Mon | Nov 20, 2017

Letter of the Day | Monitor police probe of Trelawny child abuse

Published:Tuesday | November 14, 2017 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

This is an open letter to the commissioner of police, George F. Quallo.

Dear Commissioner Quallo,

It is with a deep sense of outrage and concern for the well-being of a young victim of physical and resultant psychological abuse that I seek your attention to a recent matter that has been disseminated through reports in the newspapers, on television and radio newscasts and discussed widely on social media.

While I am heartened by the investigating activities of government agencies charged with overseeing childcare and protection in the home, in institutions, public, private, and charitable (NGOs), the intervention and instructions of the minister of education, the expressed opinions of community and social activists, the responses from the Jamaica Constabulary Force thus far leave much to be desired.

The senior officer in charge of Area Five has admitted that required procedures and protocols were not observed.

It is reported that the distressed mother of the young victim was not allowed to make a report, formal or otherwise, to any police officer on either of her visits to the station in Trelawny. She was subsequently arrested for disorderly conduct when she expressed her frustration and displeasure vocally, and was granted station bail after spending one night in jail.

After public outcry by a large proportion of the citizenry, I have been reliably informed that it has been stated by the police that the mother's loud protestations were disturbing court, which was in session, and that the presiding judge had given instructions that she be arrested for disorderly conduct. It is said that court was not in session, and that no such instructions were given by the judge. This further compounds this outrageous wrong.

The actions of the police in question, therefore, smack of serious abuse of power, lack of humanity and regard for the perceived rights of the mother, and general insensitivity.

May I ask you, through your good offices, to monitor closely the collection of evidence in the matter, apply exemplary punishment to any officer found to be in breach, and initiate a general review of procedures and protocols for interacting with the public, to ensure that such matters may be handled with alacrity, understanding, regard, respect and sensitivity.

TREVOR MUNROE

Executive Director

National Integrity Action