Sunday, May 13, 2018

DEA: Contracts with GOJ

Christopher 'Dudus' Coke  reputedly had tremendous wealth, powerful financial and commercial connections locally and internationally.The actual amount, nature, extent and location have never been made public.The proceeds of his drug running would have been strategically laundered with the assistance of shell companies strategically based in facilitating jurisdictions; business and property holdings arranged so as not to reveal the beneficial owner; and wherever possible, business conducted on a cash or barter basis.

Coke had many business associates cum partners and substantial contracts with the Government of Jamaica (GOJ). The full extent of his business relationships with the GOJ has never been made public or verified. Nationwide News Network gave some indication of the number of contracts and the spread of government agencies involved:

“Records from the Office of the Contractor General show that Incomparable Enterprise, a company owned and operated by Tivoli Gardens don, now fugitive, Christopher Dudus Coke received more than 60 government contracts between 2006 and 2010. The contracts are valued at more than 219 million Jamaican dollars.
•The Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation, the KSAC, awarded Incomparable Enterprise a total of 20 contracts between 2006 and 2009. The 20 contracts are valued at more than 36 million dollars.
•The National Solid Waste Management Authority, the NSWMA, awarded Coke’s firm 13 contracts between 2008 and 2009 valued at more than 25 million dollars.
•The National Works Agency, the NWA awarded it 8 contracts, with the most recent being February 15 this year. The most recent contract from the NWA was valued at more than 10 million dollars, bringing the total value from 2006 to this year to almost 75 million dollars.
•The Urban Development Corporation, the UDC, awarded Incomparable 4 contracts between 2008 and 2009 valued at approximately half a million dollars.
•And the Ministry of Water and Housing also awarded 3 contracts to Incomparable Enterprise in 2009. They were valued at 32 million dollars.
•The Factories Corporation of Jamaica also awarded Incomparable 3 contracts last year valued at 12 million dollars.
•And the list continues: The Early Childhood Commission, the Southeast Regional Health Authority, the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission, the Ministry of Education, the Kingston City Center improvement Company and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust were the other government agencies awarding contracts to Incomparable Enterprise. These contracts were valued at just over 48 million dollars.”
(Source: Nationwide@5, June 4,2010)

Thursday, May 10, 2018

DEA: Memorable Quotes

The Dudus Extradition Affair (DEA) produced some memorable quotes which were repeated ad infinitum in nearly every discussion of the topic. The mass media had a field day and some of these quotes were accompanied by attempts at animation which may or may not have been part of the narrative.

Below are a few which will bring back memories of those who watched the televised version:

Prime Minister Bruce Golding:

“ Now, I know that perhaps it is politically expedient to say, well, it’s Coke, or it could have been Mathews Lane strongman, Zeeks, or it could be any of these. I am not defending the wrongdoing of any person, but I will say this, If I have to pay a political price for it, I am going to uphold a position that the constitutional rights do not begin at Liguanea. That’s not where they start.(Applause)
(Source: Hansard, Kerr 3:50 02. 03. 10)

“There are applications that go to the Minister, the Minister has to examine it. The Minister cannot shut her eye and sign it, she has to examine it. She has to satisfy herself that it is in keeping with the procedures that are provided in the treaty and in the Act. If a Minister having examined it, recognizes that it is supported by evidence that was unlawfully obtained, disclosed or used but still proceeds to sign it, she should immediately sign one other document, her resignation. I don’t know how one would condone an Attorney General signing something that she knows is rooted in an illegality.”
(Source: Hansard, Byran 02. 03. 10 3:35)

COP Hardley Lewin:

“ I tried to solicit the Minister’s attention to the extradition request and to seek his assistance in finding out just what the issues are, what is the hold up with the process being followed through. He informed me that it’s a matter for the Minister of Justice. I tried to say, well, then Minister can you help or find out, the Minister then said to me “ CP, you don’t understand, this matter could cause the government to collapse.” I said, “Oh”, and that was the very last time I mentioned anything about this extradition request to the Minister or any other member of the administration.”
(Manatt COE, February 4, 2011)

K.D. Knight QC (alias ‘Starboy’):

“You are a pathological mendacious person”

“He was referring to what you said, the ruling you made and laughed. He has a pathological condition when it comes to telling the truth and I am suggesting to you that you have misled, you have conspired and you have deceived the Parliament, the people of this country, and the Enquiry, this Commission, the Diaspora and every Jamaican, and that you Prime Minister, should pack your bags and go”.
(Manatt COE, Thursday March 31, 2011)

The Dudus Extradition Affair (DEA)

The extradition of Christopher 'Dudus' Coke represents the most significant challenge to Jamaican statecraft to date. Political memories are short. It can be argued that the system is so designed that what has been politically embarrassing is conveniently forgotten. In this series attempts will be made to highlight some of the most potent aspects of this affair.

