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St James’ top cop responds to mayor’s rebuke - Division commander says work pressure kept law enforcement from municipal meeting

Published:Tuesday | January 14, 2020 | 12:18 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
Police Superintendent Vernon Ellis.
Police Superintendent Vernon Ellis.


Superintendent Vernon Ellis, the commander in charge of the St James Police Division, says there were no ulterior motives in the police’s failure to provide its mandated monthly report at the last two sittings of the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC), and cited work pressure as the cause.

Ellis was responding to the rebuke from Montego Bay Mayor Homer Davis, who expressed disappointment that the police had not submitted reports for the months of December and January, robbing the municipality of critical information that is needed in the formulation of policies.

“We actually missed that meeting (January) because we’re heavily in the operational time for the 2020 aspect of what we’re doing, but we’ve been at other meetings and, from time to time, we have impromptu meetings with the StJMC that discuss immediate issues, to include vending and public order in the township,” Ellis told The Gleaner yesterday.

“We’ve enjoyed a very good partnership with the municipal corporation in 2019, and I refer to the Operation Restore Paradise initiative where we did 6,000 prosecutions, plus enforcements and clean-ups, and that were driven by the StJMC and the JCF. For the February meeting of the StJMC, I’m projecting that myself or one of my deputies will be there as usual,” added Ellis.

In his rebuke, Davis, who is renowned for his no-nonsense stance on municipal issues, said it was important for the police to honour their reporting arrangement to the StJMC as the information is critical in informing citizens about the state of the security affairs in the parish.

“We have citizens who listen to the news from the corporation monthly to get information on the police report. We know that the police can’t tell us the finer details of their operations, but at least the citizens need to be reassured that this is a medium that the police can use to update them as to their success and police activities,” Davis said.

In seeking to provide further assurance that, the police are serious about bringing order to the parish, which was the western region’s most violent parish last year, Ellis said that during 2020, the police will be seeking to capitalise on the gains made during Operation Restore Paradise, a multi-agency initiative, which was launched last May to restore law and order in St James.

“It is our intention this year to go back at that type of initiative with the StJMC and tighten up some other areas. The intention is to get a big drive around education and sensitisation around certain issues,” said Ellis.