Former Police Commissioner, Colonel Trevor MacMillan was sworn in on May 13, as the new Minister of National Security by Governor-General, His Excellency, the Most Hon. Professor Sir Kenneth Hall, at a brief ceremony at King’s House.
Col. MacMillan, who was presented with the instruments of appointment as Minister and Senator, takes over the portfolio from Derrick Smith who was appointed to the position in September 2007. He also replaces Government Senator, Ian Murray, who resigned his position to make way for the new Minister, who will direct the Ministry’s affairs via the Upper House.
Speaking at the ceremony, Prime Minister Bruce Golding said that in his new capacity, Col. MacMillan would be called upon to “provide quality leadership to the Ministry.”
“That is going to require transition, because he will be moving from the operational role that he has played, both in the Jamaica Defence Force, and during his period as Commissioner of Police, to one of providing policy direction and leadership,” Mr. Golding pointed out.
He cited this transition as significant against the background of amendments to the Jamaica Constabulary Force Act in 1990, in which operational responsibility and authority for the Force remained the purview of the Police Commissioner.
“But it is going to be important for those operational responsibilities and authority to be exercised and discharged under broad policy direction and leadership, which has to come from the Minister with responsibility for National Security, acting under the authority of the Cabinet,” the Prime Minister asserted.
Noting that Col. MacMillan was being called on to perform a “challenging and difficult job” as National Security Minister, Mr. Golding said that he, in making the appointment, was in “no illusion as to the formidable challenges that he (MacMillan) and anyone else assuming that position would have to face.
“Trevor MacMillan is not a superman, (and) he is not a miracle worker. He brings to the job a tremendous amount of experience, having served some 30 years in the security forces of this country. He brings to the post an understanding of the multiplicity of issues that have to be grappled with and the way in which many seemingly unrelated factors do, in fact, come together to pose perhaps the greatest challenge that this country faces at this time,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Golding emphasised that any meaningful, sustained and sustainable, lasting impact on the level of criminality in Jamaica would have to address the root cause.
“It is going to require an approach that involves, not just the Ministry of National Security and its various agencies (but).is going to involve a multiplicity of both private and public sector agencies that are going to have to come together in a way that we, perhaps, have never seen before in order to (not only) tackle the problem at its root, but also to address the manifestation of the problem,” he stressed.
Mr. Golding urged that the new Minister be afforded the opportunity to execute his mandate, before being subjected to criticism, and underscored the need for a collaborative approach to tackling crime.
“I make one request of the Jamaican people, because we are a country that, perhaps for understandable reasons, have become very cynical; we presume failure rather than mobilize effort. And therefore, I make an appeal to the Jamaican people (to) let the discussions now not be about how quickly Colonel MacMillan will fail. But let the discussions be about what we can do as a people, and what all of us have a duty to do to make sure that all of us succeed,” the Prime Minister implored.
Addressing the reassignment of former National Security Minister, Derrick Smith, Mr. Golding said this was not an indictment on his (Smith) part.
“It could not be an indictment, because Derrick has only been in that post for eight months, and eight months is, by any measurement, too short a time for such an indictment to be of any relevance,” Mr. Golding said.
He pointed out that during the eight-month period, Mr. Smith “showed a deep commitment to the task that he had been given,” adding that the former National Security Minister “had been working assiduously and very closely with me on what he felt strongly was critical to the discharge of the responsibilities.which was, to put together a broad integrated approach to the business of law enforcement, and in particular, to fighting crime.” This, the Prime Minister added, remained as much a compelling imperative as it has been over the last eight months.
Noting that Mr. Smith has been out of office due to ill health, Mr. Golding said he would continue to enjoy the full support of the government in his efforts to recuperate as quickly as possible and return to good health in order that he “will be able to assume the new responsibilities that he has been assigned.”
Col. MacMillan, who was Police Commissioner between 1993 and 1996, also served in the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), as Director of the Revenue Protection Division (RPD), as a Senator when the current administration was in Opposition, and as Special Advisor to the Ministry of Finance and the Public Service immediately prior to his appointment as National Security Minister.
Mr. Smith will now assume responsibility for Mining and Telecommunications, previously part of the portfolio responsibilities of Minister Clive Mullings, who retains the Energy component.