Uncertainty Surrounding Police Commissioner’s Future

There’s uncertainty this afternoon about the short-term future of Police Commissioner, George Quallo.

This after a meeting today between the Commissioner and National Security Minister Robert Montague ended in deadlock.

Cabinet is expected to discuss the developments regarding the Constabulary Force at its weekly meeting.

The issue of 42 people being murdered between January 1 and last night was discussed in the meeting which began at 10:00am.

The embarrassing traffic debacle last week on the Palisadoes Highway which disrupted operations at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston was also discussed.

Sources say Commissioner Quallo this morning told Minister Montague that he stands by the two reports he submitted to the National Security Minister.

Those reports have not recommended any member of the High Command be held accountable for the embarrassment which the Palisadoes incident has caused Jamaica.

It’s understood that a defiant Montague told the Police Commissioner that it’s the policy of the government that accountability in the Constabulary should not be limited to rank and file police personnel.

Some members of the administration and the police high command have told our news centre that Head of the East Kingston Police Division, Superintendent Robert Walker, should be the one held accountable for the traffic and airport fiasco.

But it’s understood that Commissioner Quallo is insisting that Walker will not be sanctioned or transferred.

This is one of the issues which the Police Chief and the Security Minister are at war over.

Minister Montague is to advise Cabinet today on what transpired at the meeting this morning with Quallo then the way forward will be decided.

This afternoon, Commissioner Quallo told Nationwide News that a Jamaica Observer Online article which said that Minister Montague told him in today’s meeting that he should go, is not true.

The embattled Commissioner also denied that he has tendered his resignation. Minister Montague was also quoted in a section of the media today denying that he told Quallo to go.

However – as the administration is facing criticism for last year’s high murder rate and the 42 murders committed just over a week into the new year – it’s understood that Quallo’s days as the country’s Police Chief could be coming to an end in short order.

The Police Commissioner was initially set to retire in August when he turns sixty years old. But it’s understood that consideration is being given to have the Police Service Commission, PSC, prompt Commissioner Quallo to proceed on early retirement next month.

In the meantime, Commissioner Quallo says he’s asking Jamaica to decide whether he’s been disrespected by Minister Montague.

The Police Chief spoke with our news center shortly before he entered the meeting this morning with the National Security Minister.

Commissioner Quallo reacted to a statement last night from the Police Officers’ Association, POA, which accused Minister Montague of interfering in the operations of the Constabulary.

The Police Commissioner says the Officers’ Association acted independently.

Commissioner Quallo told our news center this morning that he entered today’s meeting with Minister Montague prepared to discuss any issue raised.

Government sources have alleged that the Commissioner disrespected Minister Montague.

This by claiming the Police Chief recently briefed the Opposition PNP and its spokesman on National Security, Fitz Jackson about the crime situation in the country before he updated Minister Montague.

Commissioner Quallo this morning explained his meeting with Mr. Jackson.

Commissioner Quallo declined to comment further when he left the meeting with Minister Montague. He said he’d be holding a media conference shortly.

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