Letters to the Editor

Police used as scapegoat

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

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Dear Editor,

The Jamaican Police Federation has expressed disgust at the recent pronouncement by the Minister of National Security Dr Horace Chang about members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) being “glorified security guards”.

The federation thinks that at a time when members are restive over the ongoing wage negotiations, demoralised by an elusive promotion system, and stressed and overworked due to government resource factors, Chang really put his foot in his mouth.

Dr Chang sought to cushion his piercing utterance by resorting to the history of the JCF and pointing to the purpose of this institution. The minister made mention that all the police were trained to do was to drill, abuse citizens, and guard the property of the privileged. He drove the final nail in the red-seamed coffin by referring to them as he did, suggesting that they are unprofessional and maybe even beyond repair.

Now with those pronouncements from someone in the capacity of Chang, who sits as minister with responsibility for the national security, it is easy to understand why the police federation and police officers would be outraged.

Over the years the force has been used as a door mat to wipe the dirt from the mismanagement and shortcomings of successive administrations. When governments cannot find a solution to problems, instead of doing what they were elected to do, they blame the police. If the leaders were to be fair to the police force — many of whom have less than five Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate passes, work extra-long hours and in extremely dangerous situations to protect the same people who curse them — the least they could do is commend them.

No one can deny that there are unprofessional and corrupt officers in the force, but would that be any different from a corrupt political official, a lazy teacher, or a dishonest attorney?

Truth be told, many of the problems we are facing — outside of parenting — lie not with the JCF, but the learned individuals, Mr Minister.

Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson puts it perfectly when he said the officers are capable of doing good and bad like any other humans anywhere.

Let us stop pointing fingers and blaming the police for governments' problems.

Terry White

St Andrew

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