Defence counsel Jomo Thomas, right, shares a light moment with detective Assistant Superintendent of Police Trevor Bailey after Friday’s sitting of the High Court. Bailey was the lead investigator into the Aug. 14, 2011murder of Stephanie Daniel, and attempted murder of Vasilsa Maloney, both of Greiggs. Thomas’ client, Aubrey Wilson was on Friday sentenced to a total of 38 years in jail for those crimes. (iWN photo)

Defence counsel Jomo Thomas said that while many police officers think he is opposed to them,

“I am not opposed to the police at all.”

He told the closing of the criminal assizes on Friday that just as High Court judge, Justice Brian Cottle, had said at the event there are good police officers and bad ones.

“And the police department is making an effort to remove the bad police and I am on all fours in support of that effort on behalf of the effort of the police high command to remove the bad police,” Thomas said.

Thomas was the only defence counsel at the bar at the closing and hence spoke on behalf of the private bar.

He said that when he makes an adverse comment about a particular police activity, “I may do that because I think it reflects police overreach but, certainly we can only imagine what kind of society we would have, if we don’t have police presence and police protection.

“And truly, all we can do is no less than to tell the police officers and to tell the police establishment that we recognise and respect their duty and we hope that you would do even more to protect and serve all citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” the lawyer told the court.

Thomas was the lawyer for then 16-year-old Jemark “Parch Nuts” Jackson, who three police officers — Hadley Ballantyne, Kasankie Quow and Osrick James — beat into a coma on Nov. 18, 2008, at the Criminal Investigations Department.

The officers were convicted of assaulting the teen and were each fined EC$1,500 to be paid in one month or spend six months in jail.

They each paid the fine and then Commissioner of Police Keith Miller reinstated them to their jobs.

Thomas, who is also an activist and Speaker of the House of Assembly, has, before his appointment to the national assembly, joined the picket line in demonstration against police excesses and has consistently spoken out against police overreach.

3 replies on “‘I am not opposed to police’ — Jomo”

  1. I agree with Jomo. Most of the country must also agree. As a former Law-enforcement officer myself, I am shocked how some of the police feel they have a right to beat people in custody. The police assaulted me as well. I made a complaint and the officer in charge of me getting assaulted got Officer of the Year and a promotion! At the time I was not accused of a crime, and was threatened, cussed at, called names, slammed against a wall repeatedly, they took my cell phone ad locked me in a small shack for 7 hours, shut out all light and ventilation, told I was not allowed to stand (better than being told I was not allowed to sit). The officers violated all codes of conduct. Because the officer in charge of my treatment has family connections she was rewarded for her behavior. Since these are the police that get rewarded for bad behavior, what do they do to the officers who obey the laws and codes of conduct?
    In my experience I found that (maybe just certain) officers are actually encouraged to beat people in custody. When I visited the Washington State Police Academy and other law enforcement training, I learned that beating suspects was an act of cowardice. What is going on in SVG, and who will save us when we cannot even save us from ourselves? When we notice that officers apparently get promoted for bad behavior what is it going to take to clean the system, to include cleaning it of those officers with family and political connections? Dare I say that most officers in the force know who the worst ones are but they are in powerful positions. Some of the greatest officers are purposefully “kept down”. They accomplish the hard work but the credit is instead given to someone else to fast-track them to higher positions. There are some great poeple in the SVG police Force. Is it possible that the force can be rehabilitated?

  2. Jomo is an admirable Gentleman. He seems to be a man with a mind of his own. He speaks very intelligently on issues. There is nothing wrong in opposing the Police on issues of brutality. It is the duty of the public to keep their Police Officers in check.

    The Commissioner must encourage the Public to call out the bad Cops. Police abuse and bad Cops lead to a break down in the public’s trust and confidence in the Police Force. We are there to protect all
    members of the public, even the bad people.

  3. Hahaha, Smart-man, a picture tells a thousand tales. let me explain, You look quite spineless and fake in the picture, Not genuine at all. They believe you! You appear to be ‘actually’ rubbing-up on the Cop next to you, while making this statement.

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