Unjust Tivoli Enquiry!
THE EDITOR, Sir:
The Tivoli Enquiry got off to an unexpected and disappointing start. Those of us watching via television got the impression that the victims of the incursion were being victimised all over again, as the learned lawyers forced them to relive the traumatic events they experienced during the Tivoli incursion.
The Independent Churches of Jamaica (ICJ) is appalled at the numbness and insensitivity with which the lawyers representing the Jamaica Defence Force, Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Government have approached this enquiry. It seems, to those of us watching on TV, that the lawyers are angry and adversarial towards the Tivoli residents who have already suffered physical, psychological, emotional and financial damages, and are intent on denying them any compensation for those damages.
The ICJ is appealing to the lawyers to be balanced and sensitive in your quest for truth. Please bear in mind that these people's lives have been forever changed by the Tivoli incursion.
It was the State that failed to effectively capture and arrest one man, but instead left more than 70 dead and hundreds broken up, beaten up and shot up.
ICJ believes that whoever was responsible for the physical violation of these poor people is irrelevant at this point in time. The reality is, the conditions and cause for these violations were created by the State. The State must now make every effort to bring healing and restoration to a community that has experienced much suffering. If this enquiry is not about helping the victims to pick up and start over with some sense of dignity, then the exercise will mean nothing to them.
We pray that, as we move forward in the coming months of this enquiry, the investigations will be conducted in a more civil spirit, and with respect for the residents of Tivoli Gardens.
REV ORVILLE H. RAMOCAN
Director in the Office of the President
Independent Churches of Jamaica