In one of the most blatant and nonsensical attacks upon the JCF which could only be attributed to (a) utter ignorance of what policing is about, or (b) a feeble attempt to get eyeballs on his pathetic article, or both, Gleaner Columnist Christopher Serju made a complete ass of himself in a July 26th article.
The writer’s unfortunate attack on the police seemed to indicate that he had a deadline but did not bother to do his homework. Instead, he defaulted to what works in Jamaica, a cowardly, and unfounded attack on the police.
He chose to attack the police for doing exactly what they are tasked with doing and ensuring the exact outcomes they desired.
But in Jamaica when these poor excuses, which pass for journalists, do not do their homework or worse, does not understand a subject (intellectual deficiency), they default to what they were raised to do. That is to attack the police.
Unfortunately, the writer’s weak attempt to blame the police while trying to kiss up to a foreign movement fell flat on its face.
YOU BE THE JUDGE
By Christopher Serju.
Tuesday’s demonstration by Greenpeace International activists, supported by local environmentalists and non-governmental organizations, caught the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) off guard for the reason that it was peaceful. The environmental activists had the audacity to announce in advance that they were going to turn up at the gates of the Jamaica Conference Centre, the International Seabed Authority headquarters in downtown Kingston, at 8:30 a.m.Armed with that information, the JCF pulled out all the stops to ensure that the protest did not unfold as planned. However, it apparently did not anticipate that the demonstrators would be bright, intelligent and able to hold a cogent conversation.
“It’s a peaceful, educated, scientific position that we are putting forward, and that’s what I want to be able to do as the delegates arrive today. This is the public sidewalk, and I can’t see too much legal problem with that. Obviously, the authorities have a slightly different opinion,” declared Frank Hewetson, Greenpeace co-ordinator.He was right, as the police had come to thwart what they must have anticipated would have been a showdown of epic proportions. With members of the bicycle squad, at least two motorcyclists on standby, an assistant commissioner of police, a deputy superintendent, an inspector, and a host of rank-and-file members, the JCF was ready for any eventuality. Instead, what transpired was the triumph of common sense and logic over state intransigence.
They were disarmed by the calm, cool and collected stance of Hewetson, who was polite and charming and just as firm in the conviction that he was doing no wrong.“I want to stress that we will obey the police, but we are going to exercise our constitutional rights,” he insisted. But even after he had explained a couple of times their reason for being there, Deputy Superintendent Alton Spencer was still unsure as to the type of disorder he was trying to quell. “I am not even certain what their mission is, but we are here to basically ensure that there is no blockage. Nobody is impeded in terms of movement, and we are protecting the interest of those persons who are attending the conference,” he confided. The senior police officer, however, must be commended for his multitasking skills: fielding questions from pesky journalists, directing his troops and attending to the many and varied concerns of Enoch Allen, head of security for the International Seabed Authority. He was a very busy man indeed.
Allen shared with The Gleaner his reasons for opposing the Greenpeace International demonstration.“In general, when we have our conferences, it is of paramount importance that we, being the host, and the Seabed Authority in particular, ought to protect the delegates. There is a demonstration going on and we don’t know the entities involved, so we have to have all hands on deck and do our job as best we can.” It boggles the mind that both men admitted to not knowing what they were opposing, while enunciating their strong opposition to the unseen, undefined ‘terror’. In fact, with time on their hands and the storm in the teacup not quite bubbling to the boil, it must have been boredom that drove Assistant Commissioner of Police Steve McGregor to issue this warning: “When you leaving, I don’t want you to leave any of your paraphernalia anywhere because I will prosecute.” I suspect but could be forgiven for thinking that Assistant Commissioner McGregor was guilty of trying to intimidate his audience. If he was, it didn’t work, and the attempt sputtered like a soaking wet squib. By refusing to be baited, while firmly and respectfully toeing the line, Greenpeace International outfoxed the JCF, Hewetson telling Deputy Superintendent Spencer: “That’s not conflict. That’s peaceful assembly. If I disobey you it would be conflict, but I am not here to fight with the Jamaican police authority in any way at all.”
For the Jamaican police who were anticipating a chaotic encounter, it was a disappointing and peaceful ending, and something to which they are obviously not yet quite accustomed.
The foregone is exactly why people should stick to what they know and not delve into what they do not know.
This guy writes about agriculture, the environment, and rural development.
Obviously, he did not do his homework to meet his deadline, or was too piss-lazy to write an article which made sense. Or he is too stupid to write a quality article. So he decided to do what they all do, become a parasite and try to suck the blood from the police.
The police showed up in numbers to ensure that (a)no laws were broken, (b)that no one was inconvenienced by the protest (which did not have a permit), I might add. © That conference-goers were able to traverse the facility without fear.
What the organizer did was to demonstrate to Jamaicans that they know how to obey laws and get their point across, without being raucous disorderly or disrespectful to law enforcement.
Of course, he is from a country which respects their law enforcement officers.
I commend Steve McGregor and his officers for doing a sterling job. The leader of the Greenpeace protest was very clear that he was not there to disobey rules, or be antagonistic toward the police.
Serju, on the other hand, should have learned something from the Greenpeace Organizer. Respect the officers who are out there doing their level best to ensure that everyone gets their point across in safety.
Were he an honest, intelligent journalist, he would have written an article explaining to the public the reason for Greenpeace’s presence.
Instead, he wrote this, an article which turned out to be a feeble attempt to discredit the police. It fell flat, he fell flat.
He should hang his head in shame.