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Set up three-month enquiry for Tivoli - Ashley

Published:Tuesday | May 14, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Edmond Campbell, Senior Staff Reporter

ATTORNEY-AT-LAW DR Paul Ashley is of the view that under colonial rule if "76 mongrel dawgs and a puss" had been killed, a commission of enquiry would have been promptly established, let alone 76 humans.

His comments come as the Portia Simpson Miller administration mulls decisions on the terms of reference for the proposed enquiry and the selection of commissioners to carry out the task.

Ashley, in a Gleaner interview yesterday, suggested a panel of three commissioners headed by a retired judge.

The attorney wants a deadline of three months to complete the enquiry and noted that the panel should be allowed to submit an interim report before completing the final document.

To avoid delays and possible cost overruns, Ashley said the enquiry should be conducted in the mornings, nights and weekends if necessary.

In terms of sequencing, the attorney suggested that the enquiry start from the surrender of former Tivoli Gardens don, Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, to the Keith Clarke killing, and then to the Tivoli operation.

However, Ashley made it clear that there was no need to reinvent the wheel in terms of Public Defender Earl Witter's extensive report.

"The commission of enquiry should not attempt to retrace or replicate the work of the public defender," Ashley said, adding that it should complement his investigation.

avoid culpability

He cautioned that the proposed commission of enquiry should avoid delving into the culpability of members of the security forces in relation to persons killed during the operation.

"We don't know who shoot who. The only way we can get this information is via the forensics. The proposed commission of enquiry must avoid trying to go into the culpability based on forensics because the forensics are not yet in," he said.

He pointed out that matters dealing with criminal culpability should be turned over to the DPP.

Ashley wants the focus of the enquiry to be state-centric, looking at the options considered by the decision-makers, the intelligence informing such decisions, the challenges real or imagined faced by the security forces and the operational imperatives.

"The ultimate aim is to ensure that appropriate mechanisms and systems are put in place to mitigate as far as is possible any recurrence of this debacle," he added.

Ashley's critical queries for the Tivoli commission of enquiry

What factors prevented the apprehension/detention of Coke even as a suspect?

Could Coke have been apprehended outside of Tivoli before the decision was made to extradite him?

Was the blunt Tivoli intervention the only option considered?

What intelligence information determined the manner of the assault?

What factors informed that decision and what was the intelligence?

What was the role of the United States in providing surveillance?

From how early was the so-called US spy plane here, and did it operate before May 24 when the Jamaican Government formally requested its intervention?

Was Christopher 'Dudus' Coke tipped off and by whom?

Did the security forces track Dudus from Plantation Heights right into Tivoli and could they have stopped him?

Could the massacre have been prevented?

When were the security forces informed that Dudus was no longer in Tivoli and did they have any means of tracking him to where he went for refuge?

Where was Dudus tracked to?

Was Dudus provided safe housing?

What was the ongoing relationship between Rev Al Miller and the security forces?

What were the mechanisms and arrangements for detainees and processing?

Were they treated in a humane fashion and what were the monitoring mechanisms and supervisory roles and functions and who were in charge?

Did the state provide medical assistance where necessary?

Did the state implement measures to secure property in Tivoli?

Was there pillage by the security forces?

What factors account for the non-response to the Keith Clarke's wife's call for help on 119?