 The Government of Jamaica (GOJ) has issued a formal apology to the residents of Tivoli, the members of the security forces and everyone that was involved in this sordid affair.The omnibus nature of that apology makes it completely meaningless and insincere. Furthermore, none of the main players involved in the decision-making processes, or the actual operation, has made an apology or even expressed regret. From their perspective, their actions were completely warranted and justified by the perceived threat to the Jamaican state.

Extradition off Christopher Coke involved among other things:
*death of 69-73 persons,
*declaration of a limited state of emergency,
*resignation of the prime minister,
* use of mortars on a civilian population,
*armed intervention against the state,
*hiring of a law firm to lobby the US government in an inter-state matter,
*resignation of a Senator from the incumbent regime,
*initiating two (2) commissions of enquiry,
*payment by the state of damages incurred,
*the killing of Mr. Keith Clarke at his residence in Upper St. Andrew resulting in three (3) members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF)  being charged with murder,
*involvement of a US military spy plane apparently without the knowledge and consent of either the Minister of National Security or the Minister of Defence (the Prime Minister),
*military assistance provided by the USA to the Jamaican security forces risked being suspended under the Leahy Vetting Amendment due to reports of Human Rights violations.
*public awareness of secret Memoranda Of Understanding between the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) and the Government of the United States of America (USG) concerning electronic surveillance and the use of information gathered from such activity.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Constitutional Reform: Recognize Political Parties

The Constitution of Jamaica is silent on political parties: yet they have played crucial roles in elections to the Parliament and are now governed by regulations requiring them to be registered. It is time to end this hypocritical "political laundering".

This silence facilitates the practice of"crossing the floor" by elected representatives in Parliament, without any consultation/approval of the constituency affected and any guidelines or consequences stipulated in the Constitution.

The MP, for whatever reason--ranging from disagreement with the party leader/president, unsatisfied political ambitions to sheer political opportunism--simply crosses the floor in Parliament and takes a seat amidst the enthusiastically welcoming colleagues. The is usually accompanied by a letter of resignation from the former party and some release from the other stating that the application for membership was approved by a specially convened meeting of the appropriate sub-committee. Indeed a member can "cross" and "re-cross" without any constitutional consequence.

The possibility (as distinct from the probability) of a member switching sides has a number of significant consequences for the party president/ leader's ability to enforce party discipline and distribute portfolio responsibilities according to proven capabilities.The effects are further leveraged in a situation of narrow electoral margins and the proposed party agenda.

The Constitution of Trinidad and Tobago provides a template for one constitutional consequence, namely the seat becoming vacant:

Section 49(2) states that a member of the House of Representatives shall also vacate his seat in the House where;
(e)"having been a candidate of a party and elected to the House, he resigns from or is expelled by that  party."

Section 49A provides for a procedure consequent on the vacation of seat where member resigns or is expelled.

Certainly this should pique the interest of the PNP President and the JLP Leader, as both political parties have had very telling experiences of members who have crossed the floor. The changing political landscape may facilitate a greater frequency.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Constitutional Reform: Do Not Wait

Former Prime Minister in an article entitled "The unfinished business of constitutional reform" The Jamaica Observer, Sunday, April 22,2018 listed among the "other matters which continue to languish although full agreement was reached" the requirement that only citizens of Jamaica are eligible to sit in Parliament.

Given the acknowledged voter apathy, the cost of a referendum ($1b), the technicalities of the wording and the prolonged procedures involved, it is hereby suggested that both major political parties give effect to  agreement reached on the eligibility issue. This can simply be done by the adoption of candidacy guidelines that reflect such and  followed by internal vetting of likely candidates for the elections and nominees to the Senate.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness indicated the current regime's position on the "dual citizenship debate" in the St. Mary by election, October 2017:

"But afterwards, we have to figure out now, because some important questions are raised. Should someone who is not a Jamaican, who doesn't hold a Jamaican passport, should that person sit in our Parliament and make laws for you? And that is an important question that needs to be answered. We have to ensure that Jamaican citizens are in our Parliament, and that people who are not sworn to other powers and other countries, that have obligations to other countries, are not in our Parliament making laws for us."

