Now that a simple release of the information has addressed the vexing issue of the police commissioner’s salary, it begs another question.
What exactly are the reasons that these kinds of information are not available to the public through codified laws?
Other questions include the power given to the Office of the Service Commission (OCS) to decide outside the people’s say-so, whether the information is released to the public.
On its face, it appears that we are not a country of laws but one in which the taxpayers are mere serfs; the lumpen that produces the resources through their hard work, but which gets no say in the decision-making.
The Salaries of the Commissioner of Police, other Senior Officers of the JCF, and other public servants, should not be a secret. If not for the amount they are paid, (of course, the public previously had no idea how much), but for accountability and measurability. The secrecy around those contract details and the reluctance to release those details to the tax-paying public were not hallmarks of a democratic society.
Jamaicans have always needed to know just how much the nation’s top security officials are being paid, and correctly so. Even when not formally educated, the people are fully educated in their understanding of the need for accountability on this all-important issue of national security.
Jamaicans, even the least formally educated, understand the cost of violent crime, the trauma it produces to families and victims who are left behind to pick up the pieces. This is so, even though not everyone may fully appreciate the economic and societal cost crime imposes on the nation.
Consequently, the job performance of the Commissioner of police has always been tied to the crime statistics; in fact, every single Commissioner of Police has been hired and fired solely based on the crime statistics. This is not a novel concept, it is the metric used across the board even in developed societies. What else is there?
Since commissioner Antony Anderson was hired the nation has been kept in the dark about the terms of his contract. This is certainly not Anderson’s fault, it goes to a lack of laws and accountability.
But at the end of Anderon’s first contract period and the beginning of another, it cannot be that a small bunch of elites alone gets to decide whether Anderson did a good job, or gets to change the metric of measurement previously used to decide success and failure, we do not live in a dictatorship.
It is hardly the amount that the Commissioner is paid. The $18 million pay package is hardly a blockbuster salary, (if the number given is correct); you can never trust what they tell you in Jamaica; it has to be about his performance.
It is the barometer that all servants of the public are measured by. Performance is what private-sector employees are measured by; it is what governmental administrations are measured by.
The shocking reality is that we are now being told that Antony Anderson should not be judged by the same standards that others before him were, but we should not worry about the number of dead bodies; we should focus on other things that they in their infinite wisdom decree as performance indicators.
Local media reported that Gordon Shirley, who heads the service commission, says that the commission has monthly meetings with the police commissioner that deal with the force’s performance and Anderson’s own role.
Professor Gordon Shirley is a former head of the University of the West Indies UWI). Another so-called security expert[sic] Professor Anthony Clayton, you guessed it .….. from the UWI chimed in that quote; “The gravity of the crime problem, linked to issues such as poor parenting and socio-economic and political factors, means commissioners like Anderson face an uphill task and could justify even more pay for the former national security advisor.”
So true, but what about accountability? No mention of the crime statistics but a case for even better pay for Anderson.
Why were the former members who slaved their entire adult lives in the JCF not given the same deference and understanding?
According to the Gleaner, Howard Mitchell, who was among the critics of the OSC’s decision to initially block access to the contract, and Rear Admiral Lewin supported the principle of disclosure but cautioned against revealing the performance targets. “Targets are going to be a sliding thing. You’ve got to appreciate that circumstances and conditions change, and those things can have an effect on targets,” Lewin said, adding that he did not recall negotiating his terms of reference with the permanent secretary during his tenure. “One has to be realistic and careful about targets. I know what people will immediately think about is the number of murders and shootings. You don’t want to get into a position that the first thing you try to do is create different squads because you are being pushed. It’s not just a question of statistics,” said the former commissioner.
“It is not a question of statistics”? What is it about? Dead bodies do not count?
The sad reality is that Antony Anderson has friends in high places, something many of the former top cops did not have, even though they may have attended the same putrid pool of intellectual dishonesty.
His friends are now asking the Jamaican people to ignore the sole metric that defines performance and focus instead on a non-distinguishable metric defined by them.
The gall of such a theory is stunning in its capriciousness. In a recent report on his tenure, the Gleaner reports that Anderson noted murder reductions in communities where SOEs were declared, the arrest of 167 gangsters, and a clear-up rate (when the police charge a suspect), moving from 39 percent in 2019 to 53 percent in 2020.
To a former member like this writer, using the clear-up rate as a performance marker for the commissioner is the equivalence of a drowning man clutching at straws. If the clear-up rate is to define anyone’s success it ought to go to the detectives and other officers who remove violent criminals from the streets, not the CP.
The truth is that using the stats from areas where SOEs were declared is deceptive and dishonest. Crime does go down in areas in which SOEs are declared, but they spike in other areas as crime producers move to other turfs.
Never before has a police commissioner been judged because crime went down in a single area. The Police commissioner is head of security for the entire country, not for areas in which SOEs are declared.
This attempt to distort the narrative on Anderson’s behalf is almost laughable in its weakness.
Absent from these discussions are the views of the career officers who have come up through the ranks, past and present.
We now have a police force that is fully controlled by the views of leftist elites from the University of the West Indies.
Success is what they say it is; ignore the dead bodies.
Mike Beckles is a former Police Detective, businessman, freelance writer, black achiever honoree, and creator of the blog mikebeckles.com.