Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin, seen here in army uniform, yesterday resigned as police commissioner. Lewin, who became Jamaica's top cop in December 2007, has faced widespread criticism from within the constabulary^^^
The official said the resignation was on "general terms".
Last night, Lewin would not confirm whether he had stepped down.
"Be careful what you hear," was all Lewin was prepared to say when The Gleaner confronted him last night at the Police Officers' Club, St Andrew.
Later, he told The Gleaner by telephone, "I am not getting into any discussion about anything."
Last night, the chairman of the Police Service Commission, Noel Hylton, said he would not comment on the issue before a meeting with other members of the commission today.
On Sunday, Prime Minister Bruce Golding hinted that there were significant challenges in the police force. He told supporters at a Jamaica Labour Party Area Council One meeting in Pembroke Hall, St Andrew, that some members of the force were not performing optimally because they were not happy with the new commissioner and some of his initiatives.
The Golding administration has been under increasing pressure to present a crime plan to arrest the spiralling murder rate.
The latest demand was made by the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica last week.
Since taking office on December 17, Lewin has faced a runaway crime rate, with more than 800 Jamaicans killed.
The month of May was particularly punishing, as more than 190 persons were murdered.
This is worse than any month in the record-breaking year of 2005 where 1,674 persons were killed.
In his first press conference after assuming the post of top cop, Lewin said he would embark on a shutdown of stations seen as inadequate and ineffective.
Over 25 cops arrested
Lewin also talked tough on reining in corruption in the force. One of his main intentions was to raise the fear of detection in the force in his first year. This aspect saw some success with more than 25 policemen arrested on corruption charges.
Meanwhile, the Opposition last night expressed its willingness to participate in a resumption of the Vale Royal talks, which the Government requested be convened as a matter of urgency.
It also recommended that the Government place priority on curbing crime.
"The forthcoming talks should be solely dedicated to finding some common ground on this issue and that every effort be made to harness the goodwill of all Jamaicans in attacking this monster," chairman of the People's National Party, Robert Pickersgill said.
Real Admiral Hardley Lewin has never been short of words on the subject of crime fighting.
The Gleaner shares some of the most famous comments made by the Rear Admiral as chief of staff of the Jamaica Defence Force and as commissioner of police.
As chief of staff of the Jamaica Defence Force (October 2005)
"Tivoli Gardens represents the mother of all garrisons. The garrison machinery is well oiled, super effective and must be the envy of all others.
"Garrisons of whatsoever persuasion, JLP, PNP or no P, were little monsters that were created, possibly for reasons of political survival and defence of the faith. Little monsters grow into big monsters and spawn many little monsters which too grow up to become big monsters. In time, we can be overwhelmed and consumed by the consequences of our own creations.
As commissioner of police
On whether he feels pressured by the Government's pronouncements that it intends to reduce crime by 40 per cent over five years:
"Absolutely not! Part of the problem we have in this country is that we set low targets for ourselves and then fail to achieve them. I don't have a problem with the bar being raised. We can always look, at the end of the period, and then make a proper assessment of why we did not make a particular target. I'm not afraid of it!"
On guns over brains
"Whether it's a civilian with a licensed firearm or whatever, you give a man a gun and his brain stops functioning because he now has that power."
On closing police stations
"You have police stations all over the place and most of them don't make one good station. We're going to shut some down."
On cleaning up the JCF
"When one mentions the word 'police', I am sure that one of the first things that comes to mind is the word 'corruption'. My first act on my first day was to sign and promulgate the anti-corruption plan for the Jamaica Constabulary Force."
"We have to accept some truths. If we could just manage that, I think we are well on our way. Let me make it clear, it is going to get somewhat worse before it starts to get better."