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Wikileaks: Hardley Lewin's life was under threat

Published:Monday | May 30, 2011 | 4:37 PM

A US Embassy cable has revealed that the lives of former police commissioner Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin and his family were under threat the moment he took up the post in December 2007.

The threats reportedly included the possibility that Lewin could be poisoned while on duty in his new role as the head of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

The confidential cable was sent by the US Embassy in Kingston to Washington just over three years ago.

The cable says in 2007 Admiral Lewin, the former chief of the Jamaica Defence Force, JDF, was warned by current and former police officers and other JDF officers to avoid eating or drinking anything prepared or provided by persons he did not explicitly trust.

The diplomatic cable dated December 2007 was titled ‘Jamaica's new commissioner of police, Rear Admiral Lewin is already making waves’.

The cable further said Lewin had made light of the threats against him, but persons close to him had shared concerns about both the external and internal elements.

In fact the cable says before taking office, members of Lewin's JDF security detail approached him to offer their services to guard the former army chief and his family.

It was further reported in the cable that Lewin was pressed to ensure that his contract, which was being negotiated at the time included adequate provision for his personal security and the physical security of his home.

Obviously impressed with Lewin’s opening moves the US Embassy reported that he had already met with his senior staff and discussed his plans for changing the organization even before formally moving into office.

The cable said in his first meeting with his staff Lewin cautioned them that corruption, poor performance and the lack of discipline would not be tolerated.

The Embassy also apparently requested that Washington support the admiral.

It said despite a burgeoning murder rate, rampant corruption, a lack of critical resources and credible threats against him and his family, admiral Lewin appears confident and comfortable in command of the JCF.

However, despite the promising start, Lewin was to lead the JCF for just under two years before the Prime Minister said he had no confidence in him.

As a result he resigned in November 2009.