Sat | Apr 13, 2024

Letter of the Day | JCF rank and file deserves better

Published:Monday | March 27, 2023 | 12:11 AM

THE EDITOR, Madam:

The Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has many officers who can compete in any field. The office I lead is assigned some of the brightest and most highly qualified young officers I have ever met. The constabulary’s social media and work in corporate communication is the envy of many corporate entities and police force in the region. The number of attorneys-at-law in the force is enough occupy the full guest list of a legal conference. Anecdotally, I believe the tertiary qualification percentage in the force is about 60 per cent. We are self-sufficient at undertaking some of the most difficult and technical tasks. We are a most qualified force.

Apparently, this transformation is slow to find root in representation. The Police Federation appears stubborn in embracing the modern realities of our force. I hold the view that a representative group has to be a subset of the people they represent.

Too many people believe that obnoxious speeches and loud and divisive rhetoric should define the fight for welfare and benefits. The powers ascribed by the JCF demand greater from representatives of the police. A key role of the federation is representing on matters of force efficiency, as outlined at Section 67 of the Constabulary Force Act. The recently concluded compensation review deliberations were everything but efficient. Members of the rank and file have been left shaken by the clumsiness of the communication and other key areas of this critical assignment.

It is high time for rank and file to call upon its best human resources to aid in a most critical journey. As a force, we continue to pursue major transformational initiative that will be best served by our strongest federation since 1944. As we approach our 80th year in representation for the sake of the rank and file, I hope the federation will redefine itself.

A misguided criticism of the high command is that over the years, the strongest representatives within the federation were promoted, with a plan to silence them. While I agree that a number of former federation members served, and are servicing, the senior rank with distinction, I posit that this is a call to higher service. The central executive, which is just one arm of the federation, has been a filter for talent into the officer corps. Proficiency at this level is the greatest test for any rank and file member who wishes to contribute at a higher level. These positions should therefore be reserved for our finest.

It is in the best interest of the force for leadership at all levels to be sober, conciliatory, efficient and effective. A very important lesson is that members of the force take their cue from their leaders. Our members’ behaviour will model the standards created by the people who lead.

We are a qualified force for good!

PATRAE ROWE

Former Chairman

Jamaica Police Federation