'Much ado about nothing'

Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

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THE furore over the appointment of a former Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) staff sergeant to the position of Assistant Superintendent of Police in the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) is much ado about nothing, a source close to the matter has said.

A voice note making the rounds on messaging platform WhatsApp suggests that scores of rank-and-file officers are incensed about the appointment, which was published in the JCF's March 7 Force Orders.

The member is ASP Joel Hamilton.

“As me a tell somebody, this man was in the JDF as a private. Him leave JDF, him nuh get corporal, him nuh get sergeant, him nuh get sergeant major. Him come join the work (JCF) and could only join as a DC (district constable); him can't even join as a regular. He's the commissioner's driver and dem see it fit to promote this DC to the gazetted rank — no exam, nothing. Now they are telling you and me that we cannot get promoted without exam; it's not hard work does it.

“There are many of us in this work for how much years. We've given blood, sweat and tears to this organisation and this is what they are doing to us. Now you tell me, even a constable who do all 10 years and who hard-working, because it's not all of we who have the book knowledge, but we know the police work, we decent, we law-abiding, and we do what we supposed to do, and this is what you doing me?” a police officer said in the voice note.

He went on to add that he would present himself for the next opening of an officer rank in the JCF.

The gazetted police orders outlined that the appointment was made by the governor general, acting on the advice of the Police Service Commission.

It took effect on January 19.

“He was appointed DC to enable him to access the force's resources in the execution of his duties. He was on secondment from the JDF, but has served as head of the commissioner's security detail for about six years. This appointment is not unusual. We didn't break any protocol. There are systems in place to allow for the appointment to happen,” the source told the Jamaica Observer yesterday.

The Observer contacted the Jamaica Police Federation's General Secretary Patrae Rowe for a comment, but was told he was in a meeting and would respond as soon as it ended.

Up to press time yesterday that meeting was still under way.

When contacted yesterday, head of the police Corporate Communications Unit (CCU) Deputy Superintendent Dahlia Garrick also said that the appointment was not unusual.

“The thing about him being promoted from district constable to ASP is incorrect. He has been the head of the commissioner's security detail and whilst in the JDF he was a staff sergeant, which is an equivalent to an inspector in the JCF. This is not a rank you are promoted into, so, for example, an inspector in the JCF would be promoted to a deputy superintendent. So his appointment to the rank (of ASP) is very much normal and in keeping with the policies of the Jamaica Constabulary Force,” Garrick stated.

She confirmed that Hamilton was a district constable while on secondment from the JDF, but is now fully part of the JCF with the recent appointment.

Garrick said there has been a lot of miscommunication because of the voice note being circulated.

“He is the head of the commissioner's security detail and it's not unusual for certain persons to have a detail headed by a gazetted officer. So none of this is outside the norm of the JCF,” she said.

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