Full Investigation Requested and Report on Attack on JCF Parish Commander at St. Thomas PC Meeting – Derrick Smith

Release Date: 
Thursday, January 15, 2015 - 15:00

Opposition spokesman on national security, Derrick Smith, is urging the Minister of National Security to initiate an investigation into the treatment of the Jamaica Constabulary Force’s (JCF) acting commander for St. Thomas, Deputy Superintendent Charmin Shand, at the monthly meeting of the St. Thomas Parish Council on January 8, 2015.

In a statement today, Mr. Smith said that he was surprised at the disgraceful behaviour of the People’s National Party (PNP) Councillors, led by the Councillor for the Yallahs division, Constantine Bogle, whom he accused of the most “outrageous behaviour” he has seen from any elected representative during a meeting of a democratically elected seat of governance since the 1970s.

Mr. Smith observed that the action of the Councillors was in breach of the constitutional rights of police officers who attend these meetings as representatives of the JCF, as well as a clear breach of DSP Shand’s human and civil rights for her to be treated that way at a public meeting covered by the media and open to members of the public.

He said that a “dangerous precedence” is being set by this occurrence, as well as another instance of misbehaviour, whether at Council Meetings or other public engagements, by Mayors and Councillors representing the ruling PNP, which seems to be the norm these days.

“Not since the 1970s have I seen this kind of behaviour by elected public officials in an environment like this. This kind of attack on a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force at an event like a monthly meeting of a Parish Council must be condemned by the minister, the council and the PNP. The behaviour of the Councillors was most despicable,” Mr. Smtih said.

He added that the situation may have grown beyond those proportions since the media exposed the issue, as he has confirmed that Inspector Bertram Reynolds, the officer who arrested PNP Councillor Rohan “Washy” Bryan triggering the controversy, has since been transferred to a post in Kingston.

Mr. Smith went on to note that he has no information as to why Inspector Reynolds has been transferred in the midst of the crisis, but said that it raises a concern as to whether there has been political interference or interference from a higher level of the JCF.

He said that. in the circumstances, nothing less than a full investigation into the entire matter is acceptable, and the Opposition is warning the minister that unless there is agreement for a full investigation followed by a full report to be tabled by him in Parliament, as well as an undertaking that whatever response is necessary from the Ministry Local Government and Community Development will be taken, he will consider appropriate options on the matter.

“If we are going to require the police to perform duties, such as representing the JCF at meetings such as the monthly meeting of the Parish Councils and other similar public bodies, then a precedence must be set in terms of how these officers are to be treated when they perform these duties,” Mr. Smith said. He also urged the leadership of the People’s National Party (PNP) to support his call for an investigation and a report to guide whatever action it should take in these circumstances, now and in the future.

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