I am partial and deferential to the rule of law, I believe that as people we should be free to live our lives the way we chose, as long as what we do, doesn’t cause harm to others. I believe also that societies must have rules commensurate with the times in which we live, otherwise the result is chaos and anarchy.
Conversely I believe we should be able to find an agreeable middle where the voices of those who genuinely advocate for human rights must be heard. The checks and balances which genuine human rights agencies seek, cannot be overlooked, we owe it to ourselves to ensure that every citizen’s voice matters, on the occasion when they cannot speak for themselves, independent non-aligned human rights agencies should and must advocate on their behalf.
Oversight is good for law enforcement agencies, or at least the image of those who work in law-enforcement. I have spoken to numerous law enforcement professionals, in various police agencies in the United States as well as my former colleagues and I hear the same arguments over and over.
“We do not mind oversight, we just do not need biased, zealous oversight, with people having their own agendas”. My former colleagues in Jamaica, refers to oversight agencies as “pressure groups” . They tell me they want people who understand what cops face, to do oversight, and not fly by night power-hungry-media whores, with narcissistic ambitions of grandeur.
The Independent Commission of Investigations was created to investigate allegations of abuse by agents of the Jamaican state.I will not bore you with the details surrounding the formulation of the Agency. We will provide a link so you may read for yourselves what the agency is supposed to be about.http://www.indecom.gov.jm/.
The law has come up for review, as it has reasonably been designed to after 3 years. As we commented previously, the Police, Military and now the Minister of National Security has come out against the Act. Minister Bunting who has responsibility for the nation’s security did not mince words in relation to this Act, quote: This commission is too powerful. As we argued in a previous post, the Act conflicts with the role of the commissioner of police and the chief of defense staff’s ability to operate their agencies, notwithstanding that the commissioner of INDECOM has no experience in police or military matters or procedures.
The commissioner of INDECOM is empowered to direct both security agency heads, to carry out and effect change to their respective agencies , even though they are ultimately responsible for the effectiveness of their agencies. Not enough, the commissioner of INDECOM , despite those sweeping powers, is desperately demanding more and more power, even as he runs around with people opposed to the rule of law and good order in Jamaica.
Despite all the heated rhetoric coming from Terrence Williams about police excess and demands for more power for himself, in his latest submission to Parliament he reported that the majority of cases investigated by his office, police officers acted properly in the actions they took. This Act has elements that seem clearly unconstitutional, even to the untrained. The Police Federation a useless gelding puppy does nothing for its members and neither does the rum-belly gazetted ranks, many of whom are mere political lap-dogs. These are the issues which should unite them toward a common good. The Officers Association and Federation could be a formidable force on this issue, alas they would rather head for the nearest rum-bar.
This INDECOM Act was not properly though out, it was a typical knee-jerk act designed to assuage the concerns of criminal rights lobby in the country, with Carolyn Gomes of the anti-police group JFJ’s finger-prints all over it. Not having a law is better than a bad law, this is a bad law which needs to be revamped re-debated and re-authorized.
Sections of the Act literally forces police officers to self incriminate, it forces them to give statements, when they have to use force within a given time, even as they are traumatized and should have the benefit of counsel. This Act in my estimation is injurious and harmful to law enforcement and officers, National Security as articulated by the Jamaica Defense Force, and huge consequences for national security and public interest as argued by Minister Bunting.
Police needs oversight which is conversant with the challenges law enforcement faces. Oversight should be free from interference from the likes of Jamaicans for Justice. Those who investigate the investigators should not be in a position to put self and personal interest over country as is happening now. When oversight is carried out fairly , impartially and free from rancor everyone benefits. What Jamaica can ill-afford, is a Jamaican FBI style agency, with a J Edgar Hoover type, ego-maniacal narcissist, out of control with too much power.
Fix it now or pay dearly later.