No One Is Above The Law/​Must Mean Exactly That…

If Jamaica is ever to pull back from the brink of anar­chy, the aver­age man on the street who has no voice, no pow­er, must see that the laws of the coun­try applies to all Jamaicans and not just the pow­er­less.
The idea of gov­er­nance is a sacred covenant between the gov­erned and those who gov­ern.
The pow­er in the hands of those who gov­erned is bestowed upon them by those who sub­mit to the con­cept of being gov­erned
For police offi­cers and oth­er offi­cers who are vest­ed with pow­er to detain and or infringe on the rights of indi­vid­ual cit­i­zens, so too are their pow­er of author­i­ty derived from the cit­i­zens.
It is impor­tant than it is rec­og­nized, that where­in there is the appear­ance, (jus­ti­fied or not), that cer­tain seg­ments of the soci­ety is exempt from enforce­ment of the nation’s laws, there tend to be upris­ings and push­back which may take var­i­ous forms depend­ing on the local­i­ty.
Those forms of protests can take sev­er­al forms, rang­ing from the wan­ton break­ing of laws, as a means of get­ting back at the sys­tem they view as cor­rupt or unjust, to open rebel­lion result­ing in the over­throw of gov­ern­ments.

It is for those rea­sons that it is impor­tant that as a soci­ety we con­tin­ue to strive for a coun­try wher­ev­er we are domi­ciled, in which all are equal under the law.
Regardless of the defin­ing socio-eco­nom­ic char­ac­ter­is­tics that are used to sep­a­rate us, it is impor­tant that the laws apply even­ly & just­ly in the eyes of all cit­i­zens.
In the 2016 American Presidential elec­tions a mul­ti­plic­i­ty of the nation’s intel­li­gence agen­cies report­ed that the Russian counter-mea­sure cam­paign was designed to widen the cracks of divi­sion with­in the American soci­ety, par­tic­u­lar­ly along racial lines.
Those who fol­low the news and cur­rent events would know just how suc­cess­ful those mea­sures turned out to be.
Today, more than three years after those elec­tions and the instal­la­tion of a new pres­i­dent, America remains extreme­ly polar­ized and at war with itself.
If those dis­par­i­ties did not exist they could not have been exploit­ed in a way that is counter to the inter­est of the United States.

Even as the strug­gle con­tin­ues to lev­el the play­ing field in the United States, so too must the fight con­tin­ue to end the intran­si­gent resid­ual effects of colo­nial­ism and the resul­tant caste-sys­tem that has been left behind in Jamaica by the Island’s col­o­niz­ers.
In order to do so, the remain­ing ves­tiges of that caste sys­tem must be bro­ken down. We can begin that process by ensur­ing that all of our peo­ple have equal pro­tec­tion under the law.
When some­one breaks the law he or she can­not be shield­ed from the con­se­quences of their actions based on who they are, or their sta­tion in the soci­ety.
In Israel, the Prime Minister was recent­ly indict­ed on cor­rup­tion charges, in oth­er devel­op­ing coun­tries like Pakistan, we have seen for­mer President Musharraf indict­ed and con­vict­ed in absen­tia.
All across the Globe as coun­tries strug­gle to emerge from the dark­ness of pover­ty into the light of free­dom and democ­ra­cy, pow­er­ful lead­ers have been brought down and made account­able for their crim­i­nal actions.
Jamaican can be no excep­tion in this regard.
It is for those rea­sons that I will for­ev­er stand behind the rule of law and those who cor­rect­ly enforce the nation’s laws with­out fear or favor, mal­ice or ill-will.

