Saturday, February 21, 2015

Tivoli COE: Test Dudus' Escape Theories

The Tivoli Commission of Enquiry has been informed by both the then Minister of National Security, Dwight Nelson, and the then Commissioner of Police, Owen Ellington, that the security forces had no idea how, if and when the fugitive Christopher "Dudus" Coke escaped the dragnet imposed on Tivoli Gardens in May 2010.
Nelson too admits the there are a number of theories; but he does not believe that the security forces "know for a fact" how Dudus managed to evade capture.

Theories:
  1.  Coke never left  Tivoli Gardens during the military- police incursion;
  2. Coke escaped via tunnels constructed as waste water drains -- exiting at a gully in Hannah Town;
  3. Coke escaped on land disguised as a female.  

ET #1:
This seems very unlikely given the intensity of the searches conducted by the security forces. Indeed if Coke had remained undiscovered during the military-police operation, then there would be no need to risk being discovered by venturing outside of his 'safe haven'.

Surprisingly, neither the then Minister of National Security nor the then Commissioner of Police gave any indication  that Christopher Coke could simply have left Tivoli Gardens before the start of the operations, say on or before May 23, 2010
Indeed if Dudus could have been "alerted" as to the imminent extradition request; and if he had watched the PM Bruce Golding's National Broadcast on May 17-- which indicated that the Authority To Proceed was going to be signed, he would have simply  moved (at his convenience) to an adjoining area and used cell phones and proxies.

ET #2:
 COP Ellington gave some credence to the theory that escape could have been via the notorious "Tunnels of Tivoli" by displaying slides of a tunnel during his testimony. Ellington, in response to quest for clarification, asserted that security personnel had traversed the unblocked tunnel which in fact exited in a gully in Hannah Town.

The legend surrounding this escape route needs to be tested independently. Sometime ago, a Commissioner of Police attempted to enter one such and experienced great difficulty aborting further attempts.
  • The Tivoli COE should explore this "theory"-- utilising a man of physical built  similar to Dudus and other gunmen who would have also escaped via this route. It would also be useful if the types of high powered weaponry utilized by the criminals could have been hauled, carried or otherwise transported through these tunnels.
  • Some strategic swabbing at the time could have detected traces of gun powder residue indicative of the use by gunmen or the transporting of  recently used firearms.
ET #3:
Now this one is indeed laughable at first sight. It seems that the security forces had no idea of the appearance of the individual they were searching for. One wonders if they were shown photographs of Coke.
  • The public was made aware of Dudus' attempt to disguise himself subsequently. [Have a look at this attempt]. Frankly, if that was the disguise adopted in the first instance, then it would not have gotten pass any member of the security forces, even in the den of night.  No amount of chaos, gunfire, mortar attacks could have assisted this disguise.
  • It would be of interest if attempts were made to ascertain if someone fitting that description actually went through the security check points ; and if that wig worn in the 'capture' was the same one used in the 'escape'.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Tivoli COE: Insufficiency of "other "evidence--Lightbourne

The issue of the sufficiency, or otherwise, of the supporting evidence  accompanying the formal extradition request for Christopher "Dudus" Coke resurfaced during the cross-examination of Miss Dorothy Lightbourne at the Tivoli Commission of Enquiry. The focus was on the "other evidence"--ie that excluding the contested wire tape evidence.

Dorothy Lightbourne, the former Attorney- General and Minister of Justice, has been consistent in maintaining that the evidence other than that pertaining to the wire taps was insufficient to establish a prima facie case. Nevertheless she signed the authority to proceed without a sufficient evidentiary basis.

In the Manatt Enquiry, the following exchanges took place on Friday, March 11, 2011 between Mr. K.D. Knight and Miss Lightbourne:

Q:   ..... Miss Lightbourne you had some reservations about the wire tap evidence that had been supplied by the US government, is that correct?
A:  That is correct.
Q:   If you exclude the wire tap evidence would there have been sufficient evidence to justify your issuing an authority to proceed?
A:   No, sir.
Q:   If you excluded the wire tap evidence would there have been sufficient evidence on which a  committal could have been made by the Magistrate?
A:   In my view, no.
Q:   So, do I understand the situation to have been that you signed an authority to proceed without any   evidentiary basis at all?
A:   I said there was some evidence, I did not consider it sufficient.
Q:   So do you agree that you signed the authority to proceed without a sufficient evidentiary basis?
A:   That is my view.

