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Oct 26, 2017

Jamaica’s INDECOM a Model for Addressing Police Issues

Kamina Johnson-Smith

The spike in violent crimes across Belize City, as well as allegations of state-sanctioned killings as a possible solution to the rampant homicides that have gripped the Old Capital, has raised serious concerns among the citizenry.  This is in light of allegations of an extrajudicial assignment to be undertaken by a special unit of the police department, to do away with Kenneth ‘Big Tom’ Flowers.  While the Commissioner of Police Allen Whylie has refuted these allegations, there is there are still questions whether Flowers will suffer a similar fate as well-known criminal figure Arthur Young did at the hands of police in 2012.  In Jamaica, an autonomous body has been formed to investigate such crimes committed by the police.

 

Kamina Johnson-Smith, Foreign Minister, Jamaica

“Jamaica established an independent commission, it’s called IndeCom, an independent commission of parliament with responsibility to investigate crimes by the police, or extrajudicial killings in particular, because it was felt that as a very basic principle that, and it’s a basic principle of audit, you cannot investigate yourself in an objective manner.  So it was felt that the institution within the police that investigated itself and would always exonerate police was not as sufficiently robust a mechanism to maintain the trust between the police and the society and that in fact the level of extrajudicial killings or alleged extrajudicial killings had increased massively.  So we created an independent commission or parliament which is part funded by the Jamaican government but is also supported by international partners which investigates killings.  This is not a panacea, it has solved a lot of issues in respect of the levels of killings because clearly there’s circumspect decisions that are taken in terms of planning operations, et cetera, while recognizing, and this is of course important to recognize as well, that where you have violent criminals that police must be able to defend themselves.”

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