A bomb exploded or was it an earthquake which shook? No it was in fact a tsunami which struck Jamaica on Aug. 7, 2007. Whatever form it took, it was a catastrophe. We speak of the decision by the Court of Appeal to overrule the Police Service Commission’s retirement of Inspector O’Connor in the public’s interest.
Thirty Five (35) allegations of misconduct were brought to the Court’s attention. Of these thirty five (35) allegations only two (2) were corroborated, meaning that two (2) victims were brave enough to come forward and give testimony. Apparently, the Judge was not satisfied. He wanted evidence for all thirty five (35) allegations. Notwithstanding the fact that under normal circumstances conviction on any one of the two (2) counts was sufficient to land the rogue in prison. By this ruling, are we to understand that police officers who engage in unlawful conduct are still an asset to the Jamaica Constabulary Force? Was their motto: to Serve, Protect and Reassure overruled?
It is a well known fact that the average citizen, in Jamaica , has very little confidence in the police. Let us stop “bury our head in the sand”. The rogues have given us good reason not to trust them. Our police force must be one of, if not the most corrupt in the world. Because of limited space we are unable to regurgitate the specifics of history, the particular circumstances at the time when this Force was formed to confirm this even though that by itself would be a compelling argument especially at this time when we celebrate Emancipendence. A cursory review of last week’s news should be sufficient to substantiate the claim. But if there is still room for doubt ask your fellow motorist, taxi or bus driver, if you have been so fortunate never to have been harassed for money or if you have never given a bribe to a more than willing cop for a traffic violation or some other breach of the road traffic act and for reconfirmation speak to a resident, a fellow citizen of a poor and/or inner city/ghetto/garrison community whose human rights were trampled upon today! No wonder some say we live in a police state.
The Police Service Commission is the only body with authority to fire a rouge cop. The Commissioner of police has no such authority. The JCF is a dinosaur, apart of the relic of colonialism’s divide and rule strategy. The Commissioner cannot dismiss a member of his staff after sufficient evidence exit that he has contemptuously disregarded rules and regulations. The wily Planter class ensured back then that they retained control of the JCF through the Police Service Commission.
The ruling in the context of our present reality of an out of control police force is a most regrettable decision and has repercussions that will haunt us for a long, long time. For the Police Service Commission is the only body so empowered to arrest the atrocities of rogue cops and if this body can be so dismissively overruled by the courts may God have mercy on us small-fry! An inevitable though unintended outcome of this ruling will be the emboldening of rouge cops and hereafter we can expect more violations of our human rights. May God have mercy upon the poor defenceless citizen who now resides in the inner city or as we call it in Jamaica , the ghetto.
We hope and let us pray that the Solicitor General will appeal this decision and good sense will prevail in a more reasonable court because the Police Service Commission must regain its authority to “weed out’ rogue cops from the JCF until and when this power is divested and given to the rightful owner- the Commissioner of Police.
Carlos.R.King is the Founder and Executive Chairman of The Jamaican Empowered Voter Association- (TJEVA) a Think Tank and Voter Advocates, based in St. Catherine, dedicated to Jamaica ’s development.
TJEVA- a non-partisan, non-denominational, non-sectarian- NGO