Concerns are being raised this afternoon as to whether the country’s Firearm and Tactical Training Unit, FTTU, at the Jamaica Police Academy has been disbanded.
Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Derrick Smith, says he’s been reliably informed that the Unit, which provides training in the efficient use of firearms by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, JCF, may have been blacklisted under the United States’ Leahy Amendment.
If the unit is indeed disbanded, it would have implications for the training of members of the Force.
The Leahy Amendment is a human rights law that prohibits the US Department of State and Department of Defense from providing military assistance to foreign law enforcement units that violate human rights with impunity.
The Amendment was said to be one of the reasons behind the sudden retirement of Police Commissioner Owen Ellington.
This, following allegations that a squad operating in the Police Force that carries out unlawful killings, had been brought to the attention of the US State Department.
The Opposition Spokesman on National Security, Derrick Smith, says his information, is that the Leahy Amendment is now behind reports that the FTTU has been disbanded and that its 34 members are now being transferred to other sections of the JCF.
These transfers, he says, will be announced in this week’s Force Orders.
The Opposition Spokesman says he’s also been informed that the members of the unit have been warned that they cannot utilize equipment provided by the US government for firearm and tactical training.
He says these developments will have serious implications for the country’s crime fighting efforts.
Mr. Smith says he wants to know the reasons for the alleged blacklisting of the members of the unit and what could have led to the sanctions by the US.
According to Mr. Smith, he finds the situation particularly disturbing as the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry will commence soon and the unit was involved in the 2010 incursion giving support to the JDF and other police units.
Efforts to reach the Acting Commissioner of Police, Glenmore Hines and National Security Minister, Peter Bunting were unsuccessful. The cellular phones of both men rang to voicemail.