Tue | Feb 20, 2018

INDECOM gets warrant to search JDF headquarters

Published:Wednesday | January 20, 2016 | 3:21 PM

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has obtained a warrant to search the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) headquarters at Up Park Camp for mortars and information related to their use during the 2010 police-military operations in Tivoli Gardens.

Major Basil Jarrett, the head of the JDF Civil-Military Cooperation Unit, says the military is aware of the warrant.

According to law enforcement sources, INDECOM is also in possession of a number of summonses for several members to appear before the body for interviews.

It was unclear when the search warrant and summonses were issued, but sources told The Gleaner Online that they were obtained using information uncovered during the ongoing west Kingston Commission of Enquiry.

However, before INDECOM could execute the search warrant attorneys for the JDF went to court seeking to block the search.

The matter came up before Justice Bryan Sykes in Chambers this morning.

Despite claims by several residents of Tivoli Gardens that they heard "bombs" during the May 2010 operations to capture drug kingpin Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, the JDF initially rebuffed the claims.

However, testifying before the Sir David Simmons-chaired tribunal, former JDF Chief of Defence Staff Major Stewart Saunders acknowledged that he ordered the use of mortars and that a total of 37 were fired in three open spaces in the west Kingston community.

Stewart and JDF Mortar Control Officer Major Warrenton Dixon defended the use of the mortars saying there were used to create a diversion for gunmen who were engaging members of the security forces in fierce firefights and to keep women and young children in-doors and out of harms way.

"It's unfortunate that 70-odd persons lost their lives in there, but I believe strongly in my heart that the use of the mortars saved a lot of lives and I am proud of it," Dixon testified last month.