PM Holness needs to instruct the Attorney General to ensure that the JLP  Parliamentary representatives are in conformity and the General Secretariat to ensure that future JLP candidates and nominees do not run afoul of that edict.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

PNP Campaign Funds Scandal: Horn(e) and Bulls....

The rub of the Horne Report is the debt collection; that it is somehow critical that "all of the Comrades who collected funds from private sector and other entities, to make a full, transparent, and confidential account of all of the funds  received to the Treasury and the Officers of the Party"

  • Given the lack of trust in both the Treasurer and the General Secretary, as noted by party historian Arnold "Scree" Bertram, there is no chance that the call would have been heeded.
  • Furthermore, Horne stated that senior members were involved in the diversion of funds intended for the Party, then it would be safe to assume that some of those implicated would be part of the officer core.
  • What would be the sanctions or incentives to those implicated to turn over the funds in a "full, transparent, and confidential account"?
  • Is there an inherent conflict/tension between "transparency" and "confidentiality"?
The stated purpose of this exercise is that such funds "can be applied to all outstanding debt". It is therefore essential that the validity of those outstanding debts be established. 

For example: 
  1. Was the appropriate authority given in the process of incurring such debt? 
  2. Are the debts in question properly documented? 
  3. Are the sums subject to interest and are the interest rates "reasonable" in all the circumstances?
  4. Is there any conflict of interest between those advancing the monies and those authorizing/approving?
There is no evidence provided that outstanding balances are in excess of the Party's debts. Accordingly, there is no guarantee that anything will be there to be applied to the budget for the Local Government Election which is overdue.

Aside from the election defeat post mortem and the pandering to polite notions of transparency, accountability, and integrity, this entire episode seems to be nothing more than a last ditch effort  to get the party ( the financiers thereof) to liquidate some of the substantial debt the Party is said to have incurred.

What on earth is "a financially independent PNP" that the Horne- led Treasury is committed to building? Bulls... 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Campaign Funds Scandal: PNP 'getting horn(e)'

 PNP Treasurer, Norman Washington Horne, made a report to the party's NEC which was "leaked" to the media. Horne's report identified challenges faced by the treasury which in his view played a critical role in the  2016 election defeat. These were:

  • Fragmented political leadership, multiple non-cohesive and disjointed campaigns being run by distinct groupings and individual members of the party;
  • Senior members in the government were actively sourcing funds from the private sector for the sole benefit of their personal campaigns;
  • Contributions earmarked for the Treasury were made to senior party members who neither reported or accounted in full, or even in part, for receipt of those donations;
  • The decision not to debate exacerbated the difficulty in raising funds resulting in "a last minute cash investment and infusion into the JLP." 
In sum "there was not one central bank but several  banks; some of which had more resources than the Treasury." Horne's considered position is worthy of note:

"Necessary funding could have been strategically diverted to marginal constituencies, which seemed to have required just a little more financial support to get them over the hump. Had there been a cohesively executed campaign, with the Treasury being the central bank and the recipient of the bulk of the resources, then it is highly likely that we would have won the election and been in government today."

The Horne Report was not accepted by the NEC; ostensibly because the Treasurer was off the island and therefore not available to provide clarification. However, the Report has revealed nothing that was hitherto unknown to political parties. In fact, candidates are often left to fend for themselves with little or no financial assistance coming from the Treasury.

Horne imposed a Friday, July 29, 2016 deadline for those balances to be transferred to the party's central account "so that it can be applied to all outstanding debt and the balance thereof to the budget for running of the Parish Council Election."

Horne's remedy poses more serious issues as the Treasurer would then wield awesome powers and
morph from being the Party's banker into the Chief Financial Officer. Such would be similar to that exercised by a Deputy President. Furthermore, there is considerable doubt surrounding the necessity for the Treasury to be the recipient of the bulk of the funds to underwrite an election victory.