Lightbourne elaborated her interpretation of the duty that had to be carried out under Section 8, Extradition Act: 
  • "Mr Chairman, my duty would be to see that there is sufficient evidence that could be put, that a committed Magistrate would commit the accused to stand trial for the offense."
  • "A:   My consideration are to look at the legal issues, to look at the evidence, and to look at the whole circumstances of what is before me to say that this is sufficient that this person should be committed to stand trial."
  •  Q:   And if the evidence is insufficient what is your ministerial duty?
  •  A:   To refuse the request."
The cross-examination on this subject matter continued for some time. Knight grilled; Lightbourne remained steadfast--repeating the gist of her position. The matter was well ventilated during the Manatt COE.
The Tivoli COE wasted some very expensive time.



Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Tivoli COE: Official Reports, Concerns, Lies & Hopes

The testimony of former Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Orette Bruce Golding and former Minister of National Security, Dwight Nelson have raised concerns about the veracity of statements concerning the Jamaica Defence Force (JCF) and Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF)  joint operations in Tivoli Gardens (TG) in May 2010.

The former PM was concerned about the accuracy of the deaths reported to him by the security forces and particularly the reports by the JDF . He had received telephone calls from residents of TG complaining about extreme abuse being perpetrated by the security forces resulting in a number of fatalities.

Golding sent a team including the Public Defender, Earl Witter, to ascertain the true position and even enquired of the US Embassy if there was any information on the carnage that had purportedly been taking place.

In short, the Prime Minister and Minister of Defence had reason to query the information being relayed to him by the Heads of the security forces. Of note, the disparities were not  thought to be  deliberate attempts by the Heads to mislead;  instead to deficiencies of the ground operations--namely supervision and accountability.

Nelson, although a bystander as Golding had assumed total responsibility for the operation, echoed Golding's concerns. Bear in mind that the Heads never reported to Nelson during the joint military/police operation.

The Tivoli Commission of Enquiry (COE) has been made aware of specific concerns, namely the request for communication equipment and  aerial surveillance from the USA, the use of mortars by the JDF, the number of firearms recovered, the exact number of people killed during the operation, the  attendant circumstance of those deaths, the escape of the fugitive Christopher "Dudus" Coke.

The ball is now in the court of the JDF and the JCF. There have been hopes expressed that they will tell the truth. However, one must be reminded that especially the JDF  has in the past displayed a reluctance to be "more than forthcoming" and "more than economical with the truth".  They have lied.

In Jamaica there is a saying:" When fish come from river bottom and tell you sey shark down deh... you better believe it". Retired JDF Colonel Allan Douglas has been writing voraciously on the topic. He has penned a number of letters eg Unbiased Military Expertise  and  Full Disclosure and Inquisitorial Approach.

Below is the unedited letter dealing with the JDF:


"Evidence given by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding at the Tivoli Commission of Enquiry (COE) last week was of great interest. I was particularly interested in Mr. Golding’s evidence in relation to the use of mortars by the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) during the Tivoli operation. Mr Golding’s evidence was that when he asked the JDF’s Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) about their use, he was told mortars were used as a diversionary tactic, fired into open spaces and only incendiary rounds. I am sure when the former CDS comes to give evidence, he will advise the commission what “open spaces” these mortars were firing at in an urban area and whether the Coronation market and possibly police stations were classified as such.
We were also provided with evidence of US involvement in this operation with an aerial surveillance aircraft. Here again, we hope the CDS will shed some light on the use of this air support and whether and when the JDF became aware of its existence as part of its Tivoli operation. If the CDS was aware of it, we hope he will advise us why the JDF initially denied there was such an air asset involved with the operation.
It is also hoped that when the CDS gives evidence, he will  advise whether in truth and fact there were weaknesses in the command and control of operations on the ground and the obvious disparity that appears to exist between the amount of weapons recovered from so-called ‘enemy combatants’ and those killed.
I know the former CDS and his successor to be both men of honour, but I am troubled that in the same manner that the JDF’s image was seriously tarnished after the Green Bay massacre of 1978 because of lies in the initial official account as opposed to what eventually emerged, I worry about the possibility of a repeat performance.
The former CDS will recall along with many other Jamaicans that the JDF was caught out lying by reporting for instance that:
                  Fourteen gunmen were surprised conducting target practice at the Green Bay firing range on January 5, 1978, that the gunmen opened fire, and that during the ensuing firefight four of the 14 gunmen were killed. All this allegedly took place at midday on January 5, 1978. Subsequently, evidence revealed that the 14 “gunmen” were in fact unemployed youths from Southside, central Kingston, who were lured to the Green Bay range by members of the military intelligence unit in Red Cross ambulances. An ambush party of the JDF was lying in hiding there to mow them down. This killing did not take place at midday as reported but in the dark at 5 am.
                  The weapons found a day after the killing turned out to be old World War II weapons that were not only inoperative, but had been in storage at the JDF for some time.
I know the JDF is quite capable of telling the whole truth, and once again, I plead with them to be forthright in giving evidence because the future of a credible military force depends on it.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Tufton Not Too Bright To Re-think

