Who Are The People Behind And In The Administration Working To Dismantle The JCF?

I won­der from time to time who exact­ly is at the wheel of Government in Jamaica?
On oth­er occa­sions, I am appalled at the lack of aware­ness of the so-called edu­cat­ed peo­ple on crit­i­cal issues affect­ing our coun­try.

Take for instance a recent announce­ment by the University of the West Indies that it intends to help to train cops in cer­tain crit­i­cal areas.
According to local media report­ing guest at an event at the University in which a Memorandum of under­stand­ing was signed were aghast at fig­ures revealed by Deputy Commissioner of Police Clifford Blake.

Which leads me to won­der who are these peo­ple and where do they live that they would be shocked at these rev­e­la­tions, Jamaica is a tiny coun­try are they res­i­dents of Uranus?
Under the MOU, the uni­ver­si­ty will pro­vide lodg­ing for 300 JCF recruits for a six-month peri­od, twice per year, among oth­er pro­vi­sions while they are in train­ing.

At cen­ter stage was the vex­ing issue of mass attri­tion which has plagued the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
This issue has been a long­stand­ing issue for the Agency despite the crit­i­cal lack of jobs in the coun­try offi­cers leave at an alarm­ing rate, usu­al­ly seek­ing bet­ter oppor­tu­ni­ties, some­times with­in the CAROICOM region which does not nec­es­sar­i­ly­ly mean more mon­ey.
This puts to lie the notion that the rea­sons offi­cers leave the JCF are sole­ly eco­nom­ic. I will come back to this.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Clifford Blake revealed that the JCF’s cur­rent estab­lish­ment stands at 14,092, but their work­ing strength as of the report­ing was 11,433.
Blake told the gath­er­ing In 2015, the JCF grad­u­at­ed 244 per­sons and dur­ing that same time 514 left the agency through res­ig­na­tion, retire­ment, and dis­missal, and in 2016 we grad­u­at­ed into the agency 495 per­sons (and) last year 544 per­sons exit­ed the agency, so we con­tin­ue to oper­ate at a deficit.”
He high­light­ed a recent instance where the Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force wel­comed 13 new mem­bers, 12 of whom were for­mer mem­bers of the JCF.

What that means is that these Jamaican offi­cers are not run­ning away from polic­ing, they are run­ning away polic­ing in Jamaica.
In fact, as I was writ­ing this a young friend of mine who just hap­pened to be one of the bright young offi­cers who received crime scene train­ing walked in to see me.
I told him what I was work­ing on and he told me “Mike offi­cers are leav­ing the force and they aren’t even leav­ing the Island”.
He stri­dent­ly rub­bished DCP Clifford Blake’s asser­tion that the pri­ma­ry rea­sons cops are leav­ing are pri­mar­i­ly for eco­nom­ic rea­sons.
He lament­ed the dis­con­nect between the Commissioned Ranks and the Rank and file. The rank and file he remarked feels it is large­ly on its own
The Gazetted offi­cers he lament­ed, are large­ly as dis­con­nect­ed from the rank and file offi­cers who do the work, as the coun­try is vis­cer­al­ly anti-police.
To the best of my rec­ol­lec­tion, many of those gazetted offi­cers are grad­u­ates of the University of the West Indies, and oth­er col­leges.

It is impor­tant to look at these num­bers as the Government takes action to sur­rep­ti­tious­ly force police offi­cers to serve a pre­scribed length of time before they can leave and even there­after must inform the force six (6) months in advance of leav­ing.
The rea­sons the Government gave through the hier­ar­chy of the JCF for the move which is being chal­lenged in court are so flim­sy they are laugh­able.

If ever there was a means toward dis­cour­ag­ing tal­ent­ed free peo­ple from get­ting involved in pub­lic ser­vice for the right rea­sons this is it.
People are moti­vat­ed by their con­vic­tions. I was moti­vat­ed by my con­vic­tions when I signed up to serve but I darn sure would­n’t have served if I was con­strained by archa­ic rules which lim­it and infringes on my God-giv­en rights and free­doms which cer­tain­ly were not bestowed upon me by a tin-pan Government but by my cre­ator.

