Let's show the police force some love today

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

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The sombre news of the indefinite postponement by the private sector of its crime summit, which was set for tomorrow, has been balanced by the cheerful news that the Manchester Chamber of Commerce is pushing ahead with its own police support project.

On the surface, it appears that there is merit in the excuse by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) that the timing of its planned Public Order and Safety Summit was somewhat off, as stakeholders wanted more time to refine preparations and “to be assured of the availability of human resources to carry out the agreed outcomes of the summit”.

It says that as a result, many of the individuals essential to the success of the summit will not be able to adequately contribute to the participatory nature of the two-day event. So be it.

Admittedly, we have been looking forward to the summit and its potential to broaden the leadership of the crime–fighting initiative so that it becomes a more national effort and not as heavily dependent on reluctant politicians, many of whom still have to cover for their nefarious henchmen.

While we understand that such a critical initiative as the crime summit should not be unduly rushed, we regard the crime situation as an emergency and sincerely hope that the PSOJ will be in a position to get its plans back on track without too much delay.

The security forces whose lives are on the line in the battle to take back St James, as well as the other parishes awash with the blood of over 1,600 Jamaicans last year, need the co-ordinated support of the entire country to restore some semblance of law and order.

In that regard, we wish to commend the Manchester Chamber of Commerce (MCC) which recently officially launched a committee to support law and order in a more structured and diverse way, building on previous efforts which included establishment of the Police Motor Vehicle Repair Fund in 2016.

It is worth recalling the words of then MCC President Garfield Green at the launch: “…I say to our security forces and the honourable minister of national security, the private sector group in Manchester stands ready to give support where it is needed...Through it all, we are working to create a more effective, efficient and professional police force through training, capacity building, organisational strengthening, and community involvement.”

That is without doubt the quality of support needed to bolster our under-resourced, underpaid and overworked police force, to enable our brave men and women to face the perils of fighting crime in Jamaica with more confidence and spirit.

We suggest that every parish — where it does not yet exist — should have a similar committee to provide morale-boosting support for the security forces. Perhaps that could be a project of all parish chambers, given that no sector is more affected by the wanton murders than the business sector.

On this Valentine's Day, what better way could there be to show meaningful love to our police force?

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