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Fairness is Victor’s job

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The Police Oversight Body will endeavour to ensure that justice is done in all the matters brought to it.

This is the assurance of Rev Victor Job, the veteran minister of the gospel, who has been tipped by Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves to lead the body, which has been revived after a period of dormancy.{{more}}

Rev Job, a Methodist minister with 36 years of experience, told SEARCHLIGHT that he believes that that Oversight Body is “an appropriate facility for people to seek redress.”

Rev Job said that this is especially the case with the poor, who may not have the financial means to seek legal redress when they feel that they have been victims of police brutality and the like.

The veteran minister, however, made it clear that the body will not be, and should not be one that leans in any one direction, but one that addresses each matter brought before it impartially, and justly, with the combined wisdom of all its members.

“It doesn’t mean everything the police do is wrong,” Job said.

He said that it will be important to get both sides of the stories brought before it “in the interest of fairness.”

He said that the public cannot be made to feel that they are always right, but must be made to feel comfort in the fact that if they make a complaint, it will not be ignored.

Job, who Dr Gonsalves said in Parliament recently will lead the body, which will include, among others, former police officer Charles James and Attorney Ronald Jack, also had strong words of warning for the media.

He said that while the media must report complaints brought to them, they must make sure that they get both sides, and practice responsible journalism.

He said that on the occasions when after they try, they were not able to get a comment from the police on a particular matter, they must be careful not to write the story as fact.

“The media must make sure that the story comes across as the complainant’s side, and not as the facts,” he said.

He also had high praise for efforts being undertaken in some communities by the police to engage the populace in meaningful dialogue, to enhance the relationship between the police and the people.

“It is an indication of the police making an effort, and the communities should respond in kind,” he said.

He also echoed the sentiments of Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and Commissioner of Police Keith Miller, who said that the majority of police officers are doing well, and operate within the confines of the law.