Sun | Nov 29, 2020

MoBay’s bright lights lure cops into corruption

Published:Wednesday | July 1, 2020 | 12:10 AMAdrian Frater/News Editor

Western Bureau:

Despite rejecting all forms of illegality, a former police officer, who asked not to be identified, has nonetheless said that the culture of extravagance that exists in St James, especially Montego Bay, is putting pressure on young police personnel to live above their means, which sometimes lure them into criminal activities.

According to the former lawman, a young policeman who gets stationed in a deep rural parish finds it much easier to live off his salary, which is usually in the region of $100,000 per month, than one in an urban centre like Montego Bay, where the cost of rent, food, and social amenities is much higher.

“In a rural community, a young cop could get a decent place to rent for $10,000 a month, but in a place like Montego Bay, rent in a safe community could run you as much as $30,000 per month … you could get cheaper rent, but it would mean living in an inner-city-style community, which is usually not safe or ideal in other ways,” said the former cop.

The ex-lawman also noted that while a cop in a rural parish might spend his off-duty hours involve in youth club sporting activities or playing dominoes, cards or board games with his colleagues, his counterpart in the major townships are faced with expensive distractions.

“In Montego Bay, the nightlife is usually quite enticing with the many nightclubs, bars, gaming lounges and the other attraction at places like the ‘Hip Strip’,” said the ex-cop. “If you are not very disciplined and frugal in your spending, by the middle of the month, you could be stone broke.”


Another aspect of Montego Bay nightlife that the ex-cop believes could lead a young policeman astray is the wide array of beautiful women with extensive taste, who they are likely to come across.

“The ‘hot girls’ in Montego Bay don’t come cheap … when you think about the Brazilian hair, the manicure and pedicure, the $20,000 dresses, the expensive food and drinks at the sports bars, plus the assistance they are seeking towards their rent and utility bills, you could end up blowing the entire month’s salary without putting away a dollar in savings,” the former lawman said.

While noting that a mature-thinking, young policeman will bypass the distractions and live up to his oath to protect and serve, others, like the three police officers who were arrested in a drug bust in the United States last week, sometimes find it difficult not to yield to temptation.

“You have some rich criminals in Montego Bay … men who are soaking in lottery-scamming and drugs money … men who will push an envelope at you with $500,000 just to turn a blind eye to the lottery-scam paper in his car,” said the ex-cop. “ It takes more than training to turn away and say no. That is where the good home training comes in. This is where you have to tell yourself that you are not going to shame your family.

“If a man is living above his means and he is facing car payment, expensive rent, a high-fashion hot gal, and wants the so-called high life, he is tailor-made for a scammer or ‘druggist’ who is looking a cop to corrupt,” said the former cop. “Many young police have come here and managed to live an exemplary life, and I applaud them.”

Interestingly, Woman Constable Shermain Gooden, one of the three St James-based police officers who got nabbed in the recent drug bust in the US, reportedly told Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents that she was in need of money and she was offered US$2,000 to make the trip by another policeman. Two other policemen, Constable Dremar Graham and Constable Travonne Davidson, were arrested in the same operation