Friday, May 27, 2016


The former Assistant Commissioner of Police, Godfra Hermitte resigned from his post on 21 March. He said then that he had been forced to do it and that he would give an explanation at a later date. This week, Mr Hermitte sat down with journalists to give an account of events that led to his resignation.

Things began to unravel for former Assistant Commissioner of Police, Godfra Hermitte some nine months ago, according to his accounts of the events that led him to submit his resignation earlier this year.

"I could not condone unethical practices and they didn't like it", Godfra Hermitte said.

Mr Hermitte told TODAY he was given a directive by the Minister for Home Affairs, Charles Bastienne to sack someone from the police force. He said the reason given was that the person “wasn’t one of us.” The implication was that the person, who worked at the Anse Boileau police station, was not a supporter of the ruling party. Mr Hermitte said he was extremely uncomfortable with the decision and made it known to anyone who would listen to him. “I was a professional and as such, I believe that wasn’t a valid reason to sack someone from the force. I believe that competence, honesty and loyalty to the organisation are the necessary requirements – certainly not a person’s political beliefs,” he said.

However, Mr Hermitte said he felt he was being tested and from then on things went from bad to worse.

Another test came before last December’s Presidential elections during the recruitment of new trainee police officers. Since he was the Assistant Commissioner responsible for support services, which also involved human resources, he expressed doubts on the recruitment process. “There were people who sat for the exams and failed, but were recruited. Some others simply failed to sit for the exam and they were selected,” he said, adding that “one got the impression that the Minister’s office was like a recruitment centre.” He said those youths had to be recruited no matter what as their votes and their families’ votes were crucial. “It was unprofessional and I again expressed my displeasure which must have certainly reached the ears of the Minister.”

 Mr Hermitte said that from then on, he felt he was sidelined from decision making. “Meetings were held and I was kept out of them. They just couldn’t understand my stance against politics in the civil service. Therefore they went out of their way to frustrate me,” he said.

According to Mr Hermitte’s account, things came to a head when he was summoned to the Minister’s office together with the Commissioner of Police to be told that he was being transferred to the office of the Minister as an advisor.

“I told the Minister that I needed time to think about the proposal. I spent a weekend agonising over it and I informed the Minister the following week that I would not mind being his advisor as long as I remained in the police force and based at the central police station.”

Mr Hermitte said that after ten days with no reply, he asked the ministry to propose a package, to which the Minister replied that he would refer the matter to the Commissioner of Police. However, he was in for a surprise as on 19 February, the Commissioner gave him a letter informing him that he was being transferred to the Minister’s office. “That was illegal. The Commissioner had absolutely no power to transfer me anywhere except within the force,’ he said.

Mr Hermitte added that he subsequently wrote to the Commissioner with queries regarding the issue. He said he never got an answer and his conclusion is that whatever happened to him was nothing but a political vendetta.

Source: Today in Seychelles