PM Says Crime Talks have to be Stepped Up


Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding has indicated that the Government intends to speed up discussions with the Opposition on transforming the police force.
Mr. Golding told the House of Representatives on Tuesday (November 3) that, while preliminary discussions have been held between the Government and the Opposition regarding more far-reaching measures to transform the police force, these discussions have not progressed as speedily as the Government had hoped.
“And it is we, not the Opposition that must take responsibility for this. It is important that these discussions be advanced quickly, especially in view of the emerging views as to the direction in which the transformation of policing in Jamaica needs to go,” Mr. Golding said as he updated Parliament on the resignation of Police Commissoner, Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin.
Turning to Commissioner Lewin, Mr. Golding said that while no Commissioner of Police can be blamed for the crime plaguing Jamaica, ultimately, it is the Commissioner’s responsibility to lead and organise the force.
“It is the job of the Commissioner to mobilize the police force and all the resources at his command to bring the level of crime within tolerable limits,” he explained.
He said that while Commissioner Lewin took “significant steps” to stamp out corruption within the Force, and must be commended, much more is left to be done and whoever succeeds him must continue the process “vigorously and relentlessly.”
Mr. Golding also related that he met with Commissioner Lewin on Friday (October 23), at the Commissioner’s request of the same date, reiterated his concerns and expressed the view that the police needed to be more assertive and proactive in its operations.
“We discussed the challenges posed by the itinerant nature of many of the crimes, especially murder, that were being committed and he assured me that within the next few days I would see an intensification of crime fighting activities,” Mr. Golding reported.
“He expressed the desire for himself and myself to have more frequent discussions, and said that he had to accept the blame for not seeking to meet with me outside of the formal National Security Council meetings more often. I assured him that whenever he so required, I would be available,” he added.
However, the Prime Minister said that he was advised by the chairman of the Police Service Commission, Professor Gordon Shirley, on Sunday that the Commissioner had tendered his resignation which was accepted by the Commission. The date of the resignation letter was October 20, three days before the Commissioner had the meeting with Mr. Golding.
“It is the responsibility of the Commission to select a new Commissioner. The Commission has advised me that the post will be advertised and applicants will be interviewed and investigated, before a recommendation is made to the Governor-General,” the Prime Minister said.
In a release Tuesday, the Commission said that Deputy Commissioner Owen Ellington had been appointed to act as Commissioner until a decision is made.

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