The Following is the full editorial commentary from the Jamaica Daily Gleaner regarding the impasse involving INDECOM’s Terrence Williams and the Police Federation
MR TERRENCE Williams must stand his ground and resist those in the constabulary, and its auxiliaries, who want to see him go.
Until there are credible reasons for us to do otherwise, Mr Williams has the support of this newspaper. We expect, too, that he will find similar support from Mr Owen Ellington, the reform-minded police chief, whose efforts have, up to now, found favour with us.
More importantly, the Government must reject any pressure to act against Terrence Williams.
Additionally, Constable Franz Morrison, the chairman of the Police Federation – the union for the rank-and-file members of the constabulary – if he harbours notions of himself as a progressiveleader, would welcome aggressive oversight from an agency like INDECOM, which Mr Williams heads. Apparently, we expect a higher quality of leadership than Mr Morrison demands of himself, or which he seems to believe his constituents deserve.
INDECOM (Independent Commission of Investigations), it is recalled, was established by Parliament in 2010 to investigate cases of shootings, as well as other complaints of abuse against citizens by the security forces. It was the outcome of years of accusationsof extrajudicial killings and other misbehaviour, particularly by the police, and loss of public confidence in the constabulary’s ability to impartially investigate itself.
Unsurprisingly, in its short life, INDECOM has had an uneasy relationship with the constabulary, and some in the judicial process, over its attempt to assert its independence in fulfilling its mandate.
Mr Williams has, for instance, complained of attempts by police officers to muscle his investigators out of crime scenes where there have been police shootings and the death of civilians, and where INDECOM ought to have prime authority. Such actions are apart from the testing in the courts by the Police Federation, the Police Officers’ Association and the Special Constables’ Association of INDECOM’s powers of arrest.
Judicial challenges are one thing. What Mr Morrison’s crowd is now attempting is quite another. They are attempting to rile the public and members of parliament into a mood of no confidence in Mr Williams so as to have the governor-general rescind his appointment. Or, preferably, he resigns.
Mr Williams’ ‘offence’ is that he recently appeared at a press conference, hosted by a human-rights group, to express his concern at the spate of police homicides – nearly two dozen in less than a month.
According to the Police Federation’s Mr Morrison, such a concern rendered Mr Williams incapable of “impartially investigating any incident involving police officers”. So, according to Mr David White, the federation’s general secretary, they have written to the prime minister, the governor-general and the Parliament to have Mr Williams “removed”.
The real aim of the campaign is transparently ludicrous. It has little to do about Mr Williams’ attendance at the press conference or the remarks he may have made, and everything to do with a wish to eliminate any body that would hold the constabulary accountable for its behaviour.
If it wasn’t these comments, it would be some other, and whoever replaces Mr Williams will face the same challenges until there is a change of the culture of impunity that pervades the police force.
Here’s my response:
The Editorial board from its recent utterances, including this one, and the narrative it advances, further demonstrates that the culture it supports is an alien one far removed from reality. As such, no responsible party need take any of the utterances made by this board seriously. On every issue to include this one, you are wrong. Clearly it cannot escape anyone with a modicum of intellect, that the Commissioner of INDECOM in his capacity as independent investigator ,must be judicious with whom he appears and/or associates. Particularly on topical , sensitive issues like the cases his office or he will have to investigate. Taking into account the perception around JFJ, as a criminal supporting group, whether one disagrees or not. Let me inform you and your friends who feel compelled to tell officers what is right for them. Justice must not only be done it must appear to be done. Police officers will no longer allow elitists to tell them how they should go about looking out for their interests. Your arguments are disingenuous, and are intended to mislead . You should be ashamed to use this well-regarded medium to spout lies, innuendos , and misinformation to further your individual agenda. You are a disgrace.
ONE MORE THING:
Let me instruct you on what is considered ludicrous. As a student in detective training I was told that no greater task could any person be given than be asked to bring to justice the illegitimate killer of another human being. I took that charge seriously as a detective. Any person charged with investigations must not only be impartial they must also appear to be impartial. As such an investigator cannot stand with those on the outside shouting extra-judicial killings when he is the one tasked with making an informed determination as it relates to the facts. By your utterances here you have zero understanding of how investigations are done, yet you have not felt restrained from taking sides despite your demonstrated ignorance of such subject. Investigators must approach each case with an open mind , and follow the evidence wherever it leads, a real investigator knows that if one is biased one way or another, one may find evidence to substantiate any mindset, as such it cannot be overemphasized that investigators have an open mind, even when it seem that there is overwhelming evidence to substantiate the call for blood. As injudicious and just plain wrong as Terrence Williams’ appearance with JFJ was, your attempt at obfuscation and dishonesty is dangerously deceptive and unpatriotic.
This juvenile attempt at opinion shaping fell flat,succeeding solely in revealing the writer to be an elitist who did not bother to do any research before attempting to shape popular perceptions. The problem with the writer of this spiel is one that is now proving to be one that many in Jamaica is having a hard time assimilating at this time.I speak of a more educated, forceful police department even at the lowest rank who are determined they will not be told to sit down.
Traditionalists like the writer of this piece of garbage, now find themselves in a quandary dealing with the children of the poorest of the poor, who are prepared to stand their ground and test everything in the courts. And by the way they have the power of arrest. This was not in the game-plan, the coded writings of this person, whom one could reasonably construe to be a fool , drips with venomous anger at the temerity of the police to challenge them and their friends. The rigid caste system is unraveling in front of their very eyes, those aspiring to the upper levels , have a vested interest in maintaining that system, now that they have climbed to the top of the heap. And they do not want change in Jamaica. After all, if the poor is given a chance to free themselves from poverty, and illiteracy who will they lord over?
Ha ha I love it ,.