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Give them guns!

Pastor questions outfitting police with non-lethal weapons

BY HORACE HINES
Observer West reporter

Thursday, May 18, 2017

 

President of the West Jamaica Conference of Seventh-day Adventists Pastor Glen Samuels is questioning the idea outfitting members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) with non-lethal weapons as dangerour criminals wield deadly force.

“I struggle with some issues that when the members of the force are met with deadly force, can we rightfully give them non-lethal weapons to face lethal danger?” the clergyman questioned.

The JCF was last year presented with 3,500 non-lethal weapon kits, a gift from the United States Government to enable the local police to ease their reliance on the use of firearms.

Samuels was delivering the keynote address at the opening day of the two- day 74th Annual Joint Central Conference of the Jamaica Police Federation (JPF) held at the Iberostar Hotel and Resorts last week.

The conference, held under the theme: 'Preserving the Institution: Serving the Protector', was attended by Minister of National Security Robert Montague and Commissioner of Police George Quallo, among other top brass of the JCF.

Chairman of the JPF, Sergeant Raymond Wilson lashed out at the rules of engagements, which he argued endanger the lives of police personnel.

“It cannot be that we have some strict rules that tell us how to engage people to the extent that it is putting our lives in danger. It cannot be! And so we have to go back to the drawing board today, because rules of engagement means simply that you apply proportionately what it is that is necessary to arrest the situation,” the federation chairman argued.

He bemoaned last month's execution-style killing of Constable Leighton Hanson in Kingston. The police federation chairman was critical of people who walked pass the bloody cop who was killed when he was disarmed after he attempted to apprehend a suspect on Constant Spring Road.

“Let me borrow a few words from the late poet, Claude McKay. 'If we must die let it not be like hogs hunted and penned in an inglorious spot. If we must die, in a packed street of people lying face down in our uniforms in a pool of blood with citizens walking by looking at us as if we are nothing. If we must die, let us nobly die so that our precious blood may not be shed in vain,” said Sergeant Wilson.

Meanwhile, Samuels argued that, “there is a clear and present danger when those who face death everyday are disrespected”.

“Who block roads for them when their lives are snuffed out almost disgracefully sometimes? Who march the streets for them when they are called from their wives, from their children, from their homes to serve in yonder places facing danger and sometimes sleeping in areas where no one should be asked to sleep?” he queried.

Samuels agreed with Wilson that some of the budgeted funds in place for the over 400 police officers lost to attrition over the past four years should be spent to address the issues facing “those on whose shoulders have been foisted the responsibility of protecting all the rest of us”.

“It shouldn't be such a difficult task then that that money could be identified to deal with some of the ills affecting the Jamaica Constabulary Force,” stated Samuels, who was quick to distance himself from supporting corrupt cops.

He stopped just short of saying that the authorities are refusing to do more for police offices.

“There is a clear and present danger and I would daresay, I live long enough in this region to know that we find the money for the things we deem necessary — and I have this penchant for getting into trouble because of my mouth, I live by speaking — truth is we fix the things we believe in, we fix the things we place value on. We find resources when we think that this issue must be handled,” the outspoken pastor declared.