Ellington keeps police Prado
Five months after leaving office, former police commissioner, Owen Ellington, remains in possession of a motor vehicle belonging to the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).
But the Ministry of National Security says there is nothing wrong or unusual with Ellington retaining the 2008 Toyota Prado Cruiser, which was one of three vehicles assigned to him while he served as Jamaica's top cop.
According to the ministry, Ellington is in the process of purchasing the Prado, which is being used by his assigned security detail.
"Commissioners of police are assigned a vehicle during their tenure, and after three years are given the option to purchase said vehicle," the ministry said in response to questions from The Sunday Gleaner.
The ministry added that all other JCF vehicles previously in Ellington's possession or under his control had been returned. One of those vehicles, a Toyota Corolla, was reportedly returned last Monday on a directive from new police commissioner, Dr Carl Williams.
"It is customary for the Jamaica Constabulary Force to provide close protection services to retired commissioners of police, when threat assessments indicate such a requirement is necessary. These threat assessments are reviewed periodically, and actions taken as a result," declared the ministry.
NOOBJECTION FROM OPPOSITION
The explanation from the security ministry has satisfied the opposition spokesman and former minister of national security, Derrick Smith, who told our news team that it was not at all unreasonable for Ellington to retain the vehicle.
"I would want to believe that logic would dictate that a commissioner demitting office, for a certain time after demitting office, would be entitled to, and in fact provided with, some security detail. And part of this security detail would include motor vehicle," said Smith.
"I don't see anything unreasonable about it. It all depends on for what time frame, for what period."
Smith also agreed that protection for the former commissioner has to be guided by the risk assessment by those who are authorised to do so. He rejected a suggestion that a former commissioner should be able to afford and provide his own security detail.
"People would say that, but people would also say that a minister who has been a minister for some time should provide their own vehicle for their own security detail. People can say a lot of things, but somebody who was a commissioner, who had to deal with very delicate security matters nationally and regionally and even internationally, I believe there is justification in providing security for them after demitting office."