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Supreme Court ruling clears way for police merger

Friday, May 02, 2014    

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THE way has been cleared for the merger of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and the Island Special Constabulary Force (ISCF) after the Supreme Court yesterday struck out an action brought by the ISCF Association for a judicial review.

The ISCF Association had taken issue with some of the conditions proposed for rank and file members of the organisation and challenged the merger on the ground that the move wasn't sanctioned by an act of Parliament.

The case was struck out, reportedly over a procedural breach relating to the filing of documents by the association. However, the Jamaica Observer was unable to get a comment from the association's legal team on its next move. Also, the cellphone of the association's head, Corporal Joel Betty, rang without answer.

Last month, the association obtained an injunction in the Supreme Court blocking the merger.

The association said it was concerned with how the authorities had gone about the process, which could hurt its members.

A letter over the signature of Police Commissioner Owen Ellington concerning their reassignment and transfer gave ISCF members five days, from April 7, to sign and return to the Police High Command.

It stated that "members transferred from the ISCF, who were promoted on or after November 1, 2013 will undergo a probationary period of six months from the date of that promotion, in accordance with Regulation 24(5) of the Police Service Regulations, 1961".

But the ISCF Association said this should not apply to them.

Following the filing of the legal action, Security Minister Peter Bunting expressed disillusionment over the move while speaking at a function in Portmore, St Catherine.

"I'm extremely disappointed, after working so long, after putting in place the mechanism, after taking on board all the concerns raised in meetings over a long time with the ISCF," Bunting said then.

Prior to the halt to the merger, the majority of the ISCF members had already signed the letters accepting the conditions of their incorporation into the JCF and had taken the relevant oath.

-- Paul Henry

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