Police Feud - Federation boots boss after two days of crossfire
Arlene McBean, the vocal police corporal who became the first female chairman of the 75-year-old Police Federation, has been sacked from the post, sending ripples throughout the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
McBean was removed by the executive of the federation, the union for rank-and-file police, following a no-confidence motion.
The decision came after two days of an extraordinary meeting with delegates of the body between Monday and Tuesday. A circular from the Police Federation obtained by The Gleaner said the body deliberated on “internal matters” during “frank, factual and clear discussions on the state of the Police Federation”.
“At the end of these deliberations, we agreed to restructure the leadership if the Police Federation,” the circular went on to say.
Several police sources have confirmed the development with The Gleaner, though they mentioned that they were unaware of the internal issues that triggered McBean’s dramatic exit.
Last year, McBean was involved in a major stand-off with the Government over police wages, oftentimes using confrontational language to express her frustration over negotiations.
A settlement was eventually reached, though details of the package have not been disclosed.
As a result of McBean’s sacking, the general secretary of the federation, Inspector Sheldon Gordon, has become the new chairman. The federation’s former legal affairs director, Sergeant Patrae Rowe, was elected general secretary to fill the vacancy left by Gordon.
Gordon was mum on his elevation. Efforts to reach McBean yesterday were unsuccessful.
However, an influential figure with ties to the federation describes as worrying the sacking of McBean.
“It is deeply troubling to me to be hearing what I have heard and what went on. I don’t think it is a good approach, considering all things, and it leaves the federation on shaky ground.
“Are we going to go into a phase of takeovers and pushouts?” he questioned.
Gordon, according to a profile published on the federation’s website, was enlisted in the Jamaica Constabulary Force on November 6, 1996.
He has served at St Andrew South, Police Control (now Police Emergency), St Andrew North, and temporarily at the Inspectorate of Constabulary.
Gordon holds a master’s degree in government and a bachelor’s in public-sector management.