Friday, April 25, 2014

Tivoli COE: JDF vs. The Public Defender

A showdown looms between the Jamaica Defence Force(JDF) and the Public Defender. The battle lines are drawn.

The Public Defender has tabled in Parliament its Interim Report on the "Tivoli incursion/siege". That has been the subject of discussions in the local and international media, the choice topic of social media and is available on the GOJ Parliament website.

The JDF has not officially responded to the adverse findings contained in Witter's Report. Indeed Earl Witter had led the public to expect a Final Report. However he has since retired and the only question is whether or not he has "packed up taken his marbles with him".

The JDF has thrown down the gauntlet and signaled in no uncertain terms the approach it intends to adopt during the Tivoli Commission of Enquiry:

"The JDF, meanwhile, said that it welcomed the opportunity to respond to "numerous unfortunate conclusions drawn on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations, misrepresentation and uninformed analyses" in the public defender's report."

                                     Command Performance      

Before making public such a damning statement, the JDF-- being a professional army-- must have:

  • Read, studied and analysed in meticulous detail the Interim Report
  • Identified the areas of adverse findings concerning its operations during the Tivoli incident
  • Retrieved its documentary records and researched its files in order to substantiate its positions
  • Carefully considered the implications for  public confidence, if indeed it should fail to deliver on its promise 
The Office of The Public Defender is not likely to issue a Final Report in light of the numerous personnel changes in the recent past. The impression was that the Interim Report was that of Earl Witter.  Indeed , if in the very unlikely event that a Final Report is tabled in Parliament, it would only annex the long awaited Ballistic Reports.

Given the looming showdown it would be advisable that the Office of the Public Defender set mechanisms in place to "defend" its adverse findings against the JDF.The showdown promises to be dynamite for live media coverage, streaming to the international audience and gist for social media.

Lawyers will be acutely aware of the media coverage. They will make sure that their presence is duly seen. Apart from carefully orchestrated interventions,special care will be accorded to sartorial elegance. 
[My friend Victor Wilson, the bespoke tailor, could do with the increased business.]

But the circus can be curtailed.


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