Thu | Sep 21, 2017

Grant wants top cop job - Female DCP offers self to lead force, other senior officers in wait-and-see mode

Published:Saturday | December 31, 2016 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett

ONE high-ranking member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has confirmed that he will not be seeking the job of police commissioner, even as some of his colleagues remained coy about their interest in the post.

Glenmore Hinds, the deputy commissioner in charge of the tough crime portfolio, revealed yesterday that he will be following Police Commissioner Dr Carl Williams out the door early next month on pre-retirement leave.

"No, not at all," Hinds told The Gleaner yesterday when asked if he would be applying for the job of commissioner.

Except for Deputy Commissioner Novlette Grant, who has confirmed that she intends to apply for the position, several high-ranking members of the JCF were coy about their interest in succeeding Williams.

Assistant Commissioner Warren Clarke, who heads the Police Area One, which includes St James, told The Gleaner yesterday that he has not given any thought to applying for the post of police chief.

"Whenever the vacancy comes up, I will need to consult with my family and friends to determine my position one way or the other, but I have not really been considering that," Clarke said, adding that Williams' departure "came as a shock to me".

Devon Watkis, the assistant commissioner in charge of Area Four, which covers the Corporate Area, also adopted a wait-and-see position.

"I will have to see what are the requirements for persons to apply for consideration and, until such time, I'll be unable to comment," the top-rated investigator said.

Deputy Commissioner Clifford Blake, who heads the operations portfolio, declined to comment.

Clifford Chambers, the fast-rising assistant commissioner who heads the JCF's Counter-Terrorism and Organised Crime division, acknowledged that he was not ready to become police commissioner and would not be applying.

"I still have a lot to learn about the organisation. It's an office that any member of the organisation should aspire to hold, but I don't think I am at that level yet," Chamber said.

But in confirming her interest in becoming the nation's first female police chief, Grant pointed out that she has a very unique understanding of the police force having served in various positions on both the operational and administrative sides.

She recounted her rise through the ranks from a detective to senior command positions and said that contrary to popular public opinion, the JCF is not resistant to change.

Grant, who now heads the JCF's administration portfolio, believe she has wide support among the members of the organisation, who, she said, know that she is a principled person.

"So if they know this and are still prepared to support me, then I owe it to them to offer myself," she said.

The Gleaner first reported last week that Williams wrote to the Police Service Commission indicating that, like his predecessor Owen Ellington, he will proceed on early retirement starting January 6.

The Commission has since appointed Grant to act as commissioner for a period of 90 days, starting January 7, while the search for Williams' successor takes place.