Stop bashing police and praising criminals, Cameron pleads

Stop bashing police and praising criminals, Cameron pleads

Supt Clunis hailed as true professional during thanksgiving service

BY KIMBERLEY HIBBERT
Senior staff reporter
hibbertk@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, August 09, 2020

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CHAIRMAN of the Police Officer's Association (POA), Senior Superintendent (SSP) Wayne Cameron, is appealing to law-abiding citizens to repel the trend of speaking ill of police officers and emboldening criminals when they launch attacks on law enforcement officials.

SSP Cameron, who was speaking yesterday at the thanksgiving service to mark the life of the late Superintendent Leon Clunis, held at the Kingston Open Bible Church on Washington Boulevard, said the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has suffered years of abuse by its own people and the time has come to put an end to the practice.

“If you want to be a popular deejay, chant some lyrics against the police. If you want to be a popular talk show host, ride on the back of the police. If you want to be a popular minister, speak ill of the police. Every demeaning adjective one can think of has been used to describe the police. The attacks have now moved from verbal to physical where we have lost three police officers in one instance,” SSP Cameron said. “One person tweeted lauding the gunman for taking a few police souls with him, an indication of the kinds of criminals we are confronted with on a daily basis. But this ends today... your police officers are the line of defence between you and hardened criminals. Unprovoked attacks on State authority serves only to embolden criminals and undermine the functions of the police.”

Superintendent Clunis led the fatal police operation in Horizon Park on June 12, which also claimed the lives of Detective Corporal Dane Biggs and Constable Decardo Hylton. Clunis was injured in the attack and later died on June 30.

The POA chairman also called for credence to be given to negotiations for a hazard or risk allowance for officers who serve in divisions that are violent, highlighting Westmorland and St James; Clarendon; Kingston Western, St Andrew South and St Catherine North —where Superintendent Clunis, Detective Corporal Biggs and Constable Hylton were murdered. SSP Cameron also called for attention to be given to the pension and benefits leading up to retirement of police officers, in order to afford them a dignified retirement.

Moreover, Rock River, St Mary-born Clunis was remembered as an exemplar of a purpose-driven life, and a true and fearless crime-fighter who led from the front.

“Long before the tag line 'A Force For Good' became fashionable, Sir Clunis dedicated his life's work to giving the JCF a fighting chance to be respected by the Jamaican people. He pursued corrupt police officers and corruption in law and high places. He was not lazy, he was hard-working and led from the front,” said Detective Sergeant Patrae Rowe, chairman of the Police Federation.

Director of Public Prosecutions Paula Llewellyn said Clunis was a man who engaged prosecutors and always referenced and distinguished the law in his line of duties, particularly when he was posted at detentions and courts. During his time with the anti-corruption branch, Llewellyn said, in his zeal to fight corruption, she recognised from early his exemplary qualities and 100 per cent dedication to the job, regardless of the assignment.

“Not only was he conscientious, but principled and no nonsense..he was not afraid to rock the boat and he believed in leading from the front. He is not going to sit at a desk and view his subordinates going out,” Llewellyn said. “When I saw him at detentions and courts, I said 'Clunis, is what you doing here? You're an operations man' and he said, 'Miss Llewellyn, wherever I am bound, I serve'.”

Senator Matthew Samuda, minister without portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, in his address, said apart from Clunis' tireless contribution to national security, he would be missed for his involvement in research targeting rehabilitation activities for children in the juvenile correctional centres.

“We understand some children in the juvenile centres are only there for misdemeanours, but the treatment should never be that we lock them up and throw away the keys. Superintendent Clunis recognised the importance to rehabilitate and transform these children and I applaud him for his work with Professor Anthony Clayton in their efforts,” Samuda said.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Clifford Blake, in the eulogy, remembered SP Clunis as a commander who cared about his staff and undertook special assignments and dangerous missions,which most of his colleagues never dreamed of leading.

DCP Blake referenced SP Clunis' career from a beat and foot officer, to the Bureau of Special Investigations, the anti-corruption branch, where he earned his reputation as a czar in the fight against corruption; Mobile Reserve; Office of the Commissioner of Police; the Lottery Scam Task Force; operations officer for St Catherine South; his posting at detentions and courts and his final transfer to the St Catherine state of emergency.

As part of the Jamaica 60 celebrations in 2022, Minister of Culture, Gender and Entertainment Olivia “Babsy” Grange announced that Cabinet has given approval for a monument to be erected at the National Heroes' Park to honour police personnel killed in the line of duty.

SP Clunis, Biggs, Hylton and District Constable Lothan Richards will be honoured on National Heroes' Day with the medal of honour for gallantry. SP Clunis is survived by his wife Tricia, three children— Hannah-Kay, Dejaun and Danielle; mother Enid, and 12 siblings.


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