February 4, 2021 | By Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie |
As the dust is settling on the sex scandal rocking the Jamaica Defence Force we give you our perspective on the matter. Wendel Wilkins QC said a judicial Review can still be asked for if any of the parties still feel aggrieved.
Did PM Andrew Michael Holness wake up from his apparent slumber and take decisive action to remove the Lieutenant embroiled in the juicy sex scandal? He was publicly urged to act decisively. PM Holness is chair of the Defence Board.
The Opposition’s spokesman on National Security Senator Peter Bunting had called on INDECOM to investigate the JDF sex scandal. They refused saying it was outside their remit. Pressure was mounting from many fronts.
PM Holness’ wife Juliet, herself a MP, may have privately been nudging her husband to take action on the sex scandal rocking the army.
The PM in his wisdom has a keen interest in social media matters. Social media was having a field day on this sex scandal issue. He may have sensed the damage to his personal image and his expressed value of being a feminist. Also the PM had embarked on a policy to give women a certain percentage of seats at the table in Parliament and on state boards. So to have been seen as not to have acted to stem the haemorrhage resulting from this sex scandal would be out of sink with his expressed values.
No Power To Dismiss
General Rocky Meade told the media in the presence of his army’s Executive Officer, Antonette Gorman a very senior female in the army, that he had no power as Chief of Defence Staff to dismiss a Lieutenant. He also told us that he advised the scandal plagued lieutenant that he no longer enjoyed his confidence as Chief of Defence Staff. One does not have to have obtained a first degree or a PhD to fully appreciate the impact of such a statement. In fact Cliff Hughes said inter alia that the Lieutenant was “Nudged” to resign.
Well, I am not sure, but it does not seem to be too far outside the realm of reality. In fact from my unqualified lowly slot, it sounds pretty basic to me. This officer was proving to be an embarrassment to the force and had brought the apparent good name of the JDF into disrepute. He had to go.
We were also told that he was charged the maximum fine allowed by military law for the role he played in the said sex scandal. He was also found guilty of Conduct Contrary to Military Discipline. The quantum of the fine was not disclosed.
Does the JDF have a squeaky clean image to defend? We will look at that later.
So in a nutshell Meade could not act alone, if he is to be believed. It took the PM who chairs the Defence Board to act. The only problem that the whole episode leaves in my taste is, we know the Female Private spent 14 days in Military Prison. She paid a fine also.
The Officer paid a fine, but was allowed to resign with full benefits and a Honourably Discharge.
Why have we not been told all the facts? Full disclosure would really clear the air. That is what is called transparency and full disclosure. Come clean, CDS and let the chips fall where they may.
We should never forget the Green Bay Massacre. Too young to know? Well let me update you on this atrocity. Told you I would look at the JDF’s image later. Time come. In 1981 a set of unemployed men were lured to Green Bay under the guise of getting them jobs. They taken by ambulance, were bunched up and summarily executed. Some miraculously for away. That is how the plot got out. Some army officers also cooperated, we later learned. It was a shameful chapter in the JDF’S history. Cold blooded murder by men who are supposed to be of honour, in uniform.
The then DPP Ian Forte, husband of current Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte, invoked the Nolle Prosequi Clause and the JDF murders walked free. That action may be viewed as immoral, was most disappointing, but was not illegal.
Right to Life
We are all entitled or have a solemn right to live until our Maker takes us home. So a sex scandal is bad, but cold blooded murder is a disgrace and a stain for life on the image of the JDF. We are all have a right to life. You be the judge as to which is more devastating to the image of an organization?
It is my further perspective that we are grateful for the information given to us so far from the CDS et al. It is better to get a half of loaf, than none at all. We say thank God for small mercies. Armies across the world are normally a closed shop as relates to openness. The Jamaican body is no different. They seem to always behave as if they are a law unto themselves. This scandal has really shaken their collective consciousness, if not foundation, and awoken them from their apparent loftiness. Has this sex scandal opened up a new chapter in their media relations? We hope so.
PM Played Key Role
It is just natural to deduce from the facts we have that the PM must have played a key role behind the scenes in bringing this sex scandal to a swift conclusion. It was on the 18th of January 2021 that we learned that the case was settled with the Private soldier and we were further told that the officer’s case was still being investigated. “
“We could not speak about the case as we did not want to prejudice the rights of the accused officer.”
Lieutenant actg. Civil & Public Affairs Officer.
Alas! By the 22nd January 2021 the Officer’s case was miraculously concluded. That is what we are told by the CDS. We have no reason to doubt the army head.
The CDS, General Rocky Meade has publicly asked Cliff Hughes for help to likely improve the Army’s Public image. Cliff has accepted the request to help the CDS.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is a veteran journalist who has a keen interest in Social Justice issues. He has international exposure