Lambert Brown gets flak for death squad comment
President of the Senate Tom Tavares-Finson on Thursday urged Opposition Senator Lambert Brown to withdraw an assertion that police officers involved in the so-called death squad cases are in jail because, among other things, they took a stance against criminals.
"I also propose, President, that the Cabinet should urgently agree to pay the lawyer fees for the police officers who had stood up against criminal elements," said Brown. "Today, there are policemen in jail (who) can't have their trial because the lawyer fees have not been paid, but we were quick to pay money to people who we must now report to the Fraud Squad for cars."
Misleading the Senate
Senator Charles Sinclair charged that Brown was misleading the Senate. "I cannot see (how) that can be the reason why anyone is in jail because there are persons who don't even have attorneys who get bail. So it must be some other reason," said Sinclair.
The president argued that "there is no policeman in jail now because he stood up against criminals". He told Brown that he would request the Hansard, the official verbatim record of the proceeding. Brown said that a decision to retract the statement would be made after he saw the Hansard.
Tavares-Finson added: "I know about the attorneys, I know about the difficulties. That matter is before the court. The police are before the court, or a policeman or two police persons are before the court on very serious charges. Just leave it."
According to Justice Minister Delroy Chuck, the attorneys representing the policemen have rejected the payment offers made by the Government, and the matter is ongoing.
The so-called death squad comprises 11 police officers who were charged with murder and other offences by the Independent Commission of Investigations. Police Corporal Roan Morrison and Constable Collis 'Chucky' Brown were acquitted of murder and wounding with intent in February 2017. Brown is still before the court on another charge.