SSP James Forbes is still my hero
The guilty verdict of Senior Superintendent of Police James Forbes on perverting the course of justice charges has been heartbreaking to many who yearn to have an abundance of trusted public officials.
While SSP Forbes still remains a man of dignity, and one who must be part of the reshaping of our beloved country, we must be careful not to promote the idea of persons too important to obey the rule of law. Any acquiescing to such fallacy will pave more avenues for the uninsightful and corrupt to be foisted into leadership.
After the legal processes have been settled, whether in Forbes' favour or against, the goodly law officer will have much reflection to do. And, a positive that must come out the fiasco is that members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), and men and women of goodwill in other sections of the society, can use this case to strengthen their capacity not to interfere with the law, even when you believe you have a good cause.
In 1998, during a presentation of the then security minister, K D Knight, in the Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives, I had an almost one-hour candid discussion with Forbes, covering many social issues. I left the Parliament that day confirming that he was no fake. What was seen of him, through the media, was the real
A decade later, I sat with him at the Lennon High School, in Clarendon, and on both occasions, he told me (at my asking) that he did not want to be commissioner of police. On the day at Lennon High I stood in awe as he convinced a number of final-year university students to join the JCF after they stated their wish not to be involved in what they saw as a polluted organisation.
Another occasion when I came to once again experience the man's sincere mission of making needed change in his country was the year 2012. A Manchester-based group that is engaged with the mentoring of young people had planned a Father's Day dinner. A very high-profile individual who had agreed to be the guest speaker pulled out at the last minute. A request went to James Forbes and, without hesitation, he consented, stating that once it had to do with young people or community safety the late notice was not important.
You remain my hero, SSP Forbes.
Garfield L Angus
Mandeville PO, Manchester