Tivoli Enquiry: I was told that mortars were being used to cause distraction - Golding
Livern Barrett, Gleaner
Writer KINGSTON, Jamaica:
Former Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Bruce Golding says he had no prior knowledge of the use of mortars by members of the security forces during the May 2010 operations in the west Kingston community of Tivoli Gardens.
However, in more than an hour on the witness stand at the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry, Golding said he had received numerous reports from residents that mortars or "bombs" were being used in the operations.
He said he raised the issue with Chief of Defence Staff at the time Major General Stewart Saunders, who informed him that "these were not incendiary devices."
"That they have more bark than bite," he said of Saunders' explanation.
According to Golding, the then army chief indicated that the mortars were being used to cause distraction.
"My understanding was that it was more a shock and awe effect that the military was seeking to get," the former Prime Minister explained.
In explaining his lack of prior knowledge of the use of mortars by the military, Golding said that was not within the remit of the Defence Board, which he chaired at the time.
"The Defence Act places the operational functions of the (Jamaica Defence) Force squarely on the Chief of Defence Staff", Golding testified under cross examination.
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