Editorial

If top cop post is put to a vote, Mr Reneto Adams would win

Thursday, February 22, 2018

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In mid-January, a little known organisation calling itself Change.org launched a petition for the job of police commissioner to go to Mr Reneto Adams, the former senior superintendent of police.

Two weeks into the petition, we heard that it had garnered 3,860 signatures out of a target of 5,000 signatures. Since then we have not heard anything further.

We are willing to bet that a properly run signature campaign, akin to that for the Cockpit Country mounted by the environmental lobby headed by the Jamaica Environment Trust — using the portal of the Prime Minister's Office — would result in an overwhelming number of supporting signatures for Mr Adams.

Moreover, we are convinced that, if like the Americans who vote for their sheriff, Jamaica were to put the top cop position to a popular vote, instead of leaving it in the hands of a few people as we currently do, Mr Adams would win should he be among the candidates.

The enduring popularity of Mr Adams, even after all the battering his name has taken, is explained by his fearless and no-nonsense approach to fighting crime, especially our vicious gunmen who think nothing of mowing down innocent children and old women.

We have argued in this space for social intervention in deprived communities as the long term solution to crime. But we would be foolish not to see that much of the wanton killings have nothing to do with social conditions and poverty as some are wont to believe.

In the recent cases of a three-year-old girl killed in the company of her father and a seven-year-old boy in the presence of his stepfather, with both men being spared, it is unlikely that the gunmen hands “lean”, so they were not shooting straight. It is more a case of sending a painful message.

Dealing with such abominable creatures does not call for social intervention. It calls for tough policing of the kind offered by men and women like Mr Reneto Adams. In any event, the two approaches are not mutually exclusive.

While he was on the front line, Mr Adams, as head of the then Crime Management Unit, was accused of extra-judicial killings, with no evidence to back up such claims. Not even acquittal by the court could stop his detractors from dragging his name through the mud.

The main qualification for police commissioner need not be about academics. Dr Carl Williams proved that. It need not be about military training. Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin proved that. Men do not follow titles; they follow courage.

The police high command has space for highly qualified administrators who can run the day-to-day affairs of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, while a brave, lionhearted cop who enjoys the support of his men and women, and the country, relentlessly pursues what is really a small band of scumbags from one end of Jamaica to the next.

In our desperate search for answers to the runaway murder rate, we might wish to consider putting in place measures to vote for a police commissioner.

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