LETTER OF THE DAY - Enquiry needs data from US
THE EDITOR, Sir:
In his article, 'US has role to play in Tivoli enquiry', published in The Gleaner on January 29, 2015, United States (US) journalist Mattathias Schwartz states that it is essential that the information held by the US government form part of the enquiry into the events of May 2010. Mr Schwartz is correct.
In their 2013 submissions to the Ministry of Justice on the draft terms of reference (TOR) for the commission of enquiry, both Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) and the Jamaica Civil Society Coalition (JCSC) recommended the inclusion of a TOR that dealt specifically with the involvement of, and information held by, foreign states or agencies:
JFJ Item 20: "The assistance, if any, requested of and/or provided by any foreign state or agency before and during the state of emergency, and the examination of any material in any form produced as a result of that assistance."
JCSC item (r): "Ascertain and enquire into any assistance, inclusive of personnel, received by the GOJ from any foreign governments and/or agencies and examine any material evidence arising from such assistance."
The Jamaican Government did not think it necessary to include such a TOR, as can be seen from the final TORs promulgated. It is possible, perhaps, to enquire into such evidence under one of the other TORs, but it would be interesting to know why the decision was made to exclude a specific TOR dealing with this aspect of events.
Schwartz comments: "A US State Department spokesman told me yesterday that the United States has not been asked to assist in the commission of enquiry." The commission should be encouraged to make a direct request for information from the US government and should ask the Jamaican Government, the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force to provide it with all evidence of the involvement of the US and any other foreign state in the events of May 2010.
Without such a line of enquiry, the commission will be incomplete.