The Real Reason

 In a piece entitled "Whither The PNP?". The Gleaner, Sunday   September 4, 2016 Arnold "Scree" Bertram, noted PNP historian, has shed some light on the real reason for Treasury  experiencing a starvation of funds:

"What is at the heart of what is currently perceived to be a scandal is that for the first time, the leader of the PNP has used her influence to install a treasurer and a general secretary, neither of whom enjoys the level of confidence within the party that such positions require. Private-sector donors know this and have chosen to hand over their contributions to the party officers who they trust rather than those designating themselves as official channels. In addition, very few, if any, of the 63 PNP candidates want either the present general secretary of treasurer to be involved in the receipt and allocation of campaign donations."

The Office of the Contractor General (OCG) has launched a probe into the PNP campaign-financing scandal

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Tivoli COE: Tipping off Coke seemingly of no moment

The alerting of Christopher "Dudus" Coke to the imminent extradition request by the United States has featured in two COE; firstly in the Manatt COE and now the Tivoli COE. Regrettably, not much light has been shed, even though Manatt COE generated much heat on the topic.

The Tivoli COE  failed to further the investigation and therefore added nothing to the pool of information already in the public space. Garnett Roper writing in The Gleaner, Sunday, August 14, 2016 noted that there is no mechanism to hold those of the political class accountable for abuse of power, bad governance and "announcements that tipped off Coke so that Tivoli could be armed and barricaded and 300 gunmen recruited to declare war on the Jamaican state".

The "tipping off" formed the basis of ToR (N) and ToR (O) and was disposed of in Chapter 12.[See our posts: Tivoli COE: Diddly Squat (1) and Tivoli COE: Diddly Squat (2)] Nevertheless, there is a rather curious treatment of the evidence of the then Prime Minister, especially in light of the rather hostile treatment meted out  in Manatt COE to the proposition that a number of individuals had the information and identified individuals had possession of the authenticated documents during the period under review.

Chapter 12, Part 2  focusses on the authenticated/confidential documents relating to Coke's extradition purportedly found at the offices of the Presidential Click. Interestingly, there is a sub-heading Mr. Bruce Golding with the following:

12.26   In the course of his evidence-in-chief, Mr. Golding was questioned with specific reference to Term of Reference (O).He told the Enquiry that he had learnt, from media reports, that copies of affidavits and other confidential documents relative to the extradition request, were found at Coke's offices. In answer to Mr. Braham Q.C., Mr, Golding said that he had no knowledge of the circumstances under which the documents came to be at Coke's offices.

12.27     But Mr. Golding further said-
 "I am not sure what documents were found but documents relating to Mr. Coke's indictment    were universally available. They were posted on the website of the Southern District Court of New York two days after the extradition request was received. I myself became aware of that listening to a radio station quoting from documents and indicating how they had sourced it. I went on the website myself and the documents were there to be downloaded."

Without more, the Commissioners engineered the following Finding

12.30    We find that Mr, Golding had no personal knowledge of the documents relating to the request for Coke's extradition. We also accept that Mr. Golding saw documents relating to the Coke's indictment on the website of the Southern District Court for New York. Since the documents were freely available on the website to the world at large, any person
 (including Coke ) could have downloaded them.

Maybe it is just a typographical omission; but there is a world of a difference between having no knowledge of the circumstances under which the documents ( whatever they might have been ) came to be at Coke's offices and "having no personal knowledge of the documents relating to the request for Coke's extradition". Surely Bruce Golding had personal knowledge of the documents relating to the said extradition.

The Commissioners elected to shrugg off the foundations unearthed in the Manatt COE . Since Coke himself could have downloaded the documents from the said website, then that's the end of the mater.

 Suppose the documents found were copies of authenticated documents that went through the official governmental channels.Probably that is why they are conveniently missing, lost or destroyed.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Tivoli COE: Diddly Squat (2)

Part 2 of Chapter 12  of the Report has not done diddly squat to clarify "whether copies of affidavits and other confidential supporting documents attached to or related to the request for extradition of Christopher Coke were found in coke's offices, and the circumstances under which and purposes for which those documents came to be there." ToR (O)

The evidence is that a copy of what appeared to be Extradition papers ( in a rolled up state) was found by a member of the Engineers, JDF, and handed over to a police officer who has since emigrated  after resigning from the JCF. 

The said papers could not be found.

The finding JDF officer could not identify the contents of the papers which were found in a drawer.

