Mental health plea

THE concern is not new. In fact, it had been raised many times in the past.

However, on Friday, Jamaica Police Federation Chairman Corporal Rohan James, mourning the death of a colleague, repeated the call for more focus on the mental well-being of members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

“It is indeed another sad occasion that we pause to acknowledge death and to celebrate the life of Inspector Enroy Madourie. It is something that we have to come to grips with, and the force needs to do far more than it is doing to treat with the issue of depression, mental illness, and trauma that may affect our membership,” James told the Jamaica Observer at the thanksgiving service in memory of Madourie at Church of God of Prophecy on Old Harbour Road, St Catherine.

“Going forward, the federation will be strident in our advocacy to ensure that we accomplish these areas and that the focus be placed where it matters most — which is in the interest of the people of Jamaica,” James said.

“Any member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force lost is a void that cannot be filled anytime soon. It is incumbent that we take a holistic approach to health and well-being, and the federation is duly poised at this time to ensure that we forcibly bring the message home to our employer to do far more than they are doing, in the interest of national security,” he added.

Forty-eight-year-old Inspector Madourie died in July. He is believed to have committed suicide inside a car parked across the street from his house in Whitewater Meadows, St Catherine.

On Friday, James lamented that crime costs the country billions of dollars annually, and if the right investments were being made in the JCF and other arms of the security forces, Jamaica would achieve far more significant and positive economic results.

“It is costing the country four per cent of its current budgetary allocation. Just by the mere neglect of the security forces, we are losing in excess of four per cent of the budgetary allocation — which is between $84 billion and $86 billion per year,” he claimed.

“If the Government seeks to empower police officers and other law enforcement arms then it stands to reason that, instead of struggling to grow the country four per cent in five years, they would be able to achieve the objectives, because we would be far advanced in not only the realistic goals set but it would be a safe environment for all to achieve equity, equality and justice,” James argued.

During the thanksgiving service Madourie’s daughter, Ritshauna, revealed that to avoid painful thoughts about his death she blocks her mind from focusing too much on him.

She struggled through tears to share with mourners a letter she wrote for her father.

“Dear daddy, it’s been over a month since you’ve gone and I want you to know that not because I don’t speak about it and I try to block all the memories out, it doesn’t mean I didn’t love you. I love you so much but I just can’t bear to acknowledge the truth. I miss you so much and I want my daddy back.

“I am only 22 years old. I am way too young to lose you. You haven’t met your grandchildren as yet and I can’t bear the thought of them not having you in their lives, even though they don’t exist yet. I just can’t get my head around the fact that you just disappeared with no warning.

“My world caved in with one incomprehensible phone call. I am sorry that we didn’t go on our lunch date because I thought we’d have more time together. I’m sorry for all the things I should have told you but I didn’t. I’ll try hard to make you proud,” she read.

Police Superintendent Steve Brown, who is in charge of enhanced security measures for St Catherine, in delivering the eulogy said that Inspector Madourie had visited him in his office a few days before his death and had promised him that he had a remedy for his diabetes that could help him live longer without the aid of pills.

“I took some tablets and he was asking me if I was a pharmacist and I said ‘Not really, but I strongly support pharmaceutical products in Jamaica because I am diabetic.’ He started to lecture me about diabetes and what not to do. The final thing he said to me was that he was going to take me off the medication and give me some stuff that will help me survive. I told him ‘I have been surviving for 35 years with no effects. Do you want me to die?’ He said ‘No, but if you take what I am giving to you, you will live much longer.’ Little did I know that that was the final conversation we were having,” Brown said.

Brown described Madourie as a man who, although soft-spoken, “spoke with a lot of authority and intellect”. He recalled how Madourie often spoke of his teenage daughter Ashley and his alma mater Cornwall College.

“If you speak to Enroy Madourie and the name Ashley doesn’t come up 10 times in five minutes, you were not speaking to him. Ashley became so famous at the workplace. She became so known by everybody. Today is the second time I am seeing Ashley and it is the first time I am actually meeting Ashley,” Brown said, adding that Madourie “lived a wonderful life”.

“He went to Barracks Road Primary School in Montego Bay and he carried a lot of pride as a Cornwall College old boy. Madourie is the first to tell you that he went to the school with the strictest motto, which is ‘Learn or leave’. He would tell you that he didn’t leave Cornwall College because he had to learn. He went to University of Technology[, Jamaica] and he got a bachelor’s of arts degree and did several courses in the police force, including specialised advance courses. He was a stickler for discipline, and was well reasoned and took command when leading people,” Brown said.

After the service Madourie’s body was interred at Meadowrest Memorial Gardens in St Catherine.

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