Thu | May 24, 2018

Devon Dick | Minister of National Security or POA head should go

Published:Thursday | January 18, 2018 | 12:00 AM

About two weeks ago, the head of the Police Officers Association (POA) made some serious and far-reaching allegations against the honourable minister of national security. The claim was that the honourable minister was interfering in the allocation of motor vehicles and the promotions of members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF). According to a Gleaner editorial, interference is against the law and apparently is prohibited by the JCF Act. A legislator cannot defiantly and unrepentantly be a lawbreaker. It is therefore sad that the honourable minister has not seen it fit to answer the allegations of a significant group from the JCF. This is not good governance, and is a recipe for anarchy. If the honourable minister is guilty, then resignation is the only option. If there is no substance to the allegations of the head of POA, then the head must roll on the ground of public mischief. The minister must speak and deny or go.

In addition, there are others who should speak or go. These allegations can be corroborated. The Police Services Commission (PSC) has the responsibility for the promotions from superintendent to commissioner, while the commissioner of police has the duty to promote from the rank of constable to that of inspector. Either the PSC or the commissioner of police, or both, can verify what the head of POA said. It is unacceptable for both to be silent on such a damning breach. In addition, the commissioner of police should state whether there is interference in the allocation of cars.

 

WIDESPREAD CONDEMNATION

 

Furthermore, the head of POA said that there was a lack of respect by the honourable minister. This is a most grave charge. So many persons condemning Donald Trump, president of the USA, for using expletives in relation to African nations, Haiti and El Salvador. Unless there is hatred only for Trump, then there

ought to be widespread condemnation of any cabinet minister using expletives towards Jamaicans. Apart from the use of expletives against someone is being illegal activity, it is also a sign of contempt, and insulting to another human being. It is a statement that the object of the expletives is perceived as inferior and of low class. It is a failure to recognise our equality before the law and equality under God. The honourable minister needs to state whether he has been disrespectful.

The high murder rate is our number one problem, and we cannot tolerate an honourable minister who goes contrary to the JCF Act with impunity and is disrespectful to the JCF officers. This, if true would compromise the JCF's zero tolerance to lawbreakers. This would demotivate crime fighters. Jamaica deserves a national security minister who earns the respect of the JCF. Therefore, the prime minister could promote the Minister of State Pearnel Charles Jnr, who has a cool head and steady hands, to be the new minister of national security. The outgoing minister of national security could then assume the cabinet position made vacant by the resignation of The honourable Derrick Smith.

The POA head also charged the church with being silent in the context of grievous actions, and also asked whether respect is a Christian issue. The denominational and ecumenical bodies ought to respond to these allegations in an appropriate time frame.

Perhaps the head of the POA could share with us is the strategic crime plan and what resources are needed so that the USA travel advisory could change from one that claims that the JCF cannot manage the crime situation because of lack of resources.

Nevertheless, either the minister of national security or the POA head should go.