We have stated that Christopher Tufton  was not "too bright" to have a place in the JLP Council of Spokespersons as a main spokesman with very substantial shadow portfolio responsibility.
Dr. Christopher Tufton had ran afoul of  Mr. Andrew Holness in the leadership challenge by Audley Shaw et al ostensibly for comments made on the campaign platform about disliking the company of "bright" people.

Background:

Tufton, a former close National Democratic Movement associate of Bruce Golding, was tipped by some to be Golding's successor as JLP Leader. However, Holness was anointed and appointed. Moreover scholarly Chris has lost his seat in the General Elections was seated in the Senate and  employed as Co- Director of a University "think-tank".

Tufton, along with others being nominated by the Opposition Leader to be appointed to the Senate by the Governor- General, signed the undated resignation letters which purported to effect resignation "with immediate effect" and gave the Opposition Leader the unfettered authority to fill in the date. Those were signed on the same date of the appointment to the Upper House.

The Letters did not indicate any purpose  which limited their usage. So Andrew Holness could have dated any or all a day after their appointment---if he thought prudent or politically expedient or those appointed were getting 'too bright'.

  • It seems puzzling to some that "bright " Chris --A Phd , Manchester University, should have signed such a letter. Then he was in 'good company' as many attorneys-at law did likewise. McDonald-Bishop (J) described the terms of the letters as"ill-conceived and nonsensical"[para 154]
But Tufton held his tongue and seemingly accepted his unceremonious removal from the Senate.He refrained himself from the public debate and did not join Arthur Williams,attorney-at- law, Leader of Government Business in the Senate, Chief of Staff in the Office of the Leader of the Opposition and designer of the "flawed" letter who himself had suffered a similar fate but decided to test the validity of his removal in the courts.
  •  Tufton did not join Williams in the suit against the Leader of The Opposition; giving the public impression that he was "above the fray", not wanting to publicly attract any criticism for "mashing up " the JLP.
Williams seemed to be shunned. There was the view that he was not "too bright" having designed and signed letters that  were used to remove him in face of his public protestations that he had no intention to resign.

Williams vindicated:

The Constitutional Court has held that the request, letters and the use thereof was unconstitutional, contrary to public, unlawful and therefore null and void. The effect was that Williams and Tufton did not resign and therefore could resume their seats in the Senate.
  • Tufton has now found his voice and has publicly admitted that  he should not have signed the undated resignation letter --rather belatedly and only after a court  had found fault with it. Not a bright move for he did so "on reflection". 
Tufton, apparently now riding on the Williams bandwagon,  has not been vindicated as Williams but has vowed to continue in the Senate:

“Therefore, I wish to assure my colleagues in the Opposition party, that I intend, in good conscience to represent the philosophy and principles held by it, and to do whatever I can to help forge a stronger Opposition,”
     
  • Apparently "Bright" Tufton does not think that there is any adverse inferences to be drawn from his poor judgement and willing participation in a scheme that the Constitutional court has found to be unconstitutional, contrary to public policy and unlawful . 
  • He has not offered a public apology. He has merely sought to reassure the JLP  that he will be a 'good labourite'--- toeing the party- line.
  • Probably on further reflection it will dawn on Dr Tufton that it may be exemplary if he immediately tenders his resignation and delivers same personally to Kings House as  a symbolic act of political atonement. [ See "Need for Political Atonement"
  • Tufton is indeed not that 'bright'  to seriously do otherwise; and should educate 'vindicated' Williams to do likewise.


