Mon | Jan 21, 2019

So soon after Mario Deane

Published:Thursday | December 4, 2014 | 12:00 AM

We are surprised that so soon after the Mario Deane affair, two inmates were killed in a police lock-up in Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, allegedly by a fellow inmate.

Mario Deane, we remind, was a 30-year-old construction worker who, three months ago, was arrested for possession of a marijuana cigarette and held in a lock-up in Montego Bay. Initially, the police claimed that he was beaten by two fellow detainees who were charged with murder. INDECOM, the agency that investigates alleged abuse by the security forces, subsequently charged police officers in relation to that incident.

In the face of the public anger over the Mario Dean incident, the authorities, including National Security Minister Peter Bunting, announced new protocols of the management of lock-ups, including measures to reduce overcrowding and to prevent weapons from finding their way into these facilities.

Yet, only last week, the acting public defender, Matondo Mukulu, raised concerns about the insufficiency of searches of prisons and lock-ups for contraband, including weapons. Then on Tuesday, Mosiah Morgan and Romario Reid were stabbed in a cell at the Savanna-la-Mar Police Station. A third man was injured in the same incident. Incredulously, Mr Reid was injured, apparently in the same cell, only the week before.

Mr Bunting owes Jamaica a full statement about the status of his policy on lock-ups, including whether it is being implemented, and if not, why.