Tivoli Enquiry: Golding in shock as evidence reveals date of US surveillance request
Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
The West Kingston Commission of Enquiry this morning heard evidence which appears to confirm that a request for aerial surveillance was made days before former Prime Minister Bruce Golding says he communicated such a desire to the United States Embassy in Kingston.
An email passed to the commission by attorney-at-law Lord Anthony Gifford, who is representing the Office of the Public Defender, appears to show that on the 19th of May 2010 the United States agreed to provide the Jamaican Government with surveillance tracking support over the west Kingston community of Tivoli Gardens.
The email, purported to have been written by then US charge d'affaires in Jamaica, Isiah Parnell, also indicated that the US assistance would include a Department of Homeland Security aeroplane and that it would be used over Tivoli Gardens where it was believed, then fugitive, Christopher 'Dudus' Coke was hiding.
Golding testified on Monday that he did not make a request of Parnell for aerial surveillance until May 25, 2010 and that he did not ask for an aeroplane, instead expecting satellite imagery.
Asked by Gifford if he could assist the commission with the difference in the dates, Golding said: "I need assistance myself."
"That is very surprising to me because in discussion on the 25th with Mr Parnell he did not tell me a request had already been made and approved," the former prime minister and minister of defence testified.
He suggested that the commission should take an interest in whether a request was made of US authorities by the Government of Jamaica on May 19, as claimed in the email, and that it was important to determine who made the request.
Golding said the ministries of foreign affairs and national security were the agencies that would normally make such a request and that, as far as he was aware, they did not do so.
"That was never brought to my attention," he said.
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