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Back up police chief - PNP

Published:Wednesday | April 28, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Opposition People's National Party (PNP) has urged the Golding administration to provide recently appointed Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington with the support he needs to be successful in his new job.

While endorsing the Police Service Commission's choice to head the force, Peter Bunting, the PNP's opposition spokesman on national security, has warned that Ellington will fail if the Government does not provide the necessary support.

"While our (the Opposition) support is important, the critical support must come from the policy action the Government takes in areas not limited to national security but in areas that support policing," Bunting told The Gleaner.

"I know that Commissioner Ellington cannot say this, but the good members of the police force are challenged from a motivational point of view, particularly those intelligence officers who have worked hard over many years on the current extradition case, and the signal that is being sent when the Government delays," added Bunting.

Wrong focus

He argued that instead of focusing on the extradition request of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, who is alleged by the Obama administration to be a crime boss with widespread tentacles in drugs and guns, the Jamaican Government has been obsessed with identifying the policeman who reportedly passed information to the United States.

Bunting's warning on the need to support Ellington echoed claims in the recent United States Narcotics Control Strategy Report which argued that the new commissioner's fate could be sealed by an absence of political will.

"While he (Ellington) has taken a strong public stance to eliminate corruption, he could face, as his predecessors did, internal, judicial and political roadblocks that hinder efforts to reform the police," the US report claimed.

"In the past, these battles have paralysed the commissioner's autho-rity to affect change on the force.

"If this continues, Commissioner Ellington's fate could be similar to the previous three police commissioners who, despite their best intentions, could not secure the necessary legislative support and political will to underscore their reform efforts at a time when murder and other violent crimes threaten to overwhelm the country," the report continued.

The 47-year-old Ellington was appointed to head the police force effective April 5, for an initial three-year period.