Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Don't let up, public defender

Published:Monday | January 19, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:It is commendable that the newly appointed public defender, Arlene Harrison Henry, has placed as immediate priority the commission of enquiry into the west Kingston security operation of 2010, during which at least 76 Jamaican civilians died over a period of alleged abuse and terror inflicted on the residents of Tivoli Gardens.

It has also been reported that the public defender has indicated that every effort is to be made to ensure that the truth is uncovered and that justice is served.

In respect of getting to the whole truth, Ms Harrison Henry may wish to determine from the outset why the Jamaica Defence Force was less than forthcoming in respect of the firing of mortars and the involvement of a United States (US) surveillance plane.

If the US were, in fact, involved with the operation, the public defender would, it is believed, be able to obtain video footage from American authorities that might also be useful in uncovering the whole truth.

In addition, one of the lawyers for the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) has already inferred or served notice that the evidence that will be brought for, and on behalf of, the JCF will show the atmosphere under which the security forces had to operate within Tivoli and the threat confronting them.

It is equally important for the public defender to obtain evidence for the commissioners to determine how this impacted the planning and conduct of the leaders and security personnel. For instance, were they all so 'fired up' on a war footing that exuberance and excesses got the better of rationality and good judgement that was contrary to their training and required discipline?

Let us also hope the commissioners will receive the intelligence provided to the commanders so they can independently assess whether the troops were adequately trained to carry out their mission.


Retired JDF Colonel