Tue | May 23, 2017

Parliament fails to examine INDECOM reports

Published:Saturday | June 13, 2015 | 6:00 AMRasheda Myles
National Security Minister Peter Bunting
INDECOM Commissioner Terrence Williams
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Head of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) Terrence Williams said Parliament has failed to review four reports containing serious concerns about the use of deadly force by members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF).

He said INDECOM's expect-ation that Parliament would invite the oversight body to discuss its reports has not materialised.

"When we make a report, I expect that we are to be called to Parliament, particularly when they are [reports of] disputed issues," said Williams.

The INDECOM boss contended that a serious review of the com-mission's reports could have led to changes in the law.

The police oversight body has sent four reports to Parliament for review within the past five years. He told a joint select committee of Parliament reviewing legislation governing INDECOM that one of the four reports that was sent to Parliament outlined approaches to safeguard the right to life, while other reports looked at issues of demanding accountability and confronting challenges the JCF faces.

LIMITED RESOURCES

National Security Minister Peter Bunting said Parliament is challenged by the lack of resources to effectively review reports from its commissions. He also said that members of parliament are appointed to

a number of committees,

with some having ministerial responsibilities as well as carrying out their duties to their constituents.

"They [parliamentarians] do not have the support staff," Bunting said.

Williams maintained that if the third report sent to Parliament was addressed, deaths in police custody would have been ameliorated or reduced.

"After the third report, there were notorious cases which could have been prevented if conduct was reformed earlier," Williams said.

The third annual report also recommended less lethal weaponry for members of the JCF.

"We still see cases where having less lethal weaponry, deaths or [use of] deadly force would not have occurred," said the INDECOM commissioner.