Letter of the Day | Commissioner Quallo has much to answer
THE EDITOR, Sir:
This is an open letter to Police Commissioner George Quallo.
The entire country is waiting for Commissioner Quallo to disclose his plan to reduce crime and return integrity to the ranks of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
The Overseas Security Advisory Council, an arm of the US Department of State, has stated in its annual report on crime in Jamaica (for at least the last three years) that the JCF lacks resources, management, and the support of citizens. These are three pillars of curbing crime. How do you, Commissioner Quallo, who, arguably, have been part of this management team for at least the last decade, hope to address these pitfalls?
The most revered highlight of your career is your restructuring and rebuilding of the JCF armoury in 2009. You were lauded for implementing controls and improving accountability. A year later, there was a breach of the armoury in which nine guns and nearly 11,000 rounds of ammunition were compromised. This led then acting Commissioner Owen Ellington to immediately order the facility closed. Would you consider the 2010 breach an indictment on your stewardship?
Constable Crystal Thomas was killed while acting bravely in the line of duty, and the suspect in her killing was conveniently found unconscious in a lockup. The nations still awaits a full report on this incident. Bear in mind, most noble Commissioner, that he was innocent at this point and only could be proven guilty in a court of law.
How would you also ensure that the incident that happened to Mario Deane in a St James lockup does not reoccur? In a 2016 article, noted educator and labour movement activist Ajamu Nangwaya refers to the Jamaican police as being "brutal in their policing of the African working class in Jamaica". Do you, in your professional opinion, find any truth in this assertion?
MORE WIDESPREAD CORRUPTION
National Security Minister Robert Montague, in a 2016 address to members of the Police Federation, stated that corruption within the ranks of the JCF was not only still prevalent, but had become more widespread and sophisticated. The security minister also hinted that the JCF hierarchy was entirely oblivious to the extent of this corruption. How will a George Quallo-led JCF tackle the scourge of corruption that has been strangling the force?
Bear in mind that St James alone recorded 268 murders in 2016, so the nation simply does not have the time to allow the JCF to sort out its administrative shortfalls. We need immediate action. Is this something you can deliver?
Many Jamaicans (including me) stand resolute in our vow to restore law and order to our most beautiful island but are still apprehensive that the JCF is unable to hold its end.
My intention here is to begin a national conversation on the accountability expectations of the JCF and how public perception can hamper crime-fighting efforts. I await your response.