The Police Federation which represents the rank and file police officers from constables to Inspectors have every right to vigorously defend the interests of those officers through the charter under which it operates.
As a union, the police federation cannot, and should, not be constrained by the post-colonial mindset which still guides Jamaica’s decision-makers and opinion-shapers.
For its part, the Police Officers Association is headed by Superintendent Wayne Cameron whom I believe is an exemplary officer, despite not having worked with him.
On more than one occasion I have pointed to Cameron’s leadership as Parish Commander in Portland and Saint Ann as the type of leadership senior officers should emulate.
With that said I have vociferously argued that for the most part many of the senior officers of the JCF have been dead weight.
Over the life of the Jamaica Constabulary force and in recent times, there is a treasure trove of evidence that the failures of the JCF, at least to train, supervise and retain young officers has been the failure of its senior officers.
It is incomprehensible that any person in this day and age would suggest that the young men and women at the bottom of the force are to be blamed for the problems that have plagued the force personnel-wise.
A team is judged by its leaders, it is, and has always been, the failures of the senior cadre of the force which has been problematic.
Poll any past member of the force about the reason they left the force early, and the leadership at the officer’s level will take center stage.
That anyone would pretend that the salient points raised by Federation Chairman Detective Sergeant Patrae Rowe are somehow new, unknown, or unfounded is the personification of [bull-shittery].
Some of the very members of the officer corps will attest to the laziness, incompetence, and sense of connivance, (politically and otherwise), that is inherent in that part of the force.
The high attrition in the force is directly attributable to the corrupt, malfeasance and poor leadership skills of the senior officers of the JCF.
It always has been, and will be, for a long time to come until a real merit-based system of advancement is developed and adhered to strictly. And transfers and other internal movements and disciplines are fully done according to established lawful protocols.
The fact that the two groups, the Federation and the POA, emerged from a meeting mediated by Antony Anderson the sitting commissioner, singing the same tune does not negate nor mitigate the pressing and omnipresent problems as outlined by Patrae Rowe.
Some have argued that this should have been dealt with privately.
That idea is in and of itself laughable.
The idea that the police federation sitting down with the POA and saying you need to stop with these practices of punitive transfers, stop with these bad reports on the files of people you do not like, or who you feel threatened by intellectually, you need to stop punishing women who do not want to sleep with you is beyond laughable.
Those suggestions could only come from outsiders who pretend to have a working knowledge of the JCF because they have been invited to speak at some ceremonies, or may have shared some cocktails with members of the POA and the commissioner himself, whoever that person may be at any given time.
This brings us to Orville Taylor’s article in today’s Sunday Gleaner in which he inserted his nose in this matter. Taylor a PhD. is head of the sociology department at the UWI, many of you know this place as the (Intellectual ghetto).
In reference to federation chairman Patrae Roe’s name, Taylor said, “Apparently only the E at the end of his surname is silent but Sergeant Patrae Rowe, chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation, has paddled publicly his boat upstream, supporting the commissioner but vilifying the layer of management which directly supervises him in his substantive post”.
That kind of ad hominem cheap shot is clearly what we have come to expect from these[ little ticky-ticky] ground gods who actually shape opinions on the Island.
Taylor was not done, despite sugar coating, the article as one which supports the right of the rank and file to speak out against the perennial injustice meted out to them, he showed his dirty drawers eventually.
Quote: My first question for the chairman and those who elected and support him is, what is to be achieved for the Force and its members when he takes to the public grievances, which can be addressed through dialogue and with the full force of his collective bargaining ability?
As I said if you suggest this matter should have been dealt with privately you do not know as much as you think you do, so maybe you should have less to say.
He justifiably balks about lower recruitment and training standards, promotion, conditions of work, welfare and many other issues like a good trade unionist should. Many of these misgivings resound very deeply with me. Moreover, the JCF must be seen as a difficult but yet enticing career path.
Some of the areas are directly outside of his remit. However, under the Labour Relations and Industrial Disputes Act (LRIDA), he does have locus standing to have disputes over the employment, non-employment, (non) allocation of work dismissal or suspension of any worker, within or outside of the bargaining unit of workers that he represents. Still, it is a brave analyst who would think that a subordinate, despite his external qualifications, would have the necessary tools to determine that his superiors are competent or otherwise. Simply put, Rowe stuck his neck very far out when he declared to the nation that as a sergeant of police, he is so qualified as to make astute judgments and evaluations of his senior officers, whose jobs he can only imagine or aspire to perform. It is the equivalent of a junior doctor or nurse with graduate qualifications in a medical-related field assessing the performance of the senior surgeons.
Orville Taylor’s comments, as I said, showed his dirty drawers, and to many in Jamaica who are impressed with people like him, this may seem like a really impressive retort to Patrae Rowe’s statements.
However, when you look at the article, point by point, you realize that this is just a bunch of malarky, which puts the author in a light that does him no good.
The idea that the Federation Chairman would not have the qualifications (despite his outside qualifications) to determine that his superiors are competent or otherwise, is the stupidest thing Taylor could have put forward.
Even without outside qualifications the chairman of the federation is imminently qualified to challenge members of the POA on what it clearly has been doing outside best practices.
The idea that Patrae Rowe would be criticized and not the POA demonstrates the level of mental rot that exists on important issues.
By Orville Taylor’s calculus, no one would have the qualification to be Prime Minister, since they have never been PM before.
In fact, Orville Taylor’s Article should be discarded without further thought because of its irrelevance, Taylor has never served as a police officer, therefore he clearly could not be qualified to make the points he is raising.
By this regressive calculus scientists and engineers who make monumental breakthroughs in their respective fields simply could not because it has never been done before. In fact, I have no idea why I wasted so much time on this idiotic article in the first place?
It is that kind of post-colonial neanderthal thinking which continues to impress and dominate popular opinion in Jamaica, to the detriment of solid consequential discussions on topical issues.
Orville Taylor’s article could be seen as supportive of the rank and file officers plight, but when you take a closer look, it demonstrates the same old mindset of the elitist class who clearly still believes that the children of Jamaica’s poorest people should simply shut up, sit down and do as they are told.
The fact still remains that many of the senior officers in the JCF are deadwood, which doesn’t require a Ph.D. to figure out.
The points raised by Detective Sergeant Rowe are older than anyone serving in the JCF today.
The Federation Chairman was right to blast the POA, the POA was right to respond by meeting with the Federation with alacrity.
That is to the credit of both Superintendent Wayne Cameron and Sergeant Patrae Rowe.
Mike Beckles is a former Jamaican police Detective corporal, businessman, researcher, and blogger.
He is a black achiever honoree, and publisher of the blog chatt-a-box.com.
He’s also a contributor to several websites.
You may subscribe to his blogs free of charge, or subscribe to his Youtube channel @chatt-a-box, for the latest podcast all free to you of course.