Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Dudus was an 'ordinary' resident of Tivoli

Published:Thursday | December 11, 2014 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett
Jermaine Barnaby/Photographer Attorny-at law, Michael Lorne.
Rudolph Brown/Photographer Linton Gordon, attorney representing the Jamaica Defence Force at the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry, at the Jamaica Conference Centre, downtown, Kingston.

Eight days into the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry, one of the attorneys for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has taken issue with what he has described as the contrasting evidence being presented.

According to Linton Gordon, the testimony of nearly all Tivoli Gardens residents at the enquiry, have sought to give the impression that the west Kingston community was a "peaceful, law-abiding" area at the time of the 2010 police-military operations to capture then area don Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

On the other hand, he noted that the commission has heard evidence that then Prime Minister Bruce Golding used a nationwide broadcast to announce that there were elements inside Tivoli Gardens at the time who posed a threat to the nation's security and that this was the reason for the limited state of emergency that was imposed.

"Something is wrong in the dichotomy of the evidence and I am trying to get at it to see what it is about this community, what is its antecedents, its history and why there is this dichotomy," Gordon argued.

Former dons

Gordon's assertion came after the attorney for the Public Defender's Office Michael Lorne interrupted his cross-examination of long-time Tivoli Gardens resident John Green about some of the former dons for the west Kingston community.

Responding to questions from the JDF attorney, Green testified that Claudius Massop, Mark 'Jah T' Coke, Lester Lloyd Coke, more popularly known as 'Jim Brown' and Dudus were "ordinary citizens" of Tivoli Gardens, but Lorne wanted to know the relevance of that line of questioning.

"How does that fit into the terms of reference, which is dealing mainly with the events of May of 2010?" Lorne questioned.

Gordon, in his response, insisted there was a need to explore the reason for the "dichotomy" in the evidence to test the credibility of the residents.

"So that this commission can understand whether or not there is credibility in the evidence of the citizens who are all speaking of this glorious, peaceful community that the very MP [former member of Parliament Golding] order an attack to be launched on it. There must be a reason for it," he asserted.

Earlier in his testimony, Green recounted that at one point during the operations, he saw a "white-ish" truck near his Tivoli Gardens home with several dead bodies inside.

"The truck full a dead bodies like meat. You know when you kill cow and throw dem inside deh," said Green, even as he acknowledged that he could not say how many bodies were in the vehicle.

The commission also heard evidence from a businessman who recounted how soldiers took over the west Kingston business place he operated with his mother and left damage assessed at just over $12 million.

The witness said soldiers occupied the building for some six weeks before it was returned to him after he had retained the services of attorney-at-law Bert Samuels.

He said when he eventually gained access to the establishment, he saw damage to several pieces of equipment, some of which had bullet holes, and that some items were missing.

The businessman said he later retained the services of an accountant, who assessed the total damage at $12 million.