One Last Goodbye For Ground Commander Jeff
As we reported at the top of the newscast, Commissioner of Police, Crispin Jeffries is leaving the job on Wednesday.
Here at 7news, we've always had a special relationship with Jeffries - particularly when he was commander of operations during the tumult of 2005.
Many times, it may have seemed like we were bitter enemies, but we were merely actors: we played our part and so did he - and he often did so brilliantly.
Perhaps understandably, in his incarnation as top cop, he receded from the camera's glare, and retreated from the frontline, so much so that we kind of forgot how much fun he was! And so, it's worthwhile to look back - we promise for the last time, at his mad and manic days on the frontline. To do so we reprise a sort of video essay we first put together in 2009:...
Jules Vasquez Reporting,
There are few images on TV so immediate, so shocking that they will make whoever’s
watching shake their heads in disbelief. And Crispin Jeffries has had more of
those moments than anyone
[Crispin Jeffries in scuffle with female student and with workers in
front BTL Compound.]
And while those moments will never be forgotten – and videotape will make sure of that - look beyond the heat and drama, to a single frame....and
in a picture, anarchy can seem almost pacific, the players stripped of their
momentum and charge, the wild hysteria of the moment flattened into a single
frozen image, all the emotion and action compressed into a single frame.
And strip that frame of context and circumstance and you see in these images, a performer. And if you don’t believe that just watch the way Commander
Jeffries stepped down the National Assembly stairs, it was more than an offensive, it was a solo, an operatic aria upon a stage of anarchy. In these moments, Jeffries is unruffled, almost regal, never emotional, the air of a thespian,
and the presence of a star, an entertainer on a stage set by the media, watched
by the masses.
Jeffries to Jules Vasquez: “put right in the face
Jules, right in the face. You want to see it? Thank you goodbye.”
After all, what does the media thrive on? Action. And Jeffries gave it to us, in heaping servings
Jeffries to Jules Vasquez: “Just go around.”
Jules Vasquez to Jeffries: “That is unacceptable and
I will not accept that.”
So, we can forgive the cocky mis-projections whether in word.
Crispin Jeffries: “Watch how we will clear
So easy that three hours later it ended up in this. Like he said, a mis-pronouncement
but there are about to be mis-projections as in this case when tear gas came
wafting back into the House meeting. Through it all Jeffries - so often the
subject of the crowd's ire - never blinked, never became outwardly angry, well
maybe just once, very famously so.
[Jeffries removing media from City Center on election night 2006.]
But then, don’t we all get emotional:
“He is walking away and the little switch trips. And I have to say
that because look at this, he comes towards our cameraman, we aren’t even advancing. Alex Ellis our cameraman was standing still and Mr. Jeffries goes
to him and simply arrests him for no reason. The man has the camera on his shoulder. This is a muzzling of the press. This is the systematic lunacy that Crispin
At the time I was angry because he arrested camera-man Alex Ellis for nothing
at all really, but I see it now as just one more performance – things
were starting to drag, he perked it up - not a lapse of reason, but a slowdown
in the action, and we were brought into the show to liven things up, brought
in to share the light and heat of center stage. But the point is we never took
it personally, we were doing our job and he was doing his - both of us probably
with too much zeal - and that it provided some of the best television theater
ever was incidental....or was it central? Maybe we’ll never know.
So for now ground control to Commander Jeffries, we will miss you on the frontline,
through the scrum of batons, the crush and clatter of stones and shields, the
haze of pepper spray, the canisters of tear gas...you may be commissioner now,
but on those days of anger and agitation, you were the boss, brutal, calm and
Jeffries will now reportedly take up a Senior Position at the Ministry of Transport.
ComPol Jeffries bows out on December 1
Minister of Police, Douglas Singh, confirmed to Amandala tonight that effective Thursday, December 1, 2011, the current Commissioner of the Belize Police Department, Crispin Jeffries, will be retired.
The move to select a replacement is now at the short-list stage. Of the unknown number of international applicants for this position, the list is down to about five or six finalists.
There weren’t any female applicants; the finalists include citizens of the Netherlands, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
In the meanwhile, Assistant Commissioner of Police, ACP David Henderson, will be in charge of the department.
Singh also told us that an exact date for the installment of the new commissioner has not been set, and that the finalists for the post have all conveyed different availability times. Singh says the date when a new commissioner will take office could be as late as March 2012.
Jeffries has been the commissioner since August 30, 2009. His “reign” has been marked with controversy and despite criticism by the community about different decisions made by him, one thing remained the same - Jeffries was a well respected and even intimidating figure in society.