Mon | Jan 21, 2019

Follow procedure, Watson tells Montague

Published:Thursday | January 11, 2018 | 12:00 AMSyranno Baines/Gleaner Writer

Indicating that proper procedures are not being followed, President of the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC) Laurence Watson has called on Prime Minister Andrew Holness to intervene in the "worrying" situation between the Ministry of National Security and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

Speaking at the monthly meeting of the Lions Club of Kingston at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel yesterday, the businessman stated that the tension and disconnect between the security ministry and the police force was a cause for concern, given the country's alarming murder statistics.

Watson cited a release issued on Sunday by the Police Officers' Association, which accused the security minister, Robert Montague, of directly interfering in the operations portfolio of the commissioner of police.

"The role of the ministry of national security is to set policy, and the role of the JCF, which is headed by the commissioner of police, is to implement these policies. If the security ministry has an issue with the JCF, the proper procedure is to refer these matters to the Police Service Commission or the Police Civilian Oversight Authority (PCOA)," Watson said.

Established in 2006, Watson pointed out that the PCOA operates as a mechanism separate from the police force to ensure the accountability, adherence to policy guidelines, and observance of proper policing standards by the police force.

He continued: "It cannot be accepted that anybody in any position goes outside what has been established by Government and documented in law to do their own thing.

"From what is happening, it appears that proper procedures are not being followed. I, therefore, call upon Prime Minister Holness and all concerned parties to intervene and to ensure that the procedures of our country and our Government are followed. I think the future of Jamaica is at stake, and unless we get the monster of crime under control, all the gains that have been made will come to zero, and the future of our country will be bleak," Watson said.