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Compensation could come to West Kingston residents within nine months

Published:Wednesday | October 19, 2016 | 10:00 AM
Tivoli Gardens resident Juan McCarty speaks about the death of her two sons in the Tivoli incursion in 2010 when she and scores of others marched up on Gordon House on Tuesday May 27, 2014, in their bid to deliver a letter to then Prime Minister Portia Simspon Miller.

Residents of west Kingston are one step closer to knowing if they will be compensated, and by how much, for the May 2010 police-military operation in their communities that left a trail of death and destruction.

The Government has established a Compensation Committee to investigate claims of losses arising from the operation in west Kingston.

The committee is to be chaired by retired president of the Court of Appeal, Justice Seymour Panton.

The Government says the other members will be named soon, adding that the committee's work should begin by the end of this month.

The setting up of the body is in keeping with recommen-dations made by the commission of enquiry into the operation.

Cabinet has instructed that the Compensation Committee complete its work within nine months of its appointment as was recommended in the commission of enquiry report.

The West Kingston Commission of Enquiry had concluded that residents of west Kingston who were impacted by the police-military operation be compensated fairly and promptly.

"Since there already exists in the possession of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Office of the Public Defender a substantial body of relevant and useful documentation relating to loss and damage of property, we do not envisage that this recommendation will involve a protracted exercise," the commission report read.

Previously, the Government, through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, paid out nearly $100 million to residents of west Kingston who were displaced as a result of the operation.

The ministry has said that the money was not compensation but was paid in response to humanitarian needs.

Meanwhile, the Ad Hoc Committee of Cabinet, which was set up by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, has submitted reports to the Cabinet providing information on the progress of the ministries of Justice and National Security in implementing 14 of the 15 recommendations.

It is expected that the final report of the Ad Hoc Committee will be made before the end of this month.

That report will form the basis for statements from the prime minister, and the ministers of justice and national security to the Parliament.

Holness established the Ad Hoc Committee in June to examine and review the recommendations of the Commission of Enquiry and advise the Cabinet on the way forward.