Tuesday, 19 December 2017

UNDER THE LAW: Three noted social commentators put the spotlight on recent police action – and the bigger picture

TIME OUT: Members of the force recently took industrial action over a long-simmering wage dispute.

> ‘FISH OR FOWL’? Dr. Orville Taylor weighs in on the recent JCF strike 
“Taking industrial action in the public service is risky business, unless one has lots of clout. Still, we must understand that there is no right to strike… What obtains is a ‘freedom to strike’, which essentially means that the worker can drop arms without triggering an arrest or other action in law… Nevertheless, Government must, once and for all, make a determination as to whether police officers are fish or fowl. They are not soldiers. Thus, they are bound by different norms and are motivated differently. They are subject to civilian laws and are civilians who do not keep their titles or privileges when they retire. Like other workers, they are subject to the same rules or motivation and respond to ‘decent work.’ 

> POWER STRUCTURE: Martin Henry calls for stronger police presence in public spaces 
“The security forces by simply being there need to take back the towns and streets of Jamaica, the public spaces which the public authority controls. There is a psychology to crime and lawlessness that is very well known. People will push the limits and do what they can get away with without being apprehended. Our security forces, with full respect for human rights, on a day to be announced, must move to take control of the town centres and commercial hubs and transport centres of our major townships by sheer presence. Almost as a military operation. They must control with presence the known urban crime hot-spots. I strongly supported ZOSO on the assumption that this was its intention.” 

> THE RECKONING: Gordon Robinson explains his objection to PM Holness’ Tivoli apology 
“Why did 70-plus people have to die at the hands of our security forces? Why is our prime minister apologizing to the security forces? Security forces elected to storm the barricades as a first option and to engage the gunmen. Why apologize to them? Is the government admitting that either it controlled and directed the gunmen, or it unlawfully interfered with the chain of command and ordered an incursion as a first option? It seems to me that those would be the only reasons for an apology, allegedly offered because of the [commission of enquiry]’s findings – but actually being offered in direct contradiction of those findings.”

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