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House committee frustrated over tension between INDECOM, police

Published:Thursday | November 3, 2016 | 11:00 AMJovan Johnson
Terrence Williams, commissioner of INDECOM.

When Terrence Williams yesterday opposed the suggestion that a mediator look into concerns between the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), he was quickly shut down by Manchester North Western representative Mikael Phillips, who lamented the persistent friction between the two organisations.

"I don't know if I am the fool inside here or you are being fooled, but if a document is supposed to be signed and

a year passes and it is not signed, then somebody not comfortable," Phillips said.

Members of Parliament's Public Administration and Appropriations (PAAC) were surprised by Williams' disclosure that for more than a year, the two entities have made no progress on signing off on a protocol to govern how INDECOM takes statements from police personnel.

Williams made the disclosure in his response to a claim last week from Deputy Commissioner of Police Glenmore Hinds that he flips on agreements, and in the process frustrates, the relationship between the INDECOM head and the police.

The INDECOM boss said the claim was "unfounded" and instead read aloud emails to support his view that it is the police who have been stalling the only protocol he said needs to be signed off to pave the way for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU).

"I don't think there's any need for any mediator between ourselves and the JCF on this point," he said.

"Mr Hinds, who spoke last week, is not part of those negotiations. For some unknown reason, which has not been expressed to us, the final document has not been signed. If there is a reason the commissioner has for not signing off on it, we can go back to the drawing board."

 

DEEP-SEATED ISSUES

 

However, the PAAC members argued that the lack of progress on the issue highlighted that there are deep-seated issues between the two entities that need to be sorted out.

"Out in the public, it not looking good," said Phillips. "Whatever the cause for the police not to [sign], there needs to be intervention. Obviously, the Ministry of National Security itself is not able to deal with the matter as it needs to be dealt with."

Diane McIntosh, permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security, said the MOU would be signed soon.

jovan.johnson@gleanerjm.com