Buju Banton, on Friday morning, chided members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force for, according to him, allowing themselves to be used as State conduits to oppress the people of Jamaica.
According to Buju, he was particularly chagrined by the fact that even though the police officers were left to go hungry whilst on duty during lockdown days in August —which was proof that the authorities cared zilch about their welfare—the very same police officers were siding with the National Security Ministry, which caused them experience ‘starvation’.
“All dem bloodclaat police yah, wi pay oonu taxes and before oonu support wi and help di people dem, wi si oonu a abuse Jamaicans and beat Jamaicans. Oonu nuh si wha day oonu couldn’t get no food. It a guh get worse becaw oonu don’t know oonuself,” Buju said on his Instagram live feed on Friday morning.
The Voice of Jamaica artist was referring to media reports in late August, that members of the constabulary were upset that no provisions were made for them to be able to purchase meals while on duty during lockdown days, after Prime Minister Andrew Holness imposed seven days of no movement aimed at curtailing the rapid rise in COVID-19 cases across the island.
Alluding to the recent roughing up, arrests and hefty fines imposed on Jamaicans who have been found guilty of breaching the Disaster Risk Management Act (DRMA), Buju claimed that this was an indication that the police officers have gone scalawag.
“The whole mandate of our security forces is to protect the people; our own brothers, sisters, sons, daughters join these organisations, but they have gone rogue,” he stated. “You are fighting the people, killing the people and they don’t know that they are not immune from what’s coming. And soon and very soon, they will have to stand with the people. But they are busy making enemy of the people when they should be making friends of the people, because it is more of us, than it is them.”
On Tuesday, August 31, the Jamaica Observer had reported that the head of the Jamaica Police Federation, Corporal Rohan James, had described the no-food situation as a “travesty” that had affected police officers across the entire island, and that they felt disrespected.
At the time, the Federation president had claimed that both Commissioner of Police Major General Antony Anderson and National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang had been made aware of the situation, but that their responses were ‘unsatisfactory’.
He had also pointed out that the tuck shops and canteens at the various police stations were closed on lockdown days.
James had said that the police officers had expected that the authorities would have “made arrangements with the various restaurants for them to provide meals”.
“We cannot have a lockdown and police officers are performing duties and cannot access anything to eat. This is unacceptable; this is something that should be put in place for operational efficiency,” he had told the newspaper.
“You cannot have hungry police officers out there and the audacity is that …you expect police officers who are out there enforcing the law to incur additional costs at the state’s expense,” James also added.
The president had also noted that the situation had lowered the morale of the police who were of the view that their work and worth are not valued by the Government.
The Gleaner newspaper in a separate report, had also reported that the rank-and-file members became “restive” after welfare support was slashed for personnel on duty during the coronavirus lockdown, “with a single meal per day for patrolling cops while others fended for themselves”.