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Letter of the day: Rename police award for Christian principles

Published:Saturday | August 22, 2015 | 8:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

I read an article published online in The Gleaner on Thursday, August 20, 2015 titled 'Scrap Christian police award, Pastor Roper tells JCF'.

I think this article shows how divided we are as a people and contradicts our motto, which states, 'Out of Many, One People'.

The Reverend Dr Garnett Roper stated that the Police High Command should honour recruits for honesty, discipline and fairness, but taxpayers' money should not be used to reward persons in a secular entity for displaying any religious principle.

I totally agree because this award is categorically geared towards the police recruit who portrays principles of the Christian faith and not those of minority religions in Jamaica, such as Rastafarianism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, and those who claim no religious affiliation.

On the contrary, I don't think the award was created to discriminate. In my opinion, the 'Best Christian Principles' award that was created in 1957 by then JCF chaplain Canon Hugh Smythe was to instill in the minds of policemen or women a sense of honesty, integrity and values according to the Christian faith in executing duties.

I think a name change would be more appropriate, though, because Jamaica is multi-religious, irrespective of Christianity being the dominant faith.

Jamaica has a constitutional parliamentary democracy, and according to the Constitution, Jamaica has no declared state religion.

The Jamaica Constabulary Force, as a secular organisation, should not be honouring individuals in the name of Christian principles. Let Christian entities do that type of awarding for Christians. More so, regardless of the award being presented with goodwill intended, it would portray religious bias.

Should a name change be granted, police recruits should be honoured for ethical and unquestionable moral behaviour; for adherence to the rules or standards governing his or her conduct, for conforming to the principles as established by society, and for the profession to 'Serve, Protect and Reassure'.

RICARDO COLE

insightsbycole@gmail.com