Remarkably whenever the issue of corruption comes up for debate in Jamaica the conversation automatically defaults to the police.
One would have to divest one’s self of reality to fall into the trap both political parties created in our country, in order to believe that the police department is the ground zero of corruption on the Island.
As opposed to the reality that the two political parties appear to be populated with thieves, liars and allegedly even those who pay to have other Jamaicans murdered.
Every rational person knows that feces do not flow upstream.
This is the reason why comments attributed to Zachery Phillips, the deputy chief assistant US attorney for the District of Colorado are spot on.
Phillips who is assigned to the Organised Crime Drug Task Force, recently addressed an Anti-Corruption Round-table organised by the US Embassy and the University of the West Indies’ Department of Government.
Asked about Police corruption on the Island by local media, Phillips a former cop and now attorney said “Our society as a whole has to say ‘hey, we appreciate you as a police officer, but you don’t get special treatment because you’re a police officer’.”
“I go back to my days as a police officer… the free coffee, the free meal, that was accepted 25/30 years ago,” he said. “Now it’s not accepted, it’s rejected, so it has to be a change in mentality, not just with the police, but with all of society.”
The question though not outright inane, still demonstrated the myopic context in which journalists and other elements of the wider society view corruption in a narrow prism.
The round-table is supposed to be about corruption. I take that to mean “corruption“, not just police corruption. Surely the Americans are fully aware of the deep corruption which exists in the Jamaican society as it does the American society.
What they won’t do is scapegoat their law enforcement community as both political parties on the Island have done. Resulting ultimately in a chasm between that community and the public they serve.
What the questioner certainly did not anticipate was that Zachary “Zak” Phillips, Drug Task Force Deputy Chief is still a law-enforcement officer who is also a former cop would not be excoriating law-enforcement.
The endemic culture of corruption in the contracts awards process and other Jamaican Government expenditures are well known and documented. To date, despite the literal pilfering of untold billions of dollars and other despicable acts of corruption by both political parties in and out of power, not a single politician has been jailed since the late JAG Smith.
The media seems scared to tackle the corruption in Government and appears to be quite comfortable and complicit in continuing with the deception that corruption is confined to the inept police department which in actuality cannot find it’s way out of a brown paper bag.
The fact in my view is the ineptitude and corruption of the ‘Barney Fife’ police department was created by both the People’s National Party and the Jamaica Labor Party as insurance against jail being a reality for them and their cronies.
By Mike Beckles – Check out his blog HERE
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