Jamaica’s top cop set to shake things up

Shortly after arriving at Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) headquarters in St Andrew, Owen Ellington settled behind his desk in the commissioner’s office to start a busy day.

Ellington, 47, temporarily holds arguably the most challenging job in Jamaica.

The 30-year JCF veteran became acting commissioner on 7 November, one week after Hardley Lewin resigned after two years as top cop.

Many consider the bespectacled Ellington a shoo-in to become Jamaica’s third commissioner in six years.

On Monday, he issued a statement with a list of priorities. It contained long-standing issues which have become asterisks for police commissioners – reducing crime, upholding human rights and ridding the force of corrupt cops.

They are issues the articulate Ellington says require urgent attention, no matter who is police commissioner.

“It’s not about me or any individual, it’s about the Jamaica Constabulary Force and a requirement that there be a continuity in the delivery of service,” he said. “There can be no gap in how we conduct our business.”

How the JCF conducts its business is a hot topic. Recently, Assistant Commissioner of Police Les Green spoke about rampant corruption within its ranks, while Prime Minister Bruce Golding hinted in Parliament that ineffective leadership cost Lewin his job.

According to police statistics, more than 1,200 homicides have been recorded in Jamaica in 2009, the sixth straight year murders have passed the 1,000 mark.