Tue | Mar 28, 2017

Thanks but no thanks: Diaspora feels dissed as FBI officer is turned down for commish job

Published:Wednesday | August 27, 2014 | 8:00 AM

Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer

The Jamaican Diaspora in the United States has signalled that its members are livid over the refusal of the Police Service Commission (PSC) to shortlist Wilfred S. Rattigan, a high-profile officer of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), for the position of commissioner of police.

Rattigan is a Jamaican who migrated to the United States and successfully climbed the ladder of the world-famed FBI.

In correspondence exchanged among influential activists in the diaspora, members made it clear that they felt that they had been "dissed" by the actions of the PSC, which is in search for a new commissioner to lead the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

In a letter dated August 7, 2014, the commission acknowledged receipt of Rattigan's application to succeed Owen Ellington, whose retirement was abruptly announced two months ago, leaving a void in the battle-weary force.

The PSC informed the FBI officer on August 26 that he was not being considered. No explanation was offered in the letter, which was given to The Gleaner. This has angered members of the diaspora.

"The members of the Police Service Commission wish to thank you for your interest but regret to say that you were not shortlisted for an interview," stated the letter to Rattigan signed by J. Cheese-Morris, secretary to the commission.

"I am angry!" declared a diaspora member in a note to Irwine Clare, a member of the Advisory Board for the US North East Region. "This response from the Police Service Commission must be challenged. It is dismissive and disrespectful of the Jamaican diaspora. No matter how qualified, members of the diaspora need not apply," the member added.

CONTACTING GOV'T, PSC

Clare has been urged to dispatch letters to Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller; National Security Minister Peter Bunting; Foreign Affairs Minister A.J. Nicholson, and PSC chairman, Ambassador Gordon Shirley.

"The response from the political directorate will be that the PSC has sole responsibility, but they should be aware of the anger of the diaspora," the note added.

In confirming that the diaspora members felt bruised, Clare told The Gleaner: "I can categorically state that we are not looking for handouts or special privileges.

"What we are saying is that at a minimum, the Police Service Commission should have at least accorded Mr Rattigan the courtesy of a hearing. The commission should recognise that there are persons in the diaspora with the more requisite skill set," he said.

Clare argued that consideration should have been given against the backdrop of the importance of the diaspora at a time when Jamaica has embarked on a mapping exercise to create a data bank of Jamaican skill sets to benefit the country.

Added Clare: "We have no intention of boxing food out of anyone's mouth, but we are proud of Mr Rattigan, a man from Waterhouse in Kingston who has risen in the FBI … . I am very disappointed."

He stressed that any consideration of Rattigan in the selection process would in no way suggest that no one in Jamaica was capable of leading the JCF.

gary.spaulding@gleanerjm.com