Sun | Jun 25, 2017

Crime then isn't like now, retired police officer laments

Published:Saturday | August 30, 2014 | 8:00 AM
Litton Robinson

Shanique Samuels, Gleaner Writer

After 37 years of dedicated and unbroken service to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Litton Robinson retired in 1991 at the age of 60. Now 83 years old, he says he has known no other profession as he has spent most of his life working as a police officer.

Robinson, who was born and raised in Westmoreland, decided to join the JCF in 1954 in search of a better life and economic stability. "I'm coming from very, very poor parents and had a few more siblings behind me. I didn't see any other way so I joined the force to help out the family and younger siblings," he explained.

He started out as a constable carrying out his first duties at the Half-Way Tree Police Station where he was stationed for four years. He was later transferred to Clarendon (in 1959) where he did another 33 years.

"I joined as a recruit and worked my way up the ranks. I was promoted to the rank of inspector in 1977, and held that position for a little over 13 years. Then I was promoted to assistant superintendent and I did that for the last two years leading up to my retirement."

He said although the pay was not much, he held it together and stayed in the force. "The pay then was so very small, but every pay day I would send a little something back to my mother in Westmoreland to help out the younger ones."

Family life

While being transferred from one police division to another in north Clarendon, Robinson met his wife and life partner in the Crofts Hill Police Division, got married and started a family. "My plan was to own my children and support them to the best of my ability, which is why I waited until I was in my 30s to start a family."

It wasn't always milk and honey for Robinson as he had his share of setbacks in the force. He recalled being unable to sit two tests to get a promotion because of what he says was a 'simple misunderstanding'. Nonetheless, his redemption came and he sat the test, passed and was successfully promoted. "I have gone through it, but thank God for Jesus, I went in the force with clean hands and I came out the force with clean hands," said Robinson, with both hands in the air. He added that when he joined the force there was under 2,000 policemen enrolled.

As a former law-enforcement officer, Robinson opined that "crime then wasn't like now. The lawlessness that developed after Independence and the garrison communities that were formed now continue their rampage. It's not getting any better and there is no turning back".

Twelve years before retirement, Robinson began farming. He specialised in citrus, a crop for which north Clarendon is best known. He had approximately 15 acres of citrus which he sold to the factories when the crop was in season. For his work and contribution to agriculture as a farmer, he was a three-time recipient of the Sir Arthur Farquharson Champion Farmer Award at the Denbigh Agricultural Show.

Unfortunately for him, he said a disease swept through the entire fields and put him out of business. He later relinquished the lands and only now practises subsistence farming on his property, with a little citrus and a small amount of livestock.

At 83 years old, Robinson concedes he can no longer manage to put in the same amount of work that he used to, so he just does enough to keep him occupied.

rural@gleanerjm.com