like criminals when they had committed no crime.” He went on to inform that “men were being lined up” during “normal police duties” that were nothing short of a badly scripted school play. All this while Tourism and Home Affairs officials remained unaware of the presence of the film crew on island and its intrinsic value to the country.
Remember too, that Broughton was one of the few who accepted envelopes from the Taiwanese in Kenny Anthony’s favourite colour! After much prodding, the acting commissioner would tell reporters that he never received an envelope, only to later report that he had indeed received the Taiwanese ‘gift’ but returned it.
Ah, but presumably the SLP Leader will surely amount Broughton’s troubled past and personal vengeances to no more than water under the bridge, while he skidded over the realities that Broughton’s 2008 report—soon after being promoted to acting commissioner—was in fact a reflection Kenny Anthony’s era in government. Nonetheless, Kenny Anthony and his crime policy appear nothing but a remake of all that had failed during his tenure.
Or was he hoping that we all suffer from the same forgetfulness he seems to battle? Little does he know some of us regularly take our ginkgo.

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