THIS newspaper joins with others in congratulating Dr Carl McKay Williams on his appointment as the 28th commissioner of police, replacing Mr Owen Ellington who took early retirement.
Dr Williams, a career police officer with over 30 years of service, takes over a police force that is seemingly steeped in corruption, reeling from accusations of human rights abuses, and an organisation which has, for all intents and purposes, totally lost contact with the Jamaican people. There are too many ills besetting our police force, some of which require straight surgery with several scalpels rather than band-aid treatment.
Dr Williams must, once and for all, stand strong with the backing of his senior officers, the Police Officers’ Association, and the Police Federation, in a concerted effort to bury the ‘right’ and ‘left’ imbedded culture of the over 14,000-strong organisation.
It can be rightly said that the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) lacks resources, both personnel and equipment. We understand and appreciate this, but what we cannot appreciate or deal with is the often callous, rude and sometimes downright stink manner in which some police personnel deal with the citizens of the country.
While there is no doubt that Dr Williams’ credentials are impeccable for the job — having served in various capacities, including a stint as head of the Narcotics Division where he received much acclaim for the quality of his work, especially from overseas partners — his first task as commissioner must be to establish robust communication with the people to get their support in the important matter of solving our crime woes. After all, every member of the Force, including the top cop, took an oath to serve, protect and reassure.
So we applaud the appointment of Dr Williams as commissioner of police, the first man to hold a doctorate as head of the Force, but we are bemused by the manner in which the appointment was made public. A news release came from the office of the Minister of National Security, with Minister Peter Bunting announcing Mr Williams’ appointment after being formally advised by the Police Service Commission (PSC) and subsequently briefing the prime minister and Cabinet. What concerns us is that the PSC is a part of the Office of the Services Commission and not a politically driven entity. The announcement should have been made by the PSC or the governor general, who has to give the final seal of approval on the recommendation provided by the PSC.
The formal announcement should not be made by a political person, be it the minister or otherwise, as the coveted office of commissioner of police is not and and should never be tainted in any way by politics or politicians. We have seen too often in the past where the influence of politicians in the running of the JCF has led to favouritism and a breakdown of efficiency.
Notwithstanding, we will give our full support to the new Commissioner of Police Dr Carl McKay Williams. /