Thu | Nov 23, 2017

'We stand with you' - Police chief gets expected support from unions

Published:Saturday | August 19, 2017 | 12:00 AM
George Quallo

Police Commissioner George Quallo, whose leadership the public defender has said is "severely compromised", is fighting back and is now saying he has support for his stance on the controversial Tivoli review report from the two unions representing cops in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

The Jamaica Police Federation and the Police Officers' Association "stand with" the commissioner, according to a statement yesterday from the JCF, which gave no details on the positions of the groups.

Quallo, a police chief in the job for four months, also used the statement to indicate that the controversial review report, which has only won public support from pro-police groups, will go the Gordon Shirley-chaired Police Service Commission (PSC), which will look into whether any cop was derelict in his or her duties during the 2010 Tivoli operation.

"We recognise that the conversations and concerns raised over the last few days may possibly erode our stakeholders' confidence in us," the statement quoted Quallo as saying. "However, we believe in policing with the consent of the people to ensure that the human rights and dignity of all are preserved, and seek the public's patience as we await a response from the Police Service Commission."

"That seems to be passing the buck," Public Defender Arlene Harrison said. Up to press time, there was no word on yesterday's meeting between the JCF leadership and National Security Minister Robert Montague on the matter.

The Gleaner has submitted questions to the PSC.

The support for Quallo comes at the end of a week in which Dr Horace Chang, a senior minister in the Andrew Holness-led Cabinet, said the police's administrative review report, clearing five cops of wrongdoing in the 2010 Tivoli operation, was "not good" and would not be accepted by the Government.

 

Calls for withdrawal

 

The public defender, the Independent Commission of Investigations, and leading human-rights groups Jamaicans for Justice want the report withdrawn and have condemned the JCF for questioning the integrity of the Commission of Enquiry into the 2010 events. That commission had recommended the administrative review, which was done by a nine-member committee chaired by Assistant Commissioner of Police Wray Palmer.

Former Director of Public Prosecutions Kent Pantry was also a member of the committee, which Quallo said was made up of "experienced, technically sound and reputable citizens who were objective in their approach".

There have been calls this week for the Jamaica Defence Force to say what it has done to improve its systems since the 2010 operation that left at least 69 people dead - at least 20 of whom the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry believes were murdered by the security forces.

jovan.johnson@gleanerjm.com