My friend brought to my attention this morning the comments of Dr Carl Williams Commissioner of Police as he addressed the 73rd Annual Joint Central Conferences of the Jamaica Police Federation at the Hilton Rose Hall Resort and Spa in St James on Wednesday.
Said Dr Williams : “People who have sat their exams and who have passed should be considered before we add more people to the pool“.
Isn’t he the Commissioner of Police?
The Commissioner of Police was responding to the candid assertions put forth by the Minister of National Security Robert Montague. Montague said “There must be a system where after you have passed your exams and you don’t get promoted after a period, the person must be called in and told what are their faults, or shortcomings,”.
Hmm ,oh well that’s a novel idea[sic].
It was then that the Commissioner revealed that of all persons who have requested to see him, about 95 per cent of the issues have to do with promotion.
No s**t , why is that such a “vexed issue“, in your opinion Commissioner ,to borrow your term?
Anyway the goodly Commissioner of Police went on to say ,“As the minister said, it is unfair for people who have done their exams to come back and do it again. And that is why no exams have taken place this year, because we have to ensure that no other bright stars come and get 98 per cent and eclipse all the good hard-working stalwarts who have been waiting for a long time,”.
Really Commissioner Williams, when did you receive this epiphany?
This has been an age old problem, a “vexed issue“, long before you joined the department, your observation would have been legitimate had you made them from the time you joined up to the rank of deputy commissioner but once you occupy the big office you have lost that right to criticize.
What have you done about it , the buck stops with you?
There has never been a better or purer system of promoting people to leadership positions than a merit-based-system.
Advancing people using any other metric is bound to end up with disastrous consequences.
Nepotism, who you know, political henchmen, brown-nosing, news carrying, sleeping with the boss and reducing themselves to yard-boys have been only a few of the qualities necessary for advancements in the JCF.
The hard working stalwarts and those with abilities to critical think were never endearing qualities within the JCF.
The JCF has an extraordinarily high attrition rate, there are several factors which are contributing that race for the door. Top of the list are poor remunerations, lack of advancement which could potentially compensate for poor remunerations, lack of support legislatively and political among others.
As a past member who actually exited the department after only ten years I understood quite well those challenges and still today have a serving member of my family who has been stuck at the rank of sergeant for over 15 years. Recently I asked him why do you stay in such an ungrateful agency , risking your life for such an ingrate population ?
He shrugged and smiled.
Over the years I argued that the Jamaican people deserved a bigger bang than that which they get for their buck. I believed then that the nation deserved to get more for the money it puts into training officers only to see them snapped up by other nations and their police departments where they shine with exemplary brilliance.
Today I do not make the same arguments , I believe the nation deserves what it gets. There is no respect for the rule of law. There is too much active support for criminals. There are too many people who are willing to side with criminals, including the judges whose jobs it is to put criminals in prison.
On that basis I actively support members of the JCF leaving as I did, so they may secure a future and live out their dreams as so many former officers of the department has done.
I am yet to determine whether there has been an audit done to determine the cost of training an officer only to see so many of them head for the door.
If some of the structural breaches are plugged maybe ,just maybe the attrition rate may be reduced.
Some of the structural issues plaguing the department are of the department’s own creation. I broach this subject with the greatest of sensitivity and caution.
I know many of our comrades from the former Island special constabulary are some of the finest professionals, hard working and dedicated.
With that said it would be naive to assume that merely bringing the ISCF into the JCF purely for numerical reasons would not have negative consequences, particularly if the JCF was unprepared to retrain them.
Let me hasten to say that a large number of candidates who served and are still serving in the JCF who were never members of the ISCF were themselves sub-standard candidates.
I make this comment with the greatest of respect for the service of the members of the former ISCF.
Bringing over to the JCF the members of the ISCF without retraining, and furthermore allowing them to maintain the rank they had was another move which Stevie Wonder could have seen would have had disastrous consequences ,the least of which is the promotion log-jam which that ill-informed aspect of the merger exacerbated.
Regardless of one’s emotional leaning on this, the practical question remaining is whether it was a prudent move to bring officers of the Auxiliary and make them supervisors in the regular force?
Simply put it amounts to the tail wagging the dog. Every member of the ISCF who wished to join the JCF should have been offered the opportunity to go to the training academy and qualify to be a regular police officer, failing which they should have been given a severance pay and allowed to go their way.
It would not have been the first time that a set of workers were told their services as it exist were no longer needed.
Good business decisions should never hinge on loyalty to or emotional attachments.
At the time of the merger I remained silent because I did not want to be accused of advocating for people losing their jobs because of any number of dredged up reasons.
Regardless, I opined to close friends that doing a merger purely for the sake of numerical strength conflicted with the forces stated goal of modernization.
The chickens are simply coming home to roost.