" It said something like " The Federal Grand Jury of New York" and Coke's name was mentioned.. I recall the papers had been rolled up. We had to unroll it...    It may have been more than one sheet."

 Findings 12.29
"Nevertheless we find that a set of papers relevant to the extradition of Coke was found by the JDF at his offices at Presidential Click......
"We find that those documents found by the Engineers related to the extradition request although we are unable to identify each document specifically.
" In the absence of evidence from Coke himself, it is impossible to determine the purposes for which he had the documents or how he received them."


  • So the Commissioners were unable to say (i) if those papers found were copies of authenticated documents; (ii) if they were copies of affidavits and other confidential supporting documents attached to the Extradition Request of Christopher "Dudus" Coke.
  • Furthermore, did the Commissioners seek to ascertain which officials of the GOJ had possession and custody of the said documents throughout the period under review?
  • Is it really "impossible to determine the purposes for which Coke would have gotten copies of the supporting documents related to his extradition in the absence of Coke himself giving evidence"?
  • Given the security operations which were activated during the period Coke was in custody, was there the remotest of probability that Coke would have been expected to give evidence before the COE?
  • Even if video conferencing would obviate the need for Coke's physical presence, why would Coke be willing to facilitate the Tivoli COE
Part 1 deals with whether there was any communication between any official of the GOJ and Christopher Coke during the period 24 August 2009 to 22 June 2010-- ToR (N).

Tivoli COE: Diddly Squat (1)

Chapter 12 of the Report of the Western Kinston Commission of Enquiry is a complete waste of time and added nothing to the pool of information already in the public space. Simply put, it is "diddly squat".
Chapter 12 purports to address (i) the issue of any communication between any official of the GOJ and Christopher Coke during the period 24 August 2009 to June 2010; and (ii) matters concerning the search for and discovery of documents at Coke's offices by the security forces. See our post " Tivoli COE: Diddly Squat (2)"

                                    GOJ Officials Communicating with Coke

"12.15   On the evidence adduced to the Commission of Enquiry ,we find that there was no direct communication during the period 24 August 2009 and May 2010 between Christopher Coke and any official of the Government of Jamaica. The evidence of Coke being "tipped off" on 24 August 2009 after the Heads of the security forces informed the Prime Minister and the Minister of National Security of an imminent request for Coke's extradition, is not of a quality that could leads us to make any finding of communication between Coke and any official of the GOJ."(emphasis added)

Certain observations are unavoidable:

(a) The Commissioners have adopted a courtroom approach in a criminal trial in which the judge merely acts on the evidence adduced. Thus any inadequacy is placed directly on those charged with the responsibility of adducing the evidence, in this case Commission Counsel.

(b) There seems to be an overly pedantic approach. Obviously Coke was "tipped off".
Common sense  ( utilized by the Commissioners later ) leads one to conclude that it would be rather reckless for any official of the GOJ to be in direct communication with Coke. Hence surrogates would have been employed by both sides and coded messages utilized.

(c) There is evidence available from the Heads of the Security Forces that Coke was under "surveillance " and was being "monitored"for some two weeks before the period under investigation.

(d) In the absence of a belated confession from a GOJ official and traces of telephonic communication from the locales of the Ministry of National Security and Vale Royal around the material times, then this was an exercise in futility.

Friday, August 5, 2016

Tivoli COE: Intelligence MIA

The Commissioners have in their report highlighted the glaring fact that the enquiry was severely hampered by the absence of pertinent reports from the intelligence units of the security forces which were operative during the May 2010 debacle.

Chapter 13 : "The circumstances under which the fugitive Christopher "Dudus" Coke managed to elude arrest during and after the operation by the security forces of Jamaica in Tivoli Gardens and related areas in May 2010, and the circumstances of his capture," ToR (P) made the telling admission in its Introduction

"31.1   The sources of information and evidential foundations of this Chapter are largely based on testimony of members of the security forces. We received no direct evidence from the Heads of Intelligence units or any self-acknowledged Intelligence units or analysts except for DCP Hinds. However, we were provided with opinions or assessments, formed by officers in light of the Intelligence reports supplied to them."(emphasis added)

