Not interested in dramatics, says Panton - Tivoli Compensation Committee has no desire in working under media spotlight
The operations of the three-member West Kingston Compensation Committee will not be conducted under the glare of cameras, nor will it be guided by any strict rule of procedure, if chairman of the committee, retired Justice Seymour Panton, gets his way.
Panton made the declaration during a press briefing held yesterday at the offices of the Ministry of Justice.
He said he and the other members of the committee were happy to take up the justice minister's offer for them to serve.
"As faithful citizens of Jamaica, we were happy to accept the minister's invitation. It has to be clearly understood that we are a committee, not a court, so we will not be guided by any strict rule of procedure," Panton said.
"However, our recommendations for compensation will take due note of the law."
He continued: "Our work will not be done under the glare of cameras, nor will the general public have access to our deliberations. Our work involves the affected parties, their legal representatives, and the relevant witnesses. We are not interested in any dramatics. We wish to receive, in a calm atmosphere, truthful statements and evidence, written or oral, from those who have suffered losses."
Where the interests of minors are involved, Panton said the appropriate state agency would be invited to assist.
The committee was set up to investigate and determine the value and credibility of claims brought against the State by aggrieved persons coming out of the events of the May 2010 West Kingston operations conducted by the security forces to capture then fugitive Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.
The committee's other two appointed members were approved by Cabinet last week. They are ministers of religion, the Reverends Rennard White and Herro Blair Jr.
Experienced litigation attorney Carlene Larmond will serve as legal adviser to the committee.
They will review cases where claims have already been filed, cases where preliminary compensation has already been awarded and which will be reassessed, and cases where no claims have been made to date.
Persons who have not yet filed for compensation should do so within the next month.
Coming out of the West Kingston Commission on Enquiry, one of the recommendations made in the commissioner's report was that residents of West Kingston must be compensated.
The Government considered the recommendation as the right thing to do and, therefore, set up a compensation committee to act on the recommendation.
The first meeting of the committee was held following the press briefing.
It is expected that the committee should complete its work within nine months, as recommended by the Simmons Commission.