Still no Tivoli report from Earl Witter

Published: Wednesday | January 16, 2013 Comments 0

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

Despite an assurance given by Speaker of the House of Representatives Michael Peart, that Public Defender Earl Witter's report into the 2010 incursion into West Kingston by the security forces would be tabled in Parliament yesterday, the document was not laid.

Prior to the start of yesterday's sitting of the House, two Government MPs - Dr Morais Guy and Julian Robinson - enquired of House Leader Phillip Paulwell if he has seen the report and were told he had not.

As the hours went by it became clear that no report would be forthcoming. When Clerk to the Houses of Parliament Heather Cooke read the list of items laid on the table of the House, one hour and 40 minutes after the start of the sitting, the Tivoli report was not among them.

"I had expected to receive it in time for it to be tabled today, but from the latest communication I have from the public defender within the hour, he is unable to provide us with the complete document," Peart said in response to a question asked by Leader of Opposition Business Delroy Chuck.

Peart had told The Gleaner that he had got the assurance from Witter that the long-delayed report would have been delivered to Parliament in time to be tabled yesterday.

Investigation ordered

In the meantime, Chuck has asked Peart to carry out an investigation at the Office of the Public Defender in response to reports of concerns related to staff dissatisfaction.

"As you know, the public defender is a commission of Parliament and sadly, there are reports of major problems at his office. During my time as Speaker, there were problems at his office," Chuck said in Parliament yesterday.

He added: "I urge you to seek to investigate the reports that are emanating from his office because it is a very important commission of Parliament and it is important that, not only his promise in terms of the presentation of his report, but also the problems that we hear emanating from his office need to be investigated."

The public defender has been under pressure to present his report nearly three years after the Tivoli incident.

In May 2010, members of the security forces went into Tivoli Gardens in search of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.

Coke was wanted for extradition to the United States to face gun and drug-related charges.

Members of the security forces and thugs loyal to Coke traded fire in intense gun battles, leaving more than 70 people dead.

The security forces also said they recovered dozens of guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition.

Residents accused members of the security forces of extrajudicial killings and destroying their homes and businesses.

At that time, the Office of the Public Defender said it received more than 700 complaints of excesses by the security forces from residents.

daraine.luton@gleanerjm.com


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