Public defender says list of equipment damaged and missing from drum corps presented three years after operation
Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer
Public Defender Earl Witter has questioned the delay in providing his office with the list of drum corps equipment reportedly damaged or missing.
According to Witter, the list of missing and damaged equipment of the internationally famous drum corps was made available only after he tabled his report in Parliament.
Responding to a story published in The Sunday Gleaner last week of damage to the equipment of the Tivoli Gardens Drum Corps during the 2010 security forces operation in search of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, Witter said the individuals quoted in the story were unknown to his office.
"On the specific issue, the report to the Office of the Public Defender was signed by Norman Washington Robinson.
"This is the person known to our office. We have no knowledge of Stalin Williams and (Neville) Sloley whom you quoted," Witter told The Sunday Gleaner.
Witter said the issue was contained in the Public Defender's Report in the category labelled 'dormant', because data required regarding replacement cost, an itemised list and proof of the damage was not provided for three years.
Witter's report on the 2010 Tivoli Gardens security operations was delivered to Parliament earlier this year.
"That was the position for the three years preceding the presentation of the report. None of them provided a report. It is my view that a lot of cajoling was involved in the preparation of this list," argued Witter.
He said he was moved to call one of the community's political representatives to enquire why that position was not used to encourage individuals to provide the list earlier.
Just under two weeks ago, Williams, who said he was director of the drum corps, charged that when they were allowed access to the Tivoli Gardens community centre, one month after the operation by the security forces, they found that goods and musical instruments valuing more than $1.3 million were missing or destroyed.
Williams noted that the police and soldiers were the only ones with access to the community centre, but accepted that the matter was not reported to the leadership of the security forces.