West Ja business leaders demand urgent attention from new commissioner
Business leaders across western Jamaica are expecting newly promoted Commissioner of Police George Quallo to hit the ground running in an effort to address the chronic crime problem in the region, even as they welcome his elevation to the post.
Quallo, who began his job as the 29th Commissioner of Police on Tuesday, was last week approved by the Police Service Commission to replace Dr Carl Williams, who retired in January.
Following Williams’ retirement, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Novelette Grant acted in the post until Quallo was confirmed.
President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) Gloria Henry, while congratulating Quallo on reaching the top of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s ladder, is insisting that he moves swiftly to implement the planned cutting of the parish of St James into two police divisions.
“There was a promise to split St James into two divisions; we want to see that happening. That has been planned and we believe that that is necessary to provide more effective policing for us to get more resources, for us to have better management and coverage,” Henry argued.
Last month Grant, who was speaking at a women’s forum at the Sandals Royal Resort in Montego Bay, expressed that the search was on for a property to house the second divisional headquarters in the parish.
“We are searching and there is a property that we are looking at. We are talking to the owner of the property and we hope that the talks will bear some fruits,” DCP Grant revealed, adding that “there are plans afoot to try and put a second type of mobile reserve in the west”.
In the meantime, Oral Heaven, president of the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce, who also saluted Quallo on becoming the top cop, articulated the need for the new police commissioner to move expeditiously to eradicate the plague of lottery scamming which, he said, is fuelling the spiraling murders and other major crimes in his parish.
“There is no doubt that lotto scamming contributes significantly to the increase in crime in our parish. [Therefore] the crime-fighting plan of our new commissioner of police must include measure to eradicate this plague,” Heaven emphasised.
“His [the commissioner’s] crime plan must ensure that there is an Anti-Lottery Scam Police Task Force with the best resources and technology available to them, so that they can provide public education and have the capabilities to target these fraudulent activities in order to prevent the serious consequences of an entrenched lotto scamming.”
The Westmoreland business leader also expressed the need for Quallo to oversee the strengthening of community policing, ensure that the police work with local partners, and to focus on crime prevention and detention by way of technology.
President and CEO at Global Outsourcing Solutions Ltd, Davon Crump, who also commended Quallo on his ascension to the top of the JCF, said the immediate focus of the new commissioner must be to stem the flow of illegal guns and ammunition into the country, which feature prominently in the wave of killings across western Jamaica.
“I am sure they (the police) have been doing the best they can, but I want this gentleman (new police commissioner) to tackle the root cause of crime. Find the root cause, and that is to plug where the guns and ammunition are coming from,” said Crump, who is a past MBCCI president.
He stressed that Quallo must place greater emphasis on western Jamaica because of the upward spiral in crime.
And Henry, who wants to see more modern training of police officers, among improvements in other areas, also would like the new commissioner to look to “state of the art resources for the police for them to be able to fight crime in a modern 21st century”.
“In planning for the future, we need to understand the dynamics of crime in this 21st century, the kind of criminals that we are dealing with. The whole profile of the criminals has changed: they are younger, they are more sophisticated, they are more organised. So the JCF has to be equal to the task in its ability to provide effective policing,” Henry argued.