Sun | May 16, 2021

Ronald Thwaites | Tivoli: Will there be closure?

Published:Saturday | June 4, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Ronald Thwaites
Marjorie Williams, mother of Fernando and Fabian Grant, who were allegedly killed by police and soldiers during the Tivoli incursion in 2010, bursts into tears as gave testimony at the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry in September last year.

Consider the news last week of a lawsuit filed on behalf of the estates of two casualties of the 2010 Tivoli incursion (some call it a massacre) in which soldiers and policemen are alleged to have executed the victims.

The horror that should be expected from a civilised society at such allegations has been absent. It is as if we have forgotten, or worse, that it doesn't matter. Do Jamaican lives value so little after all?

Several more suits are likely to follow. The relatives of everyone who died will doubtless make claims which, if proven or settled, will have to be paid by us, the taxpayers. They will likely take years to be completed. The authorities will see to that. These court actions are the best hope for some restitution for the Tivoli carnage.

Without prejudice to the report of the commission of enquiry and in the hope that the commissioners will address these questions, one is bound to ask why the Tivoli incident happened anyway.

How did the political and social enclave develop? Who sponsored, nurtured and tolerated it? When it took on a criminal character, apparently immune from effective police action and with an increasing capacity to undermine the Jamaican State, which of us in authority took exception, let alone purposeful redress?

For the almost a year when the United States extradition request was known and the Government tried to forestall it by all sorts of pseudo-legal gymnastics, where should the responsibility lie?

For it was this dithering about human rights not starting at Kingston 6 and the deliberate and persistent protection of the Shower Posse that eventually and inevitably festered into the deadly burst carbuncle of May 2010.

In consequence, nearly 80 sacred human lives were sacrificed. Compare the response of colonial society over the 1865 Morant Bay Rebellion to ours over the intervening years.

What was happening in Cabinet during this time? Many of those who sat there then are the same humans who are sitting there now. They need to explain themselves.




The prime minister, the minister of finance and several others who ask the nation to share trust and partnership now, they would have to have been privy to the security details, the national endangerment, the international scorn which the Coke issue occasioned.

What have they got to say? Far above issues of legal liability or political expediency, what do their consciences impel them to recount, explain or regret, so that truth may prevail, innuendo end, and closure come?

A chronic sense of injustice fuels much of our criminal and antisocial behaviour. Healing and reconciliation, not recrimination and denunciation, are the desperately needed outcomes.

Those in power must come clean. We should not glide over this one if we don't want it to happen again.The court processes and the expensive reams of testimony at the Jamaica Conference Centre alone won't cut it.

- Ronald Thwaites is member of parliament for Central Kingston and opposition spokesman on education. Email feedback to