Thu | Jul 9, 2020

MPs should apologise to west Kingston residents and Jamaica - Thwaites

Published:Thursday | December 7, 2017 | 12:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Ronald Thwaites
Andrew Holness

Member of Parliament for Kingston Central the Reverend Ronald Thwaites on Wednesday called on those who were responsible for the conditions precedent to the events of May 2010 in west Kingston to also apologise to the residents, and by extension, the Jamaican people.

Responding to an apology by Prime Minister Andrew Holness in Parliament to the residents of Tivoli Gardens, members of the security forces, and by extension, all Jamaicans, Thwaites asserted that the current members of Parliament have to apologise for "those who have no apology".

Arguing that "justice must never be involved in revisionist history", Thwaites said the call for an apology begged the question, "What are we apologising for, and who must apologise?"




In a strident but passionate presentation, Thwaites declared: "I apologise to those who suffered unnecessarily. I apologise for the political culture of which all are a part and none can escape. But some must take more responsibility than others in particular circum-stances where they acted either by action or by default in creating the greatest massacre of the Jamaican people since 1865."

Prior to the so-called Tivoli Gardens incursion in May 2010, then Prime Minister Bruce Golding accused the United States government of using illegally intercepted telephone conversations as the basis for drug and weapons-trafficking charges against then west Kingston strongman Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

Golding, who in early March of 2010 responded to a scathing report from the US Department of State said in Parliament that the Government would not extradite one of its citizens without being provided with a stronger case.

"This event, which we are now apologising for - and apparently paying compensation for again - this event did not start in the circumstances and in the time frame covered by the commission of enquiry."

Thwaites charged that for more than a year, the State of Jamaica, led by its Government, "incubated a serious international criminal, who, when he was finally apprehended, never even underscored the protestations of innocence that the leaders of this land had accorded to him, to our general and communal peril over that period of time, but he pled guilty abjectly."

... 'I stand here with a clean heart'

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, responding to the demands of Ronald Thwaites that more people must apologise for the 2010 Tivoli incursion, said that he was one of the first government ministers, if not the first politician, who entered Tivoli Gardens after the incursion.

"I stand here with a clean heart and a clean mind, acknowledging my own responsibility, not just as prime minister, but as you said, as a member of the [then] Cabinet," Holness said.

He apologised unreservedly for the events of May 2010, which left 73 people dead. A member of the security forces was also killed.