Fri | Dec 9, 2016

D'Aguilar loves the limelight (editorial)

Published:Thursday | December 4, 2014 | 12:00 AM

D'Aguilar loves the limelight

IT MAY have been a search for relevance, but no one much minded Lloyd D'Aguilar's perennial attempt at latching himself on to populist causes, his bolts towards the spotlight or his contrivances at martyrdom.

Indeed, as the self-appointed convener/chairman, and seemingly everything else, of the Tivoli Committee, we felt that he could do no harm. And that incessant scramble for the spotlight might even be of some good for the people of that troubled and pained community.

Unfortunately, we hoped for too much. Lloyd D'Aguilar is who he is: the middle-age, would-be L'enfant terrible, not given to disciplined action. He could rise neither above nor beyond himself.

So, it was quite in character that at the commission of enquiry into the 2010 incursion by the security forces into Tivoli Gardens during which more than 70 persons died, Mr D'Aguilar attempted, from the start, to make himself the centre of attraction.

He insisted on when to speak, regardless of instruction. He questioned the authority of the chairman, the former Barbados chief justice, Sir David Simmons, engaged in diatribes about the commission's terms of reference, questioned Mr Simmons' competence, and then labelled him "an enemy of the people of Tivoli Gardens" and "a political hack". In the process, Mr D'Aguilar was contemptuous of his own lawyer, Michael Lorne, suggesting that the attorney was failing to protect Tivoli Gardens citizens from robust cross-examination by the lawyers for the security forces.

Not only was Mr D'Aguilar rude and of no assistance to the enquiry, he became, as Mr Lorne observed, "a distraction" to the hearing. But more important, he became a hindrance to the search for truth.

On all counts, Sir David was right to eject Mr D'Aguilar. He has little, but more likely nothing, to offer, but for, perhaps, his presence in the limelight.

So soon after Mario Deane

We are surprised that so soon after the Mario Deane affair, two inmates were killed in a police lock-up in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, allegedly by a fellow inmate.

Mario Deane, we remind, was a 30-year-old construction worker who, three months ago, was arrested for possession of a marijuana cigarette and held in a lock-up in Montego Bay. Initially, the police claimed that he was beaten by two fellow detainees who were charged with murder. INDECOM, the agency that investigates alleged abuse by the security forces, subsequently charged police officers in relation to that incident.

In the face of the public anger over the Mario Dean incident, the authorities, including National Security Minister Peter Bunting, announced new protocols of the management of lock-ups, including measures to reduce overcrowding and to prevent weapons from finding their way into these facilities.

Yet, only last week, the acting public defender, Matondo Mukulu, raised concerns about the insufficiency of searches of prisons and lock-ups for contraband, including weapons. Then on Tuesday, Mosiah Morgan and Romario Reid were stabbed in a cell at the Savanna-la-Mar Police Station. A third man was injured in the same incident. Incredulously, Mr Reid was injured, apparently in the same cell, only the week before.

Mr Bunting owes Jamaica a full statement about the status of his policy on lock-ups, including whether it is being implemented, and if not, why.