People's National Party Women's Movement President Patricia Duncan Sutherland is calling on the police and prosecutors to bring their strongest game in the wake of murder charges being laid against Constable Noel Maitland in the disappearance of his 23-year-old girlfriend Donna-Lee Donaldson.
At the same time, Duncan Sutherland is urging that anyone else involved in the saga be brought to book swiftly, stating that she hopes they will not be other cops as the constabulary's image has already taken a beating in the case.
"It seems the police are making good progress that they have been able to charge. We hope that as they are putting together their case file that the Director of Public Prosecutions will be able to do justice to the case and that justice will be served quickly as well because justice delayed is justice denied," Duncan Sutherland told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.
Duncan Sutherland said, while other cases were of similar import, this was "an example because it involves a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force".
"We need to be able to trust our police if we are going to curb this monster called crime. With respect to the others involved, I hope that they are able to make headway as well, and I hope it is not additional members of the constabulary because that would not work well for us, but if it is, that they will be brought to justice. It doesn't make it any easier for the family but at least it gives relief that she will not just be a statistic," Duncan Sutherland said.
She was speaking to the newspaper following an announcement by the police high command that Maitland was on Tuesday formally charged with murder in the case of the social media influencer who was reported missing on July 13 after she did not return from a visit to Maitland's home on the night of July 11.
According to Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Fitz Bailey, who heads the constabulary's crime and security portfolio, the formal charge followed 20 days of diligent and comprehensive investigation by detectives in what began as a missing person investigation.
He said, given the evidence that was being collected, the matter subsequently became a murder probe. According to Bailey, while a body has not been recovered, the police believe that Donaldson is no longer alive, based on their investigations, which are indicating that she was killed on the afternoon of Tuesday, July 12.
Bailey said the police, in a bid to unearth her remains, have gone on several search operations, including to the Riverton City Landfill in the Corporate Area, but have come up empty-handed.
In the meantime, DCP Bailey said investigations were ongoing as the police believe Maitland "got assistance after the fact".
"We believe that after Miss Donaldson was killed, he got assistance in the disposal of her body," the top cop said.
Since Donaldson's disappearance was publicised several public protests have been organised by her family and her followers, who demanded that someone be held accountable.
Meanwhile, Duncan Sutherland used Donaldson's case to make an appeal for information in the case of accountant/teacher Chantel Blake-McCalla, whose skeletal remains were found in St Catherine in May after she had vanished on January 6 this year.
Blake-McCalla, 26, was last seen in the company of her husband, Shane, a businessman who the police say has since fled the island.
Last weekend the police confirmed that DNA results had shown that the remains were of the missing woman.
Said Duncan Sutherland, "Her remains were found, and I don't know what headway they have been making with that investigation, but anybody who knows anything I am encouraging them to come forward and let the police know so it can help with their investigations."
"I am hoping that Chantal's case does not grow cold now that they have a body. I really want us to expand the general conversation because femicides as a result of domestic disputes have been on the rise. Generally we have a problem with domestic violence and relationships between men and women. I am continuing the call for an army of social workers to help us with our problem of choosing violence as our first response," she said.
Added Duncan Sutherland, "We let go some peace doves [on Monday, August 1, Emancipation Day], it is symbolic, but we need to put action behind that. If we want to end violence, it will not happen by chance."