The Commissioners have not revealed if any attempts were made to get such direct evidence from the intelligence units and the responses received. Furthermore, on what basis  could the Commissioners have formed the impression that the opinions or assessments formed by the officers who gave evidence before the COE were in fact influenced by the reports supplied to them? Indeed it not unexpected to justify actions based on "intelligence supplied at the time"
 The telling absence of Intelligence reports apparently forced the Commissioners to indulge in some curious reasoning resulting in unsubstantiated "Findings" mixed with a sprinkling of beliefs.
For example:

13.40 " Cogent evidence of Coke's presence in Tivoli Gardens is thin and inconclusive. We have only the evidence of members of the security forces as to the contents of Intelligence Reports" 
However after reviewing the testimonies of CoP Ellington, DCP Hinds, Maj. Williams, the Commissioners found that the information given to CoP Ellington was "patently incorrect".

13.41 "We are bound to conclude that the Intelligence reports of Coke's presence in Tivoli Gardens on 24 May were wrong or, at best, unreliable. Certainly, it is clear that Intelligence available to CoP Ellington was wide off the mark"
After purporting to use 'commonsense' the conclusion was reached that "The Intelligence on which CoP Ellington was "operating" was wholly erroneous."

13.44 " We are unable to make any findings as to how Coke escaped, We listened to the theories advanced by CDS Saunders and Maj. Williams and CoP Ellington but such evidence is speculative. In the result, the probative value of such theoretical evidence is of little or no assistance."

The Findings relating to the capture of Coke is a classic. Being devoid of Intelligence Reports and having taken the decision to avoid the risk of prejudicing the trial of the Rev. Dr. Merrick "Al" Miller, the Commissioners sought refuge in belief:

13.54 " We believe that he was able to avoid capture for 29 days because of the power of his vast criminal organisation which must have provided support systems for him."

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Tivoli COE: Paul Ashley's Recommendations

The Report of The West Kingston Commission of Enquiry 2016 has been made public. There has been widespread discussion in the public space as to the value-added of this enquiry. The Gleaner, July 12,2016 reported that " The Government has put the full cost of the enquiry about $450.8m". The cost of 'high-powered" lawyers representing state agencies has gained  notorious attention.

The Commission invited members of the public to submit proposals which would be taken into consideration in its Report. A list of the persons who submitted Memoranda of Recommendations is published in Appendix 4. It would have been useful if the public was afforded easy access to such memoranda which may, or may not, have found favour with the Commissioners.

Below is mine which was submitted on January 6, 2016:

                                      Subject: Proposed Recommendations from the Public

   1. The Establishment of a dedicated web-site

There is a substantial amount of pertinent information on the security operations in West Kingston (mainly Tivoli Gardens) in May 2010 that has not been admitted into evidence for a multiplicity of justifiable reasons.
Amongst that mass are some that where excluded because they were basically duplicitous and added nothing new to areas adequately covered by previously admitted testimonies.
It is being proposed that this dedicated website would be an official depository of all material information—disclosure of which would not breach confidentiality and public interest immunity.
Such would be easily accessible to all at no cost; provide an invaluable research tool; and be a reliable source of official information.
Should contain inter alia: Terms of   Reference, concise bios of the Commissioners, names of the Secretariat and supporting staff, names of the 76 deceased, budget, verbatim notes of the proceeding, all exhibits admitted into evidence, the Final Report.

   2. The immediate cessation of the practice of destroying/commandeering the “personal papers” when a member of the political directorate has demitted office.

It has been revealed that “personal correspondence” to the then Minster of National Security has been burnt under the direction of the Permanent Secretary in accordance with the established practice.
Even more glaring was the removal by the out going Prime Minister of official correspondence sent to him whilst in office.
This information belongs to the public of Jamaica and must be preserved in the event of judicial, quasi-judicial or historical enquiry.
Whereas in certain circumstances the Member could be provided with copies of the documents so requested, under no circumstances whatsoever should the originals be destroyed or be in the possession of the Member.

   3. Ballistic Profile of Firearms.

The ballistic profile of all firearms acquired be the Security Forces (JDF & JCF) as well as those acquired by private security firms must be recorded before the firearms are assigned.
In the situation where the firearms are already in use, then the ballistic profiles must be obtained within 60 days from the date of the Final Report.
The ballistic profile must be securely archived by the units involved with copies stored under the auspices of the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Justice.
In the case of private security firms, compliance with the ballistic profile requirement will be a pre- condition for the granting/renewal of their operating licence.

