Stuck with JCF
Prior to having lunch with Danhai Williams at an uptown eatery some years ago, a few burly men who were his bodyguards scouted the restaurant. Then he appeared. We also had a simple yet lavish fish lunch at Danhai Williams (right) and Karl Blythe at the PNP’s 66th annual conference at The Mico University College on February 5, 2005.
his Homestead Road office, along with some rough-looking young men who were more than his loyalists.
We met at Devon House one day while I was writing articles about Operation PRIDE and he was one of the main contractors cited. I gather that officers from the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) surreptitiously took pictures of us. They were probably trailing him and not me.
One day, while returning from the airport, I stopped at the traffic
light at the intersection of Mountain View Avenue and Old Hope Road. A windscreen washer appeared. I told him no, but he refused and pressed ahead. When I shouted to him, he threw a wall of dirty suds on the windscreen.
I told him a string of bad words as he flicked open a switchblade and came menacingly towards the car. Chupski touched the ‘up’ switch on the window as the light changed and I sped through. I felt violated and belittled in front of my lady.
The next day, I called Danhai Williams and told him about the incident because I knew he wielded significant influence on the ground in the east. He asked for details. A few days later, he called me and said, ‘Hey, Papa, if you pass dat way again, I don’t think yu going to run into that problem again.’
In 1999, in broad daylight, I was held up at the corner of Sunlight Street and Maxfield Avenue. I wrote about the incident and said that I had driven back to the spot in disguise and spotted the ring leader with the nasty scar on his face.
I received a call from the late ‘Jessie Hogg’. In his gravelly voice, he said he wished to see me. We met at his place as he broke out the Remy for me. I gave him details, and about a week later, he told me that my problem was solved. The fellow was unusually chastened.
There are troubling numbers of corrupt and deadly policemen inside the JCF to make us fear it, but also significant numbers of good and well-meaning members to make us want to save it. It is quite difficult to know who in the leadership ranks of the JCF are the genuine article and who are those which are using the Force for infernal reasons.
Every lawyer, judge, prosecutor, most JPs, all big businessmen and politicians know how the JCF is made up, and how it is interwoven in the carriage or miscarriage of justice. The man and woman at street level only know that they are screwed over every time.
The big businessman holds no romantic notions of justice being blind and noble in its pursuit. He is no fool and knows that justice costs money. He also knows that when it is needed, a powerful policeman, as an ally, costs money, too.
As I have stated before, power attracts power, and so big business, the criminal underworld, politics and the many facets of power within the justice system are never far from operating on the same page. Sometimes even the Church will wade in.
If National Security Minister Robert Montague wants to leave a legacy worth much more than words from a politician, he must, in this term, begin the process of reforming the JCF. It’s a difficult fix because the bad baby cannot be thrown out with the bath water.
There are men in the JCF who have taken it unto themselves to criminalise their professional status by using the force as a means to enrich themselves.
The youngsters at the bottom have seen it. One man emailed me to say his younger brother was, until five years ago, saying that he was going to stay in the JCF until he would be able to collect a pension.
Now, he is so unmotivated and just waiting on something better to crop up while working on his travel papers.
If significant numbers of people in this country still do not trust the JCF, and especially its hierarchy, to assist in the first part of the delivery of justice, then what we have staring us in the face is the acceptance that it is more than deeply flawed, even criminal in parts of it.
We ought not to fool ourselves that everything that policeman in the viral video said was fable. Many of us know that certain policemen planting guns on the poor is legion. Many shoot-outs are genuine, but so are more than a few just plain murder.
To pretend that all the cop said was worthy of dismissal is understandable. The broader fraternity is forced to defend even the worst inside it because it makes the whole fruit smell rotten.
A school principal may chide and discipline a teacher or sets of teachers. In the JCF, those to be chided and disciplined all have firearms and ammunition. Different rules. More effective alliances. Results may be deadly.
Iincredible production; incredibly talented people. It was a real joy to be there. When we arrived, we heard a few boos, and we heard some cheers. I nudged my kids and reminded them that that’s what freedom sounds like.”
Portia, pay attention. The hecklers at your Claremont meeting were the sound of freedom. You sounded like repression, fascism, and narcissism. If you don’t like the sound of freedom, Portia, it’s time to pack your bags and go.
Regarding (3) above: Once again, we have an express acknowledgement that there’s no distinction among issues that elect councillors and MPs. In fact, the PNP is saying here that in “carrying out activities and spending resources”, there should be “collaboration and transparency”.
So why are we wasting more than $2 billion ($1.3b by EOJ alone) of limited resources running this desperate distraction called local government elections? Already, we’ve pissed away $600 million on crash-programme work. WHY? Why not have one election with separate voting on the ballot for PM and MP? Thereafter, allow PM to pick a Cabinet from Jamaica’s best available talent, regardless of political affiliation. MPs could focus on representation of smaller constituencies, monitoring Government, and passing laws for Jamaica’s good governance.
Why the stubborn resistance to change? Is there a reason not spelt ‘C-O-R-R-UP-T-I-O-N’?
Peace and love.