JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding said the government will ensure that the Independent Investigative Authority that is being created to investigate abuse of citizens’ rights by members of the security forces will be properly resourced and held accountable. Mr. Golding said the intention behind the establishment of the Authority was to ensure that the investigation of alleged abuses will be done by an independent body and that those against whom allegations are made are speedily cleared or held responsible.
His remarks were made during a meeting with the executive of the Police Federation at Jamaica House on Tuesday (July 15), and came in response to concerns raised by the federation about the powers that will be granted to the Authority.
Mr. Golding said the Police Federation and the police force in general, should have an interest in ensuring that the conduct of the force commands respect and that there is a proper mechanism to examine alleged wrongdoings that will command public credibility.
“The police force in general should recognize that it has an investment in seeing to it that the conduct of the force commands respect, not because wrong things may not be done, but because if wrong things are done there is a proper mechanism that commands public credibility to examine those wrong things and to ensure that the appropriate steps are taken,” Mr. Golding said.
He said the authority would have no power to sanction or punish, but would be required to carry out its investigations and make its findings available to those who can exercise the power of sanction. He told the federation that it was a blot on everyone whenever someone does something outrageous and good officers within the force get tarnished. “If we are to build public confidence, it is important that the public feels that there is a rules-based system that says this is what you can do and this is what you ought not to do,” Mr. Golding said.
He urged the leadership of the Federation to make itself available to the Joint Select Committee so that it can voice its concerns and have them included in the committee’s report to Parliament. He gave the assurance that the government would not push through the legislation without giving due consideration to the concerns raised by the Federation and those of other groups within the society.
Minister of National Security, Colonel Trevor MacMillan, who was at the meeting, said more should be done by the police force to highlight the good work being done by police officers. “It is time for us to get that information out about the good things that are happening,” Colonel MacMillan said.
The Federation, led by Corporal Raymond Wilson, reiterated its commitment to work with the leadership of the Jamaica Constabulary Force to eliminate corruption from among its ranks as it too has an interest in how it is viewed by members of the public.
Also attending the meeting was the Commissioner of Police, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin; the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security, Gilbert Scott and the Permanent Secretary in the Office of the Prime Minister, Mrs. Patricia McCalla-Sinclair.

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