Court orders Police Federation chairman reinstated

Observer staff reporter

Saturday, March 16, 2019

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AN excited Corporal Arleen McBean, who was victorious in her fight to be reinstated as chairman of the Jamaica Police Federation, yesterday hailed the court victory as a win for rank and file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force.

“I will not say that I won the battle; it's the rank and file members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force who have won the battle, not Arleen McBean,” she told the Jamaica Observer yesterday outside the Supreme Court on King Street in downtown Kingston.

Even though she was booted from the chair in January, McBean, who is the first woman to be elected as chairman of the federation, made it clear that there is no bad blood between her and the other members of the federation executive.

“...When you are purpose-driven and there is a mandate to be fulfilled on the behalf of the rank and file members you have to put internal differences aside, because they are depending on [you] as this an elected position, not an appointment,” McBean said.

With little less than two months left under her leadership as chiar of the federation, McBean said: “I will continue to be that genuine representative at heart and nothing has changed. The court has made its decision, and we will move forward for the greater good [of the constabulary force],” she added.

Days after she was ousted, the police corporal and her attorney, Hugh Wildman, brought an ex parte notice of application for a mandatory injunction in the Supreme Court seeking to have the corporal returned as chairman.

In the affidavit, which listed the newly elected chairman, Inspector Sheldon Gordon; newly elected general secretary, Sergeant Patrae Rowe; and the Police Federation as first, second and third respondents, respectively, Corporal McBean alleged that she was unconstitutionally removed from her post in January.

McBean noted she was elected last May to serve as chairman for a year under provisions provided in the Jamaican Constabulary Force Act. However, she alleged that Gordon, who was then general secretary, and Rowe, who was then the director of legal affairs, both arranged for a meeting to be convened in which Gordon assumed the role of chairman and caused a motion to be moved in which she lost her position as chairman.

She further alleged that Gordon caused a second motion to be move which resulted in Sergeant Rowe being appointed the general secretary.

Corporal McBean further contended that the appointment of both Police Federation executives should be considered “illegal, null and void”.

Last month, Sergeant Rowe, who was surprised by the legal challenge, told the Jamaica Observer that the executive members of the federation had lost confidence in McBean's leadership.

However, Wildman told the Observer yesterday that he believes his client was removed because she was of a lower rank than those on the executive.

“Anything that the seniors say or do goes, with she being a corporal they of a higher rank. I think they resent her being the chairman; giving these men instructions or they taking orders from her. That is one view I share. Secondly, I think the male ego is at work here, because it is the first time a female is being elected to this post and I think they resent a female, especially a lower-rank female, given them orders,” Wildman said.

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