Federation Head Was Correct To Blast POA, Whose History Is Well Known…

michael beck­les

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.

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SP Wayne Cameron

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].

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Detective Sergeant Patrae Rowe

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.

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Orville Taylor

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.

Said Taylor:
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.
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