Public perception of the Jamaica’s police took a step in the wrong direction earlier this week, as a revelation from Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck spoke to the dangers of giving information on criminal activity.
Addressing the joint select committee of Parliament examining the Criminal Justice (Suppression of Criminal Organizations) Act, more popularly called the anti-gang law, Mr. Chuck on Tuesday gave a damning testimonial.
Chuck explained that he understands the sentiment of witnesses across the island who withhold details to the police – as information he shared with officers was relayed to a suspect within minutes of him talking with the police.
“I have had that happening to me… I told the police who was responsible, only for the man to call me back in five minutes to ask me why am I calling his name. So I know for a fact that it happens,” Chuck said.
Any well-to-do member of the JCF’s Police High Command should be in damage-control mode these coming weeks, to continue the uphill task of putting “we serve, we protect, we reassure” motto of the centuries-old organization.
So it has been, so it will be for members of the JCF, who have reported being often hobbled in their investigations by persons with information being reluctant to share what they know with them, out of fear that the police will pass on what they say to the criminals.
In actuality, there have been multiple cases of informants being murdered after sharing information with the police.
Minister Chuck’s statement ignited a firestorm of comments across all social media platforms, as Jamaicans recall their own horror stories as ‘informants’.
“This happens everywhere, in all spaces, all the time, Minister. Welcome to many a Jamaican’s reality,” one man surmised in a post on Facebook.
Hundreds of posts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram were rife with contempt for police, as mindful Jamaicans reminisce on the infamous ‘informer fi dead’ culture, which is arguably still alive today, especially in inner-city communities where crime is generally rampant.