First hearing in Tivoli Enquiry gets underway this morning
Jamaicans will begin hearing firsthand accounts of the events in West Kingston that led to the deaths of more than 70 people in May 2010 when a commission of enquiry into the operation by the security forces starts today.
Hearings are scheduled to start at 9:30 a.m. and end at 4:30 p.m. each day at the Jamaica Conference Centre in downtown Kingston.
Acting Public Defender Matondo Mukulu says his office expects that the Tivoli commission of enquiry will represent a watershed moment for Jamaica.
He says his office is confident that the commissioners will get the lawyers to be courteous to all witnesses as it produces an enquiry that all Jamaicans can be proud of.
There had been initial concerns that residents of Tivoli Gardens were being discouraged from providing witness statements.
However, the Commission has recently reported an increased number of residents coming forward.
An interim report by the Office of the Public Defender revealed that 76 civilians and one soldier was killed in the May 2010 operations to capture then fugitive Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.
At the time Coke was wanted on an extradition warrant issued by the United States.
He is now serving a 23-year sentence on racketeering charges.
Retired Court of Appeal Judge, Justice Hazel Harris, University of the West Indies Professor, Anthony Harriott and former Attorney General of Barbados Sir David Simmons will preside over the proceedings.
Sir David will chair the enquiry.
Maria Jones is the secretary to the commission while, Queen’s Counsel Garth McBean and Symone Mayhew are counsels.
The Commission has been asked to conclude the enquiry within three months and make a full report and recommendations within two months of the end of the enquiry.
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