Wed | Nov 29, 2023

Calls renewed for tighter security after IC director shot

Published:Friday | September 22, 2023 | 12:09 AM
The parking lot in New Kingston, where Ryan Evans, a director of the Integrity Commission, was shot and injured and his briefcase stolen on Thursday morning.
The parking lot in New Kingston, where Ryan Evans, a director of the Integrity Commission, was shot and injured and his briefcase stolen on Thursday morning.

Ryan Evans, a director at the Integrity Commission (IC), was shot in the car park near the agency’s offices in New Kingston on Thursday morning after men on a motorcycle accosted him and stole his briefcase.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Fitz Bailey said preliminary investigations have suggested that robbery was the motive.

According to Bailey, the senior IC employee withdrew a large sum of money from a financial institution in Liguanea and travelled to his office in New Kingston, where he was attacked.

His injury is not considered life-threatening.

Bailey said he has assigned a senior investigator from the Criminal Investigation Branch to probe the incident.

Evans is the director of corruption prevention, stakeholder engagement, and anti-corruption strategy at the IC.

In a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, on Thursday, the IC said: “Circumstances which surround the unfortunate event which occurred today a member of the Integrity Commission’s leadership team are under investigation by the police. The commission will, therefore, not make any comment on it.”

The commission, however, stated that it wished to make it clear that neither it nor its executive director was conveying any blame on the Government for the event.

“To the extent that this is being suggested, it is not the case. There are a number of security-related issues that the commission has been in communication with the Government about,” the IC stated.

Greg Christie, the executive director of the IC, earlier on Thursday was asked by reporters what his thoughts were about the shooting. In a terse response, he said: “Ask the Government that.”

Minister Andrew Holness described the act of violence as appalling. He said the Government remained committed to supporting the work of the IC and would take all necessary steps to ensure the safety and security of its staff.

Opposition Leader Mark Golding for the authorities to provide additional security for the members of the IC as they fight corruption on behalf of the country. He suggested that staff be assigned close-protection officers when appropriate.

Golding told The Gleaner that he was hearing for the first time on Thursday that the IC had been trying for some time to get the Government to make additional arrangements for security for the commission and its staff, particularly those who are at risk.

“I am told that they have reached out to the commissioner of police, they have reached out to the prime minister, and no satisfactory arrangements have been put in place thus far, and now we have the incident today,” he said.

Golding noted that whatever might be the cause of the shooting, the director “was obviously vulnerable”.

“The fact that the request for heightened security or additional security has gone unheeded by the Government, to me, is consistent with the way the Government has been treating with the Integrity Commission,” he said.

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica and the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association also condemned what it called “an appalling attack of violence”.