Perspective: Legal Defense Fund For Police

We note that some J$107 million is owing to private lawyers to defend members of the security forces who are dragged before the courts for alleged acts of criminality.  When people put their lives on the line on our behalf we should unhesitatingly stand on guard for them in their hour of need.  That position for me is non negotiable.  This is the only right thing to do in my perspective.

Abuse of Power

Where my generosity and sympathy ends is when people in uniform who have sworn to protect the rights of citizens abuse their power and trample on the rights of the very citizens who look to them for protection and reassurance for.  You are on your own for me Mr. or Mrs. law enforcement officer, irrespective of your rank. Tek we yourself mi seh!  You are asking taxpayers to pay for your foolish if not selfish behaviour?  No way!


There should be strict guidelines as to how and under what circumstances the Legal Defense Fund should be used/accessed. In fact a management  committee, independent of the police  and the ministry should be set up to administer this fund.  It cannot be a free for all.

Delroy Chuck

Justice Minister, Hon. Delroy Chuck plans to meet with lawyers who are said to be owed millions for representing these police officers so charged and possibly already represented in court with criminal offenses.  There are reports that legal fees  being charged by private lawyers are believed to be excessive.  Are these fees being charged are outside the normal “fee table”?  Is there a fee table in place at all or a free for all?  Setting fees for lawyers is a touchy issue.  In Canada I think there are fee tables.  Are there any in Jamaica?  Strict guidelines must be established now.  Will Chuck, himself a lawyer,  be able to bring some semblance of order to this matter?  Will he be seen as sympathetic to his colleagues who like himself operate(d) at the private bar? You see as Lord Acton said:  “Justice should not only be done but manifestly appear to have been done”.  (hopefully this is a verbatim quote if not the sentiment is clearly understood.


We hope good sense will prevail to avoid any possible showdown which could occur between the administrators and claimants to reduce the possibility of any party, especially the lawyers taking hard line positions instead of opting for compromise(s) which could be arrived at. Strict and clear guidelines in our further perspective could make such likelihood of a position redundant.  There could even be an arbitration clause. This would effectively shut the door to the possibility of advisorial type litigation.

Review Tribunal

A three member review tribunal could further deepen the transparency process and deepen the objective of openness and fairness.

What is your perspective? This is ours.

Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is Senior International Correspondent & Photojournalist for Vision Newspaper Canada.

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