At a private/public sector partnership forum on crime in New Kingston, on Thursday, attended by Minister of National Security Robert Montague, Opposition spokesman on Tourism Dr. Wykeham McNeill, POJ rep Peter John Thwaites, Guardsman Group Chairman Kenneth Benjamin and others Andrew Holness the Jamaican Prime Minister had this to say.
“The need for partnership between all levels of the security system, including private security guards, Government, civil society and the private sector, must work together to contribute to economic growth and the creation of a secure society through collaboration and cooperation.”
“In addition to their role in job creation for over 23,000 Jamaicans, the private security industry is an essential component of the national security framework providing value; including protection of access control points, employees, clients, communities, homes, and corporate assets; and indeed as protectors of national industries.”
Look for major changes to the National Security landscape, and again it may not be beneficial to the JCF or the Country in the long run.
We will come back to this point.
Attending the conference on behalf of the Police Department was Deputy Commissioner of Police Clifford Blake. Addressing the conference, Blake said.
“Jamaica is awash with guns.”
Stronger sentences are needed to fight the demand for and use of the weapon in committing various crimes, former Police Commissioner Owen Ellington, who proposed that there should be a mandatory minimum sentence for gun offenses, I support that idea.” “I remember him saying that there should be a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years.
For the record, this writer has been calling for mandatory minimum sentences for particular categories of violent crimes before Ellington had his come to Jesus Moment.
Blake went on to cite the high attrition rate, lack of technology, and corruption as issues affecting the Police’s ability to do an effective job.
An issue I have been harping on for years.
The country spends much money on training a police officer, but as soon as they are trained, they are looking for a way out.
This is not happening in a vacuum, almost 600 people do not walk away from their jobs in one agency each year without something being radically wrong.
When we throw teachers, nurses and other professionals into the mix, our country is experiencing a serious brain drain, but in a weird way, it is actually paying its citizens to leave by virtue of the lack of returns on its investments.
Blake spoke to the fact that other countries are luring away Jamaican cops using better pay and working conditions, an issue I have written about for years. http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/senior-cop-says-ja-awash-with-guns_98641?profile=1606
While the Deputy Commissioner of Police was listing the ills plaguing the Police Department, the Prime Minister was in total disregard mode, listing what he believes are better strategies for dealing with crime.
Shouldn’t the Prime Minister be attentively listening to the DCP?
Does the Prime Minister understand that for this crime monster to be corralled he needs to pay attention to what the experts say?
Or as a little birdie told me recently there are moves afoot to remove some policing functions to private security companies.
How this will enhance the respect and respectability of the duly constituted Police Department is yet to be discussed.
As Bruce Golding and his cronies cobbled together the INDECOM Act with the PNP’s blessings and gave it to Jamaica with debilitating consequences, so too will giving private security companies policing powers and duties create conflicts and confusion and further deplete and erode the rule of law on the Island.
Before the Bruce Golding Government cobbled together the INDECOM law at the behest of special interest, I warned it would have dangerous consequences, not just for ordinary civilians but for the police safety and security as well.
Holness’ statement quote” “The need for partnership between all levels of the security system, including private security guard companies,” is an ominous statement of intent which seems to indicate that Andrew Holness intends to go down the same Rabbit-hole Golding took the nation with INDECOM.
Again failing to give due respect and regard to the opinion of the people who actually know what they are talking about.
Enough mistakes have been made following after ideas from people who have no business having a say in national security matters.
Any emphasis or resources available must be spent on upgrading the JCF with a view to making it a professional twenty-first century Police force.
Any resource diverted to private entities under the guise of helping the fight against crime must be seen as yet another attempt to render the Jamaica Constabulary further an even more impotent paper tiger than it already is.