Walk good, Assistant Commissioner Les Green
We could not allow Assistant Commissioner of Police Les Green to leave without expressing our heartfelt thanks to him for his seven years of sterling service to Jamaica.
Mr Green, readers will recall, was seconded to Jamaica from Scotland Yard at a time when violent crime was so pervasive that the Government was forced to respond to appeals from the private sector to seek overseas help.
Ever since his arrival, Mr Green has worked tirelessly to help modernise the operations of the police force, doing so without fanfare. In fact, like his colleague Mr Justin Felice who heads the Anti-Corruption Branch, Assistant Commissioner Green has not displayed an insatiatiable appetite for the limelight, preferring instead to get systems working and having the constabulary bask in the praise for good work whenever such praise was due.
Yesterday's report of his decision not to renew his contract and to return to Britain in July highlighted two of the more prominent murder cases that were successfully investigated and prosecuted with his help.
They were the murders of Assistant Commissioner Gilbert Kameka in November 2007 and elderly Mandeville couple Richard and Julia Lyn in December 2006.
The Kameka case, for us, was significant for the fact that the Major Investigation Taskforce (MIT) that Assistant Commissioner Green headed at the time contributed in no small measure to the conviction of Mr Kameka's killers.
Using an Electroscopic Dustprint Lifter, the forensics investigators under Mr Green's leadership were able to gather from the murder scene, and present as evidence, a shoe impression of one of the killers.
Some of the investigators in the MIT have also told this newspaper of other cases which they closed successfully using the equipment at their disposal.
We sensed at times that ACP Green was a bit frustrated at the slow pace of the acquisition of modern forensic equipment. However, no one can challenge the fact that his knowledge and experience in that area of policing played a major role in upgrading our forensic investigation capability. For under his watch we have seen an improvement in the forensic lab, the acquisition of mobile forensic units with the help of our overseas partners and, just as important, the successful training of Forensic Crime Scene Investigators.
At last count, the police force had 167 such investigators working throughout the island and, we are told, 20 are now in training.
Although he has not achieved the target of having 300 Forensic Crime Scene Investigators on staff by the end of last year, Assistant Commissioner Green can leave Jamaica satisfied that his efforts have contributed to the building of a solid foundation in scientific analysis of evidence within the police force that is assisting in the fight against crime.
We suspect, though, that he would be just as happy to see our legislators act on his call for an amendment to the Evidence Act to allow video evidence in court cases.
For, as he quite rightly pointed out in an interview with this newspaper last year March, speedy adjustments to the law will go a far way in reducing the country's crime rate.
It is our hope that Mr Green, when he departs, will still continue to share with us his expertise, even as he pursues other matters.
He has brought to our police force a level of professionalism that has won our admiration and respect.
And as our ancestors would say, walk good Les Green.