The appointment of Major General Anthony Anderson as Commissioner of Police in Jamaica should not be viewed in the narrow parochial way many of us tend to view issues.
There has to be an acceptance in a fulsome way of the many sides to each and every issue. It is always better to air out ideas, giving equal time and attention to all sides before arriving at a conclusion.
Of course, those like myself who oppose Anderson’s appointment have no personal vendetta against the man, I don’t even know him. Neither am I on a personal crusade against the JDF as some closed-minded, intellectually challenged people are wont to accuse.
Nevertheless, it is always easier to make ad hominem attacks rather than having the chutzpah to have an open debate on the merits.
Look, I could roll over and simply sing praise to General Anderson like Keith Trinity Gardner now an attorney at law and former Assistant Commissioner of Police, but I can’t, despite whatever successes I may have attained the elitist club in upper Saint Andrew was never on my bucket list.
So I have a couple of suggestions to make (1) I would like to see former Commissioner of Police Carl Williams appointed Governor of the Bank of Jamaica.
By the standard of thinking in Jamaica being supremely qualified in one discipline qualifies one to do every job right?
Former Commissioner Dr.Carl William Ph.D. has an impressive record in law enforcement, particularly in the area of narcotics and he has written policy papers on crime in Jamaica, most notably ‘Consequences of the War on Drugs: The Jamaican Experience. http://digjamaica.com/blog/2014/09/09/who-is-police-commissioner-designate-carl-williams/
I’m not sure what Dr. Williams is doing these days but I say let’s remove the BOJ head and make him the Governor[sic].
While we are at it (2) Portia Simpson Miller has attained the highest executive office in our country, she is now out of work I’m sure Sista P would like to be back being useful so why not make her head of neurosurgery up there at Mona?
You see qualification is qualification so it does not matter if you have a liberal arts degree you are certainly qualified to fly an airplane right?[sic]
What do you mean no? So you are saying whats good for the Goose isn’t good for the Gander? Oh, I see……..So the fallacy of the Anderson appointment as the savior of policing in Jamaica just crumbled under the light of a little scrutiny.
Like I said I have zero desire to move to Upper St Andrew or rub shoulders with the largely pretentious hypocrites who live there. I have no desire to go to their little Kiwanis clubhouses, and I certainly do not crave their friendship.
Sorry, Mister Keith Gardner.
I certainly could buy a house where they live if I wanted to, by I’m a simple country boy from rural St, Catherine who like real people, and oh despite living in a foreign land since 1991 my Jamaican accent is still the same.
THE BOTTOM LINE
The bottom line is that Jamaica has resilient people many of whom have accomplished exceptional things particularly in the area of Education and Sports. Whatever we put our minds to we generally stand out and are easily identified. Unfortunately, there is another side of our Jamaican-ness the fame of Usain Bolt and Anthony Anderson is always countered by the infamy of our worst criminals.
As we celebrate the accomplishments of our best we have to be guarded that the actions of our worse are appropriately countered by the best trained, best experienced to do the job.
We have to have the best doctors treating our sick, not the best bankers. We must have the best lawyers defending our interest in a court of law, not the best firemen.
Despite Anderson’s impressive resume,^ as a soldier, he is exactly that, a soldier, not a cop. The best indicator for a way forward is to look at precedent.
Twice before have former heads been parachuted in to save the Constabulary with disastrous consequences.
The best way to fix the Constabulary is to fix the constabulary.
Imagine dragging an unwell pilot out of the cockpit and placing the flight attendant in his seat with the hope of a pleasant landing.
If the Pilot cannot be resuscitated it’s up to the co-pilot to take over not the flight attendant.
What is it in the history of the JDF which makes it’s ex-offices equipped to fix every problem in our country?
From Football to the voting rolls to everything in between, I don’t get it?
Apart from the many years of training and education which goes into the elevation to the topmost positions in police departments the expertise garnered over the course of time is invaluable to the discipline.
Even more consequential to the debate is the question of morale at the entry level. As I pointed out in a recent article, morale is particularly important in a job like the police force in which offers sub-standard remunerations, lack of political support, poor working conditions, lack and a shortage of equipment and tools and an overabundance of danger at all levels.
That danger is ever present even when they do their jobs by the book in a country like Jamaica in which the justice system is heavily slanted toward the protection of criminals.
The idea that each constable can be commissioner has been a valuable carrot to the otherwise harsh stick of being a police officer in the hostile Jamaican working environment. Take that away and the harm will be catastrophic.
At present, the police force struggles to attract enough new candidates to fill recruitment requirements. On the other hand, roughly 600 officers are walking away from the JCF each year.
The Minister of National Security recently bragged that fewer police officers are leaving the department which is actually laughable because under the recently passed ZOSO law the Government codified into law provisions which criminalize police officers for daring to leave the JCF without giving a 6-month advanced notice to the department.
How the Minister is able to determine that fewer officers are leaving as a result of any strategy outside that draconian provision in the ZOSO law, given insufficient time for the data to be credible is beyond me.
Former JDF head Hardly Lewin, who was also one of the firemen asked to do heart surgery[sic] claims Anthony Anderson will be successful because he has the support of the political directorate.
His statement is confirmation of what I have personally believed and spoken to. The high crime rate is not a problem attributable to the police but a problem of a lack of legislative support so that officers may have a reasonable shot at getting it right.
When all is said and done, if we do not fix the areas of resources, legislative support, better pay, and respect for our police officers, crime will not ever decrease. You can pretend the problem is the police and point fingers in order to avoid responsibility.
There may even be some silly officers past and present who believe the police will do better by having an overlord parachuted in.
The fact of the matter is that there are some fundamental changes needed which has nothing to do with who sits in a chair at 103 Old Hope Road but with the 63 dimwits who bang on desks in that building on Duke Street.