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Stabroek News

Still making a big difference:Cornwall 'Bigga' Ford, a tough crime fighter who believes in God
published: Sunday | November 5, 2006

Glenroy Sinclair, Senior Crime Reporter

'Bad boy you ha fi fit,

You ha fi fit, you have to fit,

To run from Laing,

Bigga Ford and Tony Hewitt'

Those are words from a popular 1980s song by deejay Peter Metro. It expressed the fear some of Jamaica's most ruthless criminals of the 1980s had for crime fighters, such as Isaiah Laing, Tony Hewitt and Cornwall 'Bigga' Ford.

With the resignation of Laing from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) in 1995, followed by Hewitt eight years later, the massive Ford is the lone survivor of that era.

"Yes, I am still around," Ford, now a deputy superintendent of police, told The Sunday Gleaner during an interview on Tuesday.

Sporting a rugged beard and Rasta-type hairstyle, he said religion plays a major part in his fight against criminals.

"I am a very spiritual person, being a Catholic from birth, and I pray every day and attend church on Sundays," said Ford who is the commanding officer of the Flying Squad Unit, which is located at the CIB Headquarters, downtown Kingston.

In the 1980s, the unit was referred to as 'Glasshouse.' It had some of Jamaica's finest detectives such as Lester Howell, Terrence Hanson, Roy Green, Albert Richards, Walcott 'Danny' Brown, Dick Hibbert, Rueben Robertson, Osbourne Dyer and later Commissioner Francis Forbes.

They battled notorious criminals of the day who included Wayne 'Sandokan' Smith; Nathaniel 'Natty' Morgan; Christopher 'Natty Chris' Henry; Anthony 'General Starkey' Tingle; Willis Pigton, called Daniel; and, Alphanso 'Bredda Bredda' Smikle.

criminals now more vicious

DSP Ford said the criminals of the past were much easier to handle than the current generation of thugs.

"The criminals back then, you could talk to them and they listened to you. The criminals of today are more daring, vicious and are not taking any talk. Their weapon of choice is either the Glock 40, M-16 or the AK-47," said Ford.

The senior officer described a gunfight between his team and Natty Morgan in 1991 as the most life-threatening in his career.

When the gunfire ceased, a policeman was shot in the mouth while Morgan was shot and killed. As for indiscretions he and several of his contemporaries are accused of committing, DSP Ford is unrepentant.

"God has an archangel over every evil person," he said. "There are a lot of evil persons on this earth and nobody can judge me. If what I have done is wrong, I will accept my payback on Judgement Day, but if I am right, I will sit with the Father (God) on the right hand side."

Under DSP Ford's watch, the Flying Squad Unit has had a successful run this year. To date, it has recovered motor vehicle parts valued at $50 million, seized 35 illegal guns and 850 assorted rounds of ammunition.

In 1995, Ford was put back in uniform by then Commissioner of Police, Col. Trevor MacMillan, and transferred to the Stony Hill Police Station in St. Andrew, where he made an impact.

"With the assistance of the residents, I was able transform the Stony Hill area into a crime-free community," said Ford.

A big cricket fan, DSP Ford was born and grew up in Hannah Town, one of West Kingston's tough inner-city communities, where he also attended St. Anne's Secondary School.

He plans to take early retirement from the JCF, but did not give a date for his departure.

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