   4. Protocol Governing the operation of a Commission of Enquiry

A Commission of Enquiry (COE) should normally be commissioned no later than 12- calendar months after the start of the event(s), which will form the main subject matter of its investigation.
Where the COE is commissioned after the 12- month period, then all pertinent documentation must be sequestered under the auspices of the Commission Counsel as a matter of urgency.
The Secretariat must be fully operational for at the very least 1- calendar month prior to the commencement date of public hearings.
The duration period of the public hearings must be precisely stated—consecutive working days, consecutive calendar months, or total number of days of public hearings (It is untenable for a 3-month enquiry to last some 14 months due to the interpretation of it being 90 non-consecutive working days).

Monday, April 18, 2016

Tivoli COE: Impractical timelines

The Tivoli COE was mandated to have its public hearings conducted within a 3-month time period. The Commissioners exceeded this time span and did so without seeking the appropriate extension from the Governor- General.

Two concerns come readily to mind:

  •  Having ignored the protocol, what is the legal status of the public hearings conducted after the stipulated time span had expired? and 
  • What were the circumstances that accounted for the overrun and where such unforeseen and/or unavoidable ?

i) We are not in a position to state definitively if the overrun has altered the legal status of the public hearings conducted after the stipulated 3-month. Having not sought or obtained the extension, then it would seem that an argument could be made that the public hearings conducted after the expiry of the mandate would have no legal standing. Hence, the Commissioners would be barred from taking into their consideration any evidence given after the expired date. Consequently any adverse findings based on evidence deduced after the expiry date would have no legal effect. In other words the Tivoli COE acted ultra vires for the subsequent period.
The ramifications of such a position would be catastrophic to say the least.

ii) The only official reasons given for the Tivoli COE non- compliance with its mandate can be found in the Chairman’s closing remarks. However, his reasoning was more instructive:

“Because our Instrument of Appointment referred to three months for the public hearings there seems to be a view that we could have done this enquiry in three consecutive months.  I want to disabuse the public's mind of the appropriateness - just one minute please, I wish to disabuse the public's mind that these enquiries can be satisfactorily conducted in that manner.”

Note the admission that the Instrument of Appointment stipulated three months. The Chairman interpreted that to mean 90 non-consecutive working days. And has congratulated himself (along with others) on such an achievement:

“It has been, I speak for all three of us of course, in these remarks, it has been intellectually challenging and at the same time highly rewarding if at times emotionally draining, but we have completed within the 90 days. Today is the 90th day. I feel very proud of that myself because the Instrument which appointed us from His Excellency the Governor General asked us to complete this hearing within 90 days.”  

Again the Governor General stipulated 3 months; and not 90 non-consecutive working days. This is critical for using the Chairman’s interpretation, the Tivoli COE could have lasted, not 14 months but considerably longer.( see our Tivoli COE: 3-month enquiry lasts 14 months)

After itemizing a number of reasons why the Tivoli COE could not be conducted within 3 calendar months or even within 90 consecutive working days, the Chairman revealed that the stipulated time frame was impractical from the very beginning:

“I am just saying that it is really an impractical solution to expect that 
these things could be done in 90 days on the troth.”

 We have no reason to question the reasons advanced by the Chairman. We are left to wonder if the much-experienced Chairman could not have raised this issue with the appropriate authourities so that the Instrument of Appointment would have accorded with the reality.

But having proffered his unusual ( albeit expedient) interpretation, the Chairman then proceeded to remind his audience of the exact reference for the submission of the report:

"And I further direct you to report to me in writing within two months after concluding the Enquiry the result of such enquiry and to furnish to me a full and faithful report and recommendations of the proceedings." 

 However, the Chairman has made it abundantly clear that this two-month deadline is “an extremely tall order”.

“But however, it turns out we are hoping if we cannot make the 20th of April, no longer than two weeks thereafter.  So by the middle of May, I hope that we will be in a position, I hope all things being equal, no unforeseen circumstances to have the report ready.”

We wish to re-emphasize the point that it would have been tidier if the Chairman had had some input at the earliest time so that the timelines stipulated would have accorded with the reality. That not being the case, then the Chairman should have adopted the appropriate protocol and sought an extension.

We await April 20,2016--- with reduced expectation that the report could be delivered sometime in mid-May 2016.