Tivoli Enquiry: I lost $1 million in west Kingston operation - witness
Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
A resident from the west Kingston community of Tivoli Gardens has recounted how a member of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) placed a rifle on his shoulder and walked behind him as he searched for other persons in his home.
Troy Palmer was testifying this morning before the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry into the 2010 police-military operation into the Tivoli Gardens stronghold of convicted drug kingpin Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.
Palmer, who operated two shops in the community, complained that throughout the incursion he lost more than $1.3 million in goods from his business places and personal items that were in his home.
He testified that on the morning of May 24, 2010, he was standing near a window in the second floor apartment of his Ebenezer Lane home when he saw soldiers on the roof of the Coronation Market and policemen walking along Spanish Town Road.
Not long after, he said, the soldiers began firing in the direction of his home and other areas in the west Kingston community.
"A whole heapa shot a fire all 'bout the place so I go back in di house to get cover," he said, noting that in several instances he heard what he described as bombs.
He said later two soldiers used their weapons to destroy the lock on one of the two shops he operated in the community and went inside and drank water.
Palmer said one of the soldiers then came to his apartment and asked if he was alone.
"Den him put the rifle pan me shoulder like this an' a search the place,"he said as he demonstrated the soldier's actions.
Palmer said he was then taken to building 40, also in Tivoli Gardens, where he saw about 40 other persons, some of whom he knew from the area.
He said he was kept there for several hours before everyone was transported to the National Arena, where he was held for four days before being released.
Responding to questions from attorney-at-law Valerie Neita-Robertson, who is representing the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Palmer admitted that he knew Christopher 'Dudus' Coke as the leader of the 'Presidential Click' and area don for Tivoli Gardens.
However, he insisted that he saw noone, except members of the security forces, firing guns in Tivoli Gardens.
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