Said Blake, “So not only do we con­tin­ue to lose peo­ple, we con­tin­ue to lose some of our best per­sons,” he said. “We need to look at a reten­tion strat­e­gy to see how do we keep our mem­bers in the orga­ni­za­tion.
He went on, “it is clear that sev­er­al areas such as job sat­is­fac­tion, salary, bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions, pro­mo­tion, among oth­ers need to be crit­i­cal­ly exam­ined”.

So, on the one hand, Blake talks about a reten­tion pol­i­cy which is nec­es­sary, he named some of the things which should be con­sid­ered ‚as job sat­is­fac­tion, salary, bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions, pro­mo­tion, among oth­ers.
Why then would the JCF co-opt the regres­sive pol­i­cy of the Government which will have the oppo­site effect of retain­ing good offi­cers with­out a fight?

The stark real­i­ty is that the leaky old buck­et which is the JCF is los­ing more water than it is tak­ing in.
The Andrew Holness Special Zones assault on rank and file mem­bers which it pur­ports will stop attri­tion will inex­orably lead to a mas­sive drop off of poten­tial recruits who do not wish to be con­strained against their will.
And sec­ond­ly, will has­ten those already in the agency to seek out the exits.

The log­i­cal con­clu­sions to all of this, as this writer has stat­ed cat­e­gor­i­cal­ly before, is that the Holness Government is on a mis­sion to dis­man­tle the JCF.
Andrew Holness and the anti-police forces behind him know full well what they are doing, they would dis­man­tle the JCF this minute if they could get away with it.
Nevertheless, this anti-police cabal knows that if they make the agency suf­fi­cient­ly unat­trac­tive no one will want to join and those already in will be run­ning for the exits. Using that strat­e­gy it will only be a mat­ter of time before the agency col­laps­es.
It is like Trump’s assault on the afford­able care act passed by his pre­de­ces­sor, he argues it is dying, on oth­er occa­sions he says it’s dead.
Only that it’s nei­ther dead nor dying but it will if the safe­guards built in to sup­port its exis­tence and growth are not main­tained it will ulti­mate­ly die.
Guess who has the pow­er to remove some of those safe­guards?

The attempt to use the threat of prison as a means to keep cops in the JCF is a slick sleight of hand which on the face of it gives the appear­ance that it is designed to help but will have the oppo­site effect.
If of course, you can get past the pre­sump­tu­ous and cheeky nature of the prospect of cops being impris­oned because they made up their minds they did not want to be a part of polic­ing a coun­try that does not respect the rule of law any longer.
Clifford Blake sees it, at least his com­ments seem to indi­cate he under­stand it Quote” it is clear that sev­er­al areas such as job sat­is­fac­tion, salary, bet­ter work­ing con­di­tions, pro­mo­tion, among oth­ers need to be crit­i­cal­ly exam­ined.”

If Clifford Blake knows it Andrew Holness knows it. The ques­tion is who exact­ly are the peo­ple behind Holness who are work­ing to destroy the Police force?
The effort of the University, in this case, is to be com­mend­ed, Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the UWI, Mona Professor Archibald McDonald said mod­ern polic­ing calls for not just fight­ing but also think­ing men and women, and so the UWI’s response to the crime sit­u­a­tion is not one of fear and retreat but proac­tive solu­tions.

He said that the uni­ver­si­ty will aim to take the police force to their full-ser­vice capac­i­ty of 14,000 through the train­ing of 300 recruits every six months, which will take about three years to achieve.

This will pro­vide the JCF with 600 grad­u­ates per year to help negate the attri­tion rate,” he said. “Students will be housed in res­i­dence dur­ing the peri­od of train­ing on the Mona cam­pus and lec­ture rooms will be pro­vid­ed and con­fig­ured where nec­es­sary.”

As com­mend­able as this approach is the real issue is not about the full com­ple­ment of the force.
The issue of import is the con­di­tions in the coun­try which caus­es peo­ple who both­er to sign up, go through the train­ing then almost imme­di­ate­ly turn their backs on the agency in short order.
That is the issue, if the University does not under­stand this then it too is a part of the prob­lem.