Tue | Aug 22, 2017

Bunting, Golding must go, says Deane's sister

Published:Thursday | August 14, 2014 | 8:00 AM
Mario Deane

Sadiki Deane, sister of Mario Deane, the man who died in hospital after being brutally beaten in the Barnett Street Police Station lock-up in St James, wants "major changes within the leadership of the country, specifically the ministries of justice and security", which are headed by Mark Golding and Peter Bunting, respectively.

Her comments came days after Opposition Leader Andrew Holness called for the establishment of a human rights commission to prevent a recurrence of situations which led to the death of Mario, a 31-year-old man, who died on Independence Day.

"Those who are in charge have proven that they cannot ensure the safety and security of Jamaican citizens. Therefore, they need to be replaced with new individuals who have the best interest of all Jamaican citizens, not just the ones of high social, political or economic status," Sadiki said in an email to The Gleaner.

She said that she is "in complete agreement with Holness' idea", but said such a commission should not have fingerprints of either National Security Minister Peter Bunting or Justice Minister Mark Golding.

"I believe before this organisation is formed there needs to be major changes within the leadership of the country, specifically the ministries of justice and security."

"The best way to handle police abuse in Jamaica is to amend the laws so that the individual police officer can be charged openly as an ordinary person would. And such officer should be discharged from duty while any investigation is going on," Sadiki said.

Protocol change

In the aftermath of Mario's murder, the national security and justice ministers expressed regret and offered condolences to the Deane family. The ministers also sought and received advice from the attorney general on whether a protocol could be put in place to prevent the police from seeking to arrest persons for possession of small amounts of ganja.

Following the advice from the attorney general, the national security ministry on Tuesday said a new protocol is being put in place for persons charged with minor ganja offences such as possession of small quantities of ganja.

New arrangements

Under the new arrangements, the police will be required to issue summons to violators of the law as long as a justice of the peace (JP) is available.

In the event that a JP is not available, or if the offender is unable to provide identification or is unable to be identified by other means, the police can take him to a police station until identification can be verified.

"Once identification is verified, the person should be granted bail on his or her own recognisance," the national security ministry said.

The new ganja protocol also said that if a person is arrested for minor portions of the weed offences but is being investigated for other serious offences, that persons will be given bail with conditions, or be remanded in custody.

Deane was arrested by police stationed at the Barnett Street Police Station in St James for possession of a ganja spliff, which he considered a misdemeanour. He was denied bail twice and place in a cell where he was beaten, allegedly by prisoners, resulting in his death.