The Joint Select Committee of Parliament decided that (indecom)the Agency tasked with oversight of the Police Department. Military and Corrections Department should itself be subject to ….
Well what do you know, what a Novel concept? You mean that finally the group of knuckle-heads debating this issue finally had an epiphany? You mean they are finally starting to get the simple concept of checks and balances? I mean even the Politicians are held to some degree of accountability, something which never existed before, why not (indecom)?
After the Contractor General’s ACT was passed many people including this writer thought , “Oh great finally some degree of accountability”. Naturally many politicians past and present were not happy with the vigilance and aggressive dedication Greg Christie the first Contractor General brought to the job.
Many were happy to see the back of Christie. For the average man on the street Christie was a modern day Savior who saved tax-payers much money which otherwise would have been siphoned off through illicit and corrupt practices in the contracts awards process.
Just last week a member of the Governing Administration vented his frustration with the Office of Contractor General. He claimed that the long delay of contracts being reviewed by the OCG places the Administration in a position in which it cannot carry out its mandate to create jobs.
A reasonable argument to make. Yet it was the corrupt practices of the politicians which made the Office Of Contractor General a necessity in the first place.
The (indecom) Act became a reality because of police officers misdeeds, as well as members of the Military and Corrections Department. Many members past and present are opposed to the Agency understandably because of their affiliations with either of the three Agencies.
This writer is not opposed to (indecom) the agency . I oppose the operational tenets of the Act and I certainly am opposed to the Commissioner himself whom I fundamentally believe should not have the job as head of (indecom). Those who read my blogs are well aware of my dislike for Terrence Williams, not because he heads (indecom) but because he is on a personal crusade to persecute .
I personally do not care about corrupt cops getting their just deserts. In the short ten years
I spent in the JCF I was instrumental in the prosecution and imprisonment of three corrupt cops , whom I was happy to see leave the department.
So I’m certainly not an apologist as some would imagine because I do not support the wholesale persecution of good Cops.
There are some people who are mentally incapable of moving past corrupt cops and embracing the value of good officers to society.
Those people cannot be changed, they don’t want to change. The bad cop argument is a perfect anchor, one from which they have no desire to be unhitched.
The (indecom) Act is the brain-child of the abbreviated Bruce Golding Administration . The law was passed after public outcry reached fever pitch about police abuse and extra-judicial killings. The truth of the matter is that so called Human-Rights advocacy and lobbying efforts were more to be credited for the laws existence than massive police abuse. Nevertheless a phalanx of advocacy groups emerged all arrayed against the police and demanding change. Jamaicans For Justice(JFJ) headed by Carolyn Gomes a pediatric Doctor, Families against State Terrorism (FAST) headed my Yvonne McCall Sobers were just two of the advocacy groups to seriously lobby the Golding Administration for oversight of the police.
Both groups had serious backing from International Human Rights Agencies to include
the London based Amnesty International and the Washington DC based Inter American Commission on Human Rights. Gomes and (JFJ) were instrumental in presenting false , unsubstantiated and in many cases flawed and discredited information to her handlers in Washington DC about police killings.
INDECOM was born with much input from (FAST) and (JFJ) , however there were many more anti-police groups with significant power which pushed for a law which would basically shackle the police once and for all. The Norman Manley Law School and the Island’s Bar Association were instrumental in having a law passed which would effectively send crime sky-rocketing .
The Administration did not bother to consult or consider the Police , Military or the Corrections Department before formulating and passing the law. INDECOM was born and Carolyn Gomes was awarded a National honor.
It did not take long for the Nation’s criminals to figure out that the Police were now a paper tiger.
Gomes has since stepped down after much scrutiny by the Government of the Group’s financial records
and conduct. The alliance between (jfj) and (indecom) was well known, at least to this writer. This pissed off police officers who
demanded that Terrence Williams the head of (indecom) be fired after he attended an anti-police press conference with (jfj). The Government did not acquiesce to the Police’s demand but the well of goodwill was already poisoned between the police and the oversight agency.
The Commissioner of (indecom) wanted and demanded more and more power to go after Police, this led to a battle with the office of the Director of Public Prosecution. Williams claimed that the DPP was not doing enough to prosecute police transgressions.
Never mind that Williams had the option to grandstand but the DPP is obligated to present tangible evidence to a court of law or face unlawful prosecution backlash.
It’s important to note that the (DPP) has the power to charge police officers with a crime to quell public outcry even without the requisite evidence necessary to convict. Literally every police shooting in Jamaica generates outcry from some quarter or another.
The tug-o-war ended up before Parliament with the DPP supported by the Police calling for oversight of (indecom) . Friends of (indecom) are enemies of the police and they did not abandon Williams as he pushed for more power to persecute police while notably wanting to have no oversight of (indecom). Essentially Williams wanted to head a super Agency voted into office by no one, but with vast unchecked powers.
Citizens’ Action for Principles and Integrity (CAPI) says any oversight body for the Independent Commission of Investigations (Indecom), will render it impotent. A joint-select committee of parliament examining the Indecom Act has proposed an oversight entity for the investigative and prosecutorial body. Indecom was set up as an independent body tasked to investigate misconduct by members of the police force. Co-Convenor of CAPI Dennis Meadows argues that Indecom, as a commission of Parliament, already has parliamentary oversight in addition to judicial scrutiny with its financed and operations falling within the ambit of the Auditor General and the Contractor General. respectively. National Security Minister Peter Bunting has stated that there was a danger in concentrating as much power as
the act has done in the hands of the Commissioner of Indecom. At the time Human rights lobby group, Jamaicans for Justice said it was researching the proposal that the Independent Commission of Investigations (Indecom) should have an internal oversight. This latest proposal from parliamentarians follows earlier objections to Indecom having an external oversight. In a statement the JFJ says it continues to engage in robust advocacy at the policy level to protect and promote the human rights of all persons in Jamaica. Central to that advocacy has been the issue of police oversight. To this end, JFJ submitted its comments on the proposal for oversight of Indecom, to the joint-select committee of parliament reviewing the Indecom Act. The JFJ says its recent submission addresses the issue of external oversight of Indecom, as has been suggested by some parties. The lobby group says such additional external oversight of Indecom would be inappropriate and damaging to Indecom’s independence, potentially reversing the positive gains that have been made.
In the end the Joint select Committee of Parliament decided that more oversight was necessary as we reported here and correctly so.
At the time the decision was made the sole Jamaica Labor Party Member of the committee in attendance Delroy Chuck an anti-police lawyer voted not to have oversight of (indecom).
In summary (indecom) was created by the Labor Party .
Dennis Meadows a JLP Senator and head of (Capi) wanted no oversight of (indecom).
Delroy Chuck another JLP Senator voted for no oversight of (indecom).
We have written about other Labor party aspirants here who have demosntrably shown a disdain for police officers and the rule of law.
We need to know how many more members of the Labor Party wants unfettered powers for an oversight agency which is not required to face Jamaica’s criminals. As a commentator I have been strident against the PNP Administration for what I perceive to be incompetence, corruption, and a host of other malfeasance.
In the interest of fairness however it is important to lay blame for the Island crime situation squarely where it belongs, on both political parties.