Regardless of the out­come of the Kari Douglas arrest, I am heart­ened to see young police offi­cers risk­ing all by stand­ing true to their oaths and mak­ing arrests, even at the per­il of their careers.
As a past mem­ber of the JCF, I was forced to stand up to politi­cians, on sev­er­al occa­sions, many of them believed then, as they do today, that they are above the laws, or that the laws do not apply to them. That same lev­el of con­tempt for the laws, and by exten­sion, those who enforce them, is very self-evi­dent among the wealthy elites as well.
I was trans­ferred because I did exact­ly what the law autho­rized me to do in one inci­dent. A politi­cian still serv­ing in the present admin­is­tra­tion and a cor­rupt senior police offi­cer, col­lud­ed to ship me away from the divi­sion. (Speaking of the same Saint Andrew North)
That did not go down as they planned, the peo­ple who knew my ser­vice took to the streets, with block­ade and fire.
The Commissioner of Police, Herman Ricketts, was forced to send me back. That day I arrived to a hero’s wel­come from the peo­ple I served, among them, indi­vid­u­als I had pre­vi­ous­ly arrest­ed.
That day will for­ev­er live in my mind. Policing is about being fair, just, firm, respect­ful, hon­est and impar­tial.
It was those attrib­ut­es that inspired offend­ers I had inves­ti­gat­ed and arrest­ed and who were suc­cess­ful­ly pros­e­cut­ed and did time to seek me out after they did their time to thank me for doing my job fair­ly.
One man came back and thanked me for not shoot­ing him when I took a loaded gun from his waist­band.
He pro­fuse­ly thanked me for not shoot­ing him after he did his two years in prison.
It nev­er crossed my mind that shoot­ing him was an option when I took that loaded weapon from him.

The Attorney General of Jamaica today, poignant­ly and metic­u­lous­ly cleared up some broad ambi­gu­i­ties with­in the pub­lic space on the issue of peo­ple who are exempt under the Disaster Risk Management Act.
Those mis­con­cep­tions include, but are not con­fined to the idea, that because one is exempt by virtue of their job descrip­tion they can­not be found to be in breach of the Disaster Risk Management Act.
Mrs. Malahoo Forte explained, that even if one is exempt, he or she can­not abuse that exemp­tion by run­ning per­son­al errands or to stop at a rum bar for drinks, and then claim exemp­tion.
The exemp­tion must be relat­ed exact­ly to that per­son­’s pro­fes­sion­al func­tion which neces­si­tat­ed the exemp­tion in the first place.
Also, when asked to pro­vide proof of exemp­tion, the exempt par­ty has a duty to do so. A dri­ver’s license is not proof of exemp­tion.
Additionally, a police offi­cer doing his duty has no bur­den to know whether a per­son is a parish coun­cilor, mem­ber of par­lia­ment, or a doc­tor.

When the police seek out and arrest a young man who vio­lat­ed the Disaster Risk Management Act, and when that young man apol­o­gized pub­licly, even as he still awaits his day in court, there should be zero tol­er­ance for any parish coun­cilor or prime min­is­ter who breach­es the act and believes that curs­ing out and abus­ing the police offi­cers is accept­able.
Corruption is an ene­my of growth, cor­rup­tion comes in many forms.
Regardless of who you are, under these cir­cum­stances that we have nev­er encoun­tered before, when stopped by the police tell them who you are and that you are exempt.
As I said before, that exemp­tion would be applic­a­ble based on whether the per­son was act­ing in an offi­cial capac­i­ty or not.
If the offi­cer is deter­mined to arrest you, sub­mit to the arrest and have your day in court.
I find it dif­fi­cult to believe that they would decide to arrest if they were not abused ver­bal­ly.
The only thing I fault the police offi­cers with, in Kari Douglas inci­dent is that they allowed her to dri­ve to the Constant Spring police sta­tion to be charged.
They were more than lenient.
She should have been hand­cuffed and tak­en to the police sta­tion, exact­ly like that young man was before her.
We can­not have two dif­fer­ent stan­dards for the same tiny coun­try.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer Jamaican police Detective cor­po­ral, busi­ness­man, researcher, and blog­ger. 
He is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog chatt​-​a​-box​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al web­sites.
You may sub­scribe to his blogs free of charge, or sub­scribe to his Youtube chan­nel @chatt-a-box, for the lat­est pod­cast all free to you of course.

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