February 12, 2010
PMC welcomes conviction

The People’s Movement for Change (PMC) welcomes the conviction of police officers Kasankie Quow, Osrick James and Hadley Ballantyne for the assault of 15-year-old Jemark Jackson last Tuesday, February 2nd, and says the conviction “represents an important moment in police community relations in the history of our young nation.”{{more}}

In a release issued on Wednesday, February 10, the PMC said: “When senior magistrate Donald Browne delivered a guilty verdict, all of our citizens, especially the poor, who have long cried out against police abuse and excesses, won a major victory. The verdict is a significant triumph for Jemark Jackson and other working class youth and the nation’s justice system, and critically, the Police Service.”

The release, signed by PMC Chairman Oscar Allen and General Secretary Jomo Thomas said: “Essentially, the people won and more importantly, the nation won. For too long some police have acted with impunity beating, humiliating, torturing and sometimes killing innocent civilians, who were arrested for the flimsiest of reasons. The conviction means that we are slowly becoming a nation of laws rather than a nation of men.

“The protest against police excesses came to a high point last May in a series of PMC led picket demonstrations in front of the police headquarters in Kingstown. These excesses were brought into sharp relief when the police killed three young men in Vermont in yet unexplained circumstances. These protests built the pressure for the authorities to act.”

The PMC also extended congratulations to the Director of Public Prosecution Colin Williams “for his leadership in the process and outcome of this case.” They, however, said that they believe that “a more severe punishment would have sent a clearer signal to the police.”

“The PMC will continue its vigilance on this matter and trust that the lightness of the verdict does not in any way signal that Police Officers should become comfortable with their behaviour,” the release ended.