Friday, April 25, 2014

Tivoli COE: Publish JDF Report on Tivoli

The Jamaica Defence Force has a duty to the people of Jamaica to publicize the truth of its operations in Tivoli Gardens in May 2010.That inconvenient truth ought not to wait on the announced Commission of Enquiry to provide a forum for its promulgation.

Since May 2013 the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) has stated categorically that the Interim Report tabled  by the Public Defender contained  "numerous unfortunate conclusions drawn on the basis of unsubstantiated allegations, misrepresentation and uninformed analyses" 
The Gleaner, Monday, May 6, 2013

The JDF is a professional organisation that enjoys a special place within public confidence. It is duty-bound to maintain that position. It is imperative that  the JDF places its record in the public domain to, at the very least, provide an alternative to that posited by the public defender concerning its operations in the "Tivoli incursion/siege". Currently the public has only that Interim Report  detailing some of the events that garnered international publicity and ultimately precipitated the fall of the incumbent political administration.

In short, the JDF must make its criticisms of the Witter Report public; documenting the unsubstantiated allegations, identifying the misrepresentations and presenting  better informed analyses. Nothing less will suffice.

The JDF cannot now seek the cover of the "SECRET" classification or the "national security interest" umbrella. It needs to provide detailed substantiation.
   
                                         Curtailing the Circus

Media coverage of the proceedings of a Commission of Enquiry can attract  a captive audience enthralled by the cameo performances and the courtroom drama. However, there is a huge financial cost and the forum is not conducive for incisive analysis.

The tabling by the JDF of its  detailed response to the Public Defender's will provide  very important background information that will have a direct bearing on the conduct of the COE. It will save time and expense.

The provision of such a Response ought not to be a challenge. 

  • The then Chief of Staff is now the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Security. As such he is the defacto Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence .
  • The Prime Minster is the Minister of Defence
  • All sensitive national security matters have to receive special clearance from the duly constituted authourity
  • The presentations by the JDF before the Tivoli COE would have to receive such clearance in advance.
It is suggested that the process be implemented now as the delay must involve, inter alia,   deterioration of the public confidence in the JDF as the positions enunciated in the Public Defender's Interim Report become more difficult to correct, adjust or dispel.

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