There are several different conversations going on at the same time about the Robbery In May Pen Clarendon last Sunday morning, most of which makes sense.
Some are sympathetic to the officers who were wounded, none more than this writer who has been shot in the line of duty as well.
Others are concerned about the response time which seemed from my vantage point to have been pretty darn good.
Then there are those who believe that these events are a precursor to bigger things to come.
But one of the salient points I have heard raised is that officers are not exposing themselves to the criminal justice system as they did before, no matter what the Prime Minister and or the Minister of National Security says it appears that the damage has already been done.
One former colleague has been adamant that as things get closer to critical mass we will be seeing a singing of a different tune by the political leadership. The Minister Of National Security seems to be adopting a different tack from his previous tone and tenor but the Prime Minister seems stuck in a one-track mind which has nothing to do with the nation’s security.
Addressing the Police Federation In Ocho Rios Holness said that the JCF was changing and that it was changing to a [force for good]. That by default, means that the force has always been a force for bad.
Holness said that the force over the last decade has changed from a brutal force to one that members may not even see, even though those changes are happening right before their very eyes(not exactly a ringing endorsement of their intellect). The Prime Minister said that his Commissioner is implementing changes and they are bearing fruits.
In other words, the changes being implemented are being made without the input of the members of the police department whom the changes will affect the most.
“I watch a video “Holness said,“an a man seh but dem ya police ya a joke”. the inference being that the police did not take action as they are duty bound to do in the face of criminal conduct being committed in front of them.
The inference being that taking lawful action as commensurate with the laws is tantamount to being brutal. That is the intelligence level of the Jamaican Prime Minister.
Remember that it was just a few days prior that that incident in May Pen occurred in which heavily armed Militia-men sent the police scurrying for cover and two officers nearly paid with their lives.
And here was the nation’s chief executive addressing police officers mere days later.
Posted on January 3, 2017 by jay
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‘Ten years ago yu coulnd’t turn on yu television and not see negative accounts of police pertaining to police killings, a brutal force” Holness said. ” The perception is now changing, “the perception of the brutal force is now changing I think it is a good thing.“
Holness told members that for the 151 years the JCF has been used as an instrument of brutality which has never served us well and that Jamaica has never recorded a sustainable reduction in crime and violence.
The reality is that Holness’ claim is not supported by the facts. Up to and around until around the late 80’s to early 90’s crime increased in Jamaica as it did in even industrialized nations.
What Holness [did not mention], was the fact that despite the lack of resources, despite the lack of Governmental-support, and in his view, the general idea that the sacrifices, of many members paying the ultimate price, and the [force is a force for bad](sic) officers have done a terrific job.
The Prime Minister then went on to lay out a laundry list of political platitudes and promises, safety vests, new police stations, gyms and other basic amenities and accouterments which ought to be standard fare for the police officers.
In the end, I tuned out Andrew Holness, and came to the conclusion that when Andrew Holness tells us that he came from a two-bedroom board house in Cumberland Spanish Town, we should accept that he is a product of his environment.
Not the two Bedroom house part(most of us came from even more humble beginnings), but the geography of his origin, and how it has shaped his [misunderstanding] of what actual policing is all about.
Holness’ Utopian concept of the new Jamaica Constabulary Force did not include a single recognition that, not only is crime increasing, the incidents of violence have become more egregious, but the methodology and organization of the criminals have changed exponentially.
The country has had a whole lot of people deported back, who have spent many many years in developed countries and have lived lives in crime and have learned how to evade police in those developed countries.
I wrote about this years ago that this would inevitably pose a serious challenge to Jamaica and to local law enforcement as the level of sophistication these criminals would be employing would require a different kind of policing.
Unfortunately, as I see it, the police are being watered down instead of being reinforced.
Jamaica is in for a torrid time, I’m afraid.
In the end, Holness’ lengthy speech was greeted at best with less than a luke-warm smattering of applause. For the most part, members sat there in bored silence.
At one stage after talking about the Mobile reserve Holness tried to force applause” well if you don’t clap for that I am happy for it,” officers obliged with about five people clapping dejectedly.
There are several videos circulating on social media and what was clear is that the Robbers were prepared to fight regardless of who intercepted them.
On one particular video, several police vehicles were seen backing away from the scene. Whether this was a tactical maneuver to establish a wider perimeter is unclear.
What was obvious is that not a single member of the group of an estimated eight gunmen was killed or intercepted. So it becomes a little clearer to decipher that maybe the marked police vehicles seen leaving the scene were not leaving to form a wider perimeter.
If the theory is that the officers retreated and did not engage the robbers then this is a seminal moment whether Horace Chang, Andrew Holness or Antony Anderson acknowledges it or not.
Every person is free to look at the multiple videos on YouTube and form their own conclusion as to whether this is something that is getting better as the Prime Minister would have you believe.
Is this the [new Force for good] that the Prime Minister is misleading the nation about?
Every Jamaican has a decision to make because the choices are clear. The critical question must be this.
Do you feel safer with this level of security the Prime Minister is offering you in his newly transforming police force for good?
Here is my challenge to you, listen to the Prime Minister’s speech then determine for yourself whether he made mention of the numerous murders each and every day, not to mention the other acts of violence which do not readily result in death.
What he is concerned about is an image, unfortunately, image cannot keep people safe.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police corporal, business owner, avid researcher, and blogger. He is also a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com. You may subscribe to his blogs free of charge.