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GG could get West Kingston Enquiry report today

Published:Wednesday | June 8, 2016 | 10:01 AM

Livern Barrett, Senior Gleaner Writer

The report of the west Kingston commission of enquiry could be handed over to Governor General Sir Patrick Allen today, government insiders have revealed.

According to government sources, the commission has already contacted King's House to request an appointment for the hand over.

"The report is ready. They have been printed, bounded and they are just waiting for delivery to the Governor General," one source revealed.

Officials at the commission have declined to comment, explaining that they have strict instructions not to discuss the report.

The commission was appointed by Sir Patrick in February 2014.

The appointment came after the then Portia Simpson Miller Cabinet accepted a recommendation by the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) that a commission of enquiry investigate the events in west Kingston in May 2010.

PHOTO: Governor General Sir Patrick Allen

The OPD, in an interim report to Parliament, revealed that 74 civilians and one member of the Jamaica Defence Force were killed in west Kingston in May 2010 during joint police-military operations.

The operations were aimed at capturing then fugitive Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, who was wanted on an extradition warrant.

The three-member commission, chaired by former Barbados Chief Justice Sir David Simmons, heard testimony from 94 witnesses over 90 days, beginning in December 2014, before wrapping up public hearings on February 19 this year.

PHOTO: West Kingston Commission Chairman Sir David Simmons.

Golding, along with several senior members of his administration, high-ranking police and military officers and residents of west Kingston were among the 94 witnesses who testified before the tribunal.

Retired army chief Major General Stewart Saunders admitted, during his testimony, that he authorised the use of mortars during the operations and that a total of 37 were fired into three open spaces inside Tivoli Gardens.

PHOTO: Major General Stewart Saunders

Despite assertions by residents that "bombs" were fired into their community, the army had initially denied that explosives were used.

Simmons indicated then that the tribunal would not be afraid to make strong findings where necessary. At least four police officers and an undetermined number of military personnel have since been informed of adverse findings against them.

"We will make strong findings where we have to. We won't shirk our responsibility," Simmons said at the time.