Fitz Jackson slams the introduction of green-coloured police bikes
Chairman of the Opposition People’s National Party (PNP) and Shadow Spokesman on National Security, Fitz Jackson, has accused the Government of politicising the operations of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) with the procurement of green motorbikes for use by cops locally.
“Jamaicans must be concerned about the blatant attempt to politically brand the police force by the 'greening' of the supplies, which is inconsistent with the established colours of the JCF,” said Jackson.
He said the latest acquisition of motorbikes and supportive accessories for the JCF was a positive development. However, Jackson said the PNP “objects strongly to the introduction of these green bikes in the fight against crime”. He warned that their presence would immediately compromise the neutrality and impartiality of the force.
Jackson disclosed that he has communicated the Opposition’s disapproval to the Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, and emphasised to him that the branded green bikes could transmit the appearance of a police service being complicit with partisan politics in the eyes of the public.
“We are calling for the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and civil society to lend their voices on the issue to ensure that the JCF’s appearance as a neutral and impartial organisation is not compromised in any way in our crime-fighting efforts,” Jackson said.
He insisted that the PNP will not accept these “green bikes” in the fight against crime, especially because the country has had a long history of accusations of politically-motivated killings, dating back to the days of the notorious Eradication Squad, which has since been disbanded.
The so-called and infamous Eradication Squad of the 1980s drove fear into young men in areas like Waterhouse, Riverton City, Olympic Gardens and surrounding communities, and the squad was accused of extrajudicial killings.
The squad was known to often travel with a hearse in tow as its members descended on mostly inner-city communities and openly intimidated residents.
The squad was ultimately disbanded by the late 1980s.
Meanwhile, Jackson said he has rejected the explanation from Chang that the colour for the bikes was determined by the JCF for ‘high-visibility’ reasons. Jackson said there are many other colours which could have given the police high visibility and at the same time maintain the neutrality of the JCF.
“This is nothing but a flagrant attempt to politicise the operations of the JCF with the introduction of green bikes, which is the political colour of the ruling Jamaica Labour Party. This kind of irresponsible ploy does not fit in our bipartisan efforts to resolve the high crime rates that have beset the country for decades, with last year’s data being the highest since the data collection era began,” Jackson stated.
He noted that the JCF has long-standing colours for uniforms, cars and bikes.
“We urge the authorities to remain consistent with those colours,” Jackson said.