Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Devon Dick | Is the Police Services Commission sexist?

Published:Thursday | April 27, 2017 | 4:00 AM

Is the Police Service Commission (PSC) sexist? According to a government website, the members of the commission, with effect from February 1, 2016, are Professor the Hon Gordon Shirley, OJ, chairman; Dr The Hon Marshall Hall, OJ, CD; Bishop Dr Robert Thompson; Dr Brian Morgan; Mr Gladstone Lewars. What is indisputable is that the commission is all male.

Furthermore, it is not clear who is the youngest member of the commission, but none appears to be below 60. Why is a young man like a Parris Lew-Ayee Jr, who provides real-time technology which aids the security forces with an interest in spatial mapping, not on the PSC? Who provides the technological expertise on the PSC to ask questions that will take crime-fighting to another level?

But is the PCS sexist? Sexism has been defined as prejudice, stereotyping or discrimination typically against women. The website further states that "There is also the secretary to the PSC, who is a member of staff of the Office of the Services Commissions." The person was not named, but chances are the secretary is a woman. Why is it that secretarial support is usually assigned to a woman? If it is stereotyping of women why the secretary to the PSC is female, then that is sexism. If the argument is that the great secretaries are female, then that argument would lead to the PSC having mainly women because the job is largely a human resource function and the vast majority of excellent practitioners are women.

It is easy to be sexist in a male-dominated society. Jamaica-born author Noel Erskine, who worked with Coretta King, said of the famed United States civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr, that he imitated the Black Church and the Nation of Islam in excluding women from leadership roles and responsibilities. This is paradoxical for King because the civil rights movement got impetus from the action of Rosa Parks, who, in December 1955, refused to sit in the back of the bus as her skin colour determined.

 

EASY TO BE SEXIST

 

Earlier this month, I was the guest of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, which, since 2013, has its first female general secretary in Lynn Green. However, at a justification and justice symposium at Spurgeon's College, London, at which I was the main speaker, and Green was a presenter, the images used to inspire Baptists were that of Martin Luther and Martin Luther King Jr. In addition, at another justice forum in Hull, Yorkshire, in which I participated, the organisers added another figure, and it was William Wilberforce. I asked publicly why no female figures to inspire, such as Mary Seacole, greatest Black Briton, or a Rosa Parks. It is easy to be sexist, in general, and also for the PSC.

The PSC should explain to the public why it asked for persons to apply and an application came from an acting commissioner, a woman, and then told a DCP who did not apply that he will be interviewed. Is this sexism? Obviously, the male DCP did not want the job, but greatness has been thrust upon him. So the commissioner of police is just like the minister of national security.

The minister said that the new commissioner of police must have a strategic plan. We need to hear it because it must be the best plan. Furthermore, once there is no prejudice against women, it means that the person who comes out on top is the most qualified, fittest and/or most prepared out of those interviewed.

The PSC should explain its actions so that we have a fighting chance against the monster of crime and violence.

- Rev Devon Dick is pastor of the Boulevard Baptist Church in St Andrew. He is author of 'The Cross and the Machete', and 'Rebellion to Riot'.

Send feedback to columns@ gleanerjm.com.