Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter
Confusion abounds in the Jamaica Constabulary Force's (JCF) Transport and Repairs (T&R) Division, as high-ranking officials are split on whether the taxpayer-funded police garage should be fixing vehicles owned by senior cops.
Well-placed sources have claimed that the T&R is being abused by high-ranking police officials, who take in their private cars for repairs while official service vehicles are left to rot from disrepair.
One source alleged that two vintage vehicles, owned by two high-ranking police officers, are now being restored at the St Andrew-based facility.
On a visit to the facility recently, The Sunday Gleaner saw at least three antique cars - two Morris Oxfords and a Rover Coupe - parked on the property.
The Rover seemed recently painted in white, yellow and blue, while one of the Oxfords had damage to its rear.
Another source, who was once stationed at the T&R, told The Sunday Gleaner that for years senior police officers have used the government-owned facility as their private garage without paying a cent for the work done on their personal cars.
A police corporal stationed at the T&R added that the Rover's paint job was done at the official police garage by the workmen at the facility. He also claimed that the damaged Morris Oxford had been parked at the facility since February 2011. The corporal said the vehicles were being worked on at the T&R by the workmen stationed there.
When asked about the cars, one deputy superintendent assigned to the T&R told our news team that the cars were privately owned.
NOT A PRIVATE GARAGE
Later, Assistant Commissioner of Police Leon Rose, who is in charge of the Services Branch, stated that private vehicles should not be worked on at the T&R.
"It is a government facility. How could it take on private work? It is not a private garage," said Rose.
He referred our news team to Angela Patterson, director of corporate services in the JCF, for more answers.
But after more than one week with the questions, Patterson last week said she was not sure if the T&R could work on motor vehicles privately owned by members of the JCF.
"I will revert on this point as I have to do some further checking," said Patterson.
In the meantime, a deputy superintendent (DSP), who owns the Rover parked at the T&R, told our news team that there was a misunderstanding.
He said while the workman who performed the paint job works at the T&R, the repair was not done at the state-owned facility.
"Nothing like that … . One belongs to (a high-ranking cop) and one belongs to me, but they are not repaired at a cost to the State. I have all the receipts to prove it," the DSP said.
He was adamant that the vintage vehicles were being repaired at a private Corporate Area garage, and that he personally did some of the work.
While insisting that he has the documentation to prove that the cars were repaired at a private facility, the DSP repeatedly refused to say why the vehicles were parked at the T&R.
However, he did eventually say that the damaged Oxford was taken to the state-owned repair shop because it was the nearest point.
According to the DSP, the Oxford will soon be transported to a private garage.
Late last week, other police sources claimed that while private vehicles were repaired at T&R, this was done by civilian mechanics in their free time and not using any state resources.
"This has happened for years, and there is nothing wrong with it because the Government's money and parts are not being used," stated the police officer, who asked not to be named.