Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tivoli COE:That JDF Welcome

The Tivoli "incursion/siege" was a military-driven operation. That is another way of stating that The Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) played the central role in the planning and implementation of the exercise. It follows that any investigation into the armed confrontation between the civilians and members of the Security Forces must involve analysis of the veracity of the information informing the strategies which were considered,the options which were available, the factors informing the decisions taken, as well as the the nuts and bolts of the actual operation carried out.

 The need for unbiased military expertise cannot be disputed. What is subject to debate is the formal role to be accorded to such skill set. Our position is that should be accorded the position of Commissioner reflecting the importance and centrality of such to the Commission of Enquiry aimed at unearthing the truth, irrespective of its inconvenience--political and otherwise. Others are of the view that such expertise can be made available to the COE to advise the Commissioners.

 We would counter arguing that such expertise would incur a substantial financial cost, unless underwritten by a "friendly"  foreign government or institution.It would be financially prudent not to incur the cost of a Commissioner in addition to that of the unbiased military expert.In sum, the GOJ should seek the services of such an expert and appoint that individual as the replacement for Velma Hylton QC.

 With an announced budget of JA$100M,the GOJ is obliged to get value for the tax-payers' money. The general public is very cynical of the motive, timing and possible outcomes of yet another Commission of Enquiry.

The Security Forces have welcomed the proposed COE. That welcome was in early May 2013.It will be soon the first anniversary of the announcement and there is yet to be any indication of the commencement date.[Note: Guyana Government announced a COE into the death of Walter Rodney some thee decades after the event]

 The reported welcome by the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) leaves little doubt as to challenge ahead.
The Jamaica Observer, Tuesday, May 07, 2013 :

"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. 
 "These (allegations), if left without rigorous and objective investigation, may give the wrong impression of the force and the men and women who put their lives at risk for their fellow citizens daily. We support the decision, therefore, as we believe that such a commission of enquiry will be conducted with the appropriate rigour and objectivity that will shed light on the facts, and help to paint a true picture of the circumstances surrounding the May 2010 operation," the army said in a statement. 
 The JDF added that it was confident that the May 2010 internal security operation could stand up to objective scrutiny, and that it looked forward to the commencement of the commission of enquiry."

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