Police pair - Carlene follows husband, Calvin, into the JCF
As two serving members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Calvin and Carlene Allen have had to navigate some of the toughest hurdles in their careers, but they have arrived at one conclusion: they have no regrets.
Senior Superintendent Calvin Allen heads the recently formed Public Safety and Traffic Enforcement Branch, while Carlene is an inspector based at the Community Safety and Security Branch.
Calvin, who has served the JCF for 31 years, is convinced that his upward mobility in the Force would not have been possible without Carlene, who has served for 21 years.
The two have been married for more than 30 years and when The Sunday Gleaner sat with Calvin recently, Carlene was off the island, but despite the lower rank, she gave him the orders regarding her sentiments that he should share with our news team before adding her comments in a later conversation.
FAMILY A PRIORITY
According to Calvin, despite the demands of his job, he makes his family a priority. With a smile he reflected on how the two met.
"We were living a mile and a half or so from each other. We were going to the same church, so we would always see each other at social activities and events. We would socialise and then we found that there was an attraction, it has since blossomed into what it is now," said Calvin.
He admitted that there have been challenges over the years, but said he makes an effort to ensure that his wife has minimal stress levels.
"I can tell you that from in the '90s, cooking takes place mostly on the weekend. Apart from breakfast in the mornings, my wife does not cook during the week. I could not have my wife work all day and then go home after a stressful day, to go and prepare a meal," shared Calvin.
"I participate in everything at home and the way I was raised has helped me, too. If it is to clean, cook, wash, iron, sew, whatever it is, I am competent. I used to have to iron my mother's bib because my mother sold at the market, so I can help myself," said Calvin.
For Carlene, there is maybe one thing she would have changed if she had the chance.
"Maybe I would have had one or two more children, but this is what God intended, so I am not complaining," she said, as she indicated that the union has produced two children.
"God has been good to us. Life is all about change and going through stuff, and we have weathered storms. We started from scratch and we built together," added Carlene.
Calvin also gave thanks to God for his wife, who he said has assisted him greatly in finding that balance between work and family.
"The task is enormous and so you have to see how best you can play the balancing act. It's not easy to do because your relationship requires that sort of attention. The job is very demanding, even on a Saturday or a Sunday, I have to be treating with issues, even while at home," said Calvin.
"She's very supportive, though, because she is the one who will ensure that I answer the phone calls and keep on top of my responsibilities. She's like a wife and a secretary, from the night before she is reminding me of what I have to do and I am sincerely thankful to God for her.
"In fact, what I have become, I don't think I could have done it as a loner. That family support is crucial," added Calvin, as he suggested that he might be the first one to walk away from the JCF.
"If it's age, I will be the one to retire first. If other factors, maybe her, I don't think she will do the full time," said Calvin, while he shared advice for young couples.
"For the thing to work you have to give it that time of day. You have to show respect, you have to communicate. There are some basic things that are not so basic.
"In sustaining the relationship there are some persons who are of the view that once you get married that's it. Marriage is like any other business where you are seeking to achieve success. You have a mission statement, a vision statement, and within that mission statement, you have to have the bullet points of what you want to achieve as a couple," declared Calvin.