Monday, January 19, 2015

Tivoli COE: Publish Compensation Details

 The recent outpouring of consternation about the financial  costs being incurred by the Tivoli Commission Of Enquiry is understandable in the context of competing national priorities. These  are being neglected, in part, due to financial constraints imposed upon and by the Ministry of Finance in conjunction with the International monetary Fund (IMF).

The Minister Of Justice, Senator Mark Golding, has stated on radio ("This Morning" on Nationwide) that "close to a $1 billion" has already been spent, primarily by the Ministry Of Labour & Social Security, in the aftermath of the Tivoli incursion/siege.
Member of Parliament, Desmond McKenzie, has refuted that amount ; countering that the "sum of $100 million" was the amount tabled in a report to the Parliament by the Minister of Labour & Social Security.

Now there is a world of difference between the amounts being stated as having been spent on Tivoli Gardens residents by the JLP Administration. More importantly, the amount spent is taxpayers' money.

Clearly whatever is the amount that was expended it is clear that;
 (a) it is deemed insufficient compensation for the damage caused by agents of the state; and
 (b) that the PNP Administration is not keen to devote additional sums to a JLP garrison, for actions              undertaken during a JLP Administration, ostensibly aimed at apprehending a JLP don.

The argument has been made that money being spent for the Tivoli COE could have been better spent on compensating the victims, repairing the damage done to physical structure and providing economic opportunities in Tivoli Gardens.

Additionally, there is also the view that, given the national financial constraints,  little or nothing will be left for the victims after the Tivoli COE has been completed. It is therefore critical that the budget for the Tivoli Commission of Enquiry be finalised and published.

The Government of Jamaica (GOJ) has an obligation to publish the complete details of the sums paid out in the aftermath of the Tivoli incursion. The taxpayers have a right to know how the money was allocated, the claims that were made, the proportion which were settled, and the details of the damage recognised as being occasioned by the security forces.

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