The Opposition's upbraid came by way of a press release following a statement by Montague noting that there is a real issue of police officers being overlooked for promotion that needs to be addressed.
The PNP warned Montague that “ministerial overreach” and “public disrespect” of the JCF Act and the police leadership cannot be tolerated and reminded the minister that the law specifically restricts his role in policy and prohibits him from interfering in operational matters which are the sole purview of the commissioner of police.
The Opposition Party said it considerd the minister's statement to be out of order in both tone and content.
“It disrespects the role of the Commissioner and is a scandalous attempt to interfere in the administrative affairs of the JCF, with particular reference to the promotions of its officers. The environment for effective crime-fighting in Jamaica must include respect for the rule of law and the roles of the leadership, and rank and file of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Police Service Commission,” the PNP said.
The Opposition said it believes that there is a range of matters now affecting police morale, including emoluments and the 2017/19 pay offer, the inclusion in the Zones of Special Operations Act of criminal penalties for breaches of the six-month resignation notice period, the poor conditions at some police stations, and the lack of operational resources, especially vehicles. These, the PNP suggested, would be proper policy issues for which ministerial attention would be welcomed.
The PNP also suggested that the police would welcome Montague giving his immediate attention to the replenishment of the Police Legal Fund, which supports police personnel who are accused in the line of duty with the long and costly process of defence in the courts.
In addition, the Opposition moved to remind the national security minister that the speedy implementation of the recommendations that come out of the Joint Select Committee's review of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) Act, including the establishment of an independent and reputable Board of Commissioners as part of the structure of INDECOM to ensure appropriate checks and balances in the execution of Indecom's powers of investigation and prosecution of members of the security forces, is another matter requiring his ministerial focus.
The party suggested that these were all urgent matters requiring ministerial attention while Commissioner of Police George Quallo deals with operational issues and the spiralling murder rate which continues to affect the country.
“Ministerial interference which ignores the law should not be countenanced, even while the party supports policemen getting their just promotions as dictated by relevant operational policies,” PNP said.
- Countries: Jamaica