Thursday, February 12, 2015

Crafting a Political Play

The reports that unconstitutionally ousted Senators Williams and Tufton (The Two) intend to resume their seats in the Upper House has raised questions of the strategies will the JLP adopt to (i) curtail further embarrassment, (ii) restore public confidence that it should be perceived as a credible alternate government, and (ii) reaffirm its commitment to the Rule of Law and the paramountcy of the Constitution of Jamaica.
It is of little or no political moment if the Senators merely resume their seats , likely with the enthusiastic applause of the Government Members and the grimace of  the other Opposition members--minus Reid and Clarke.
The media will be there to record "live and direct" the historic occasion. Political script writers would not allow such a presentation devoid of political staging. The event presents a glorious opportunity for the JLP to launch a recasting of its brand.

Hence the crafting of a Political Ploy Play:

                                                Act 1 Scene 1
The "never left" Members return to a prolonged applause frrom their colleagues who greet them individually with handshakes (male) and hugs and cheek kisses (female). They all remain standing untill the Two have taken their seats.
                                                 Act 1 Scene 2
The Leader of Government Business will be moved to extend a welcome; so too the President of the Senate. The Leader of Opposition Business joins in the official welcome. The Two remain quiet, occasionally bowing to acknowledge the greetings.
                                                Act 1 Scene 3
Before the commencement of business, The Leader of Opposition Business rises to address the Upper House about the Constitutional importance of the Senate and the public perception of the role played by the esteemed members of the Upper Chamber. He acknowledges the declaratory judgement of the Constitutional Court.
                                                 Act 1 Scene 4
The after a dramatic pause informs the House that the Opposition Senators each have reflected on the significance of the rulings and their individual and collective participation in this regrettable affair.
Accordingly, they all apologize unreservedly to the public of Jamaica. As an act of atonement: individually tender their resignation to the Governor-General and personally deliver that letter to Kings House momentarily.
                                                   Act 1 Scene 5
All Opposition Senators then rise and make their exit, each bowing to the Chair. They make their way to Kings House with the media in tow. Each  presents the resignation letter ( in green envelope ) to the GG Secretary who would have been alerted to expect such. The Two  head of the line to ensure central coverage.

Intended Messages:

  • The JLP is bigger than any one or two individuals;
  • The Senators are committed to upholding the esteem and integrity of the Upper House;
  • They do not have to await further court directions to act constitutionally, consistent with public policy and lawfully;
  • They all seek public forgiveness and are willing to pay a political price;
  • Each wish to continue to serve;
  • End the constitutional distraction and refocus national attention on the economy.

Ploy Writer's note:
The Plot  Play continues when next the Lower House meets. There will be the  announcement of a new Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition. However, the JLP Leader retains all other positions and portfolio oversight.
Andrew Holness will be devoting  most of his time to "hitting the road"-- (a) campaigning for the next  elections, (b) restoring some of the party's political slippage, (c) consolidating his showing the the recent polls, (d) organizing the JLP ground machinery and (e) mobilizing financial support for the endeavours.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Need for Political Atonement

Embroiled in a political quagmire largely of its own making, the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP)  has once again shot itself; this time not in the foot , but in the upper reaches of its political groin. Although injured it requires substantial amounts of testicular fortitude for it to surmount the challenges on the rocky road to an election victory.

There is need for a concerted attempt at establishing  a degree of party unity needed to convince the electorate that is it is credible alternate government . In sum, given the chance a JLP administration would be faithful to our Constitution, adhere to  the Rule of Law, and act with transparency, integrity and accountability in endeavours to improve the lot of the Jamaican people.

We would suggest that any strategy adopted by the JLP must be designed to  re-establishing  (a) the paramountcy of the Constitution,  (b) the adherence to the Rule Of Law and (c)  public confidence and trust in Andrew Holness as JLP Leader.

 Clearly a public wrong has been committed by the Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the JLP. There is a political price to be paid. There is need for political atonement.

(a) The Constitution:

The Supreme Court has found that Andrew Holness, as Leader of the Opposition, had acted contrary to the Constitution, contrary to public policy and unlawfully. Having been made so aware by a declaratory order, the Leader of the Opposition and Leader, JLP need not wait for  court  injunctions to institute "corrective " measures and do the right thing ---- namely, act consistently with the Constitution,  in harmony with public policy and lawfully.

  •  There is the view that a constitutionally reconized office- holder, sworn to uphold the Constitution, ought not to continue in the office  when a Court of law has found that the office- holder had acted unconstitutionally and unlawfully.
  • The argument is limited to his position as Opposition Leader and no way pertains to his position as Leader, Jamaica Labour Party.
  • The person to occupy the office of the Leader of Opposition is the prerogative of the MPs supporting the the JLP. Usually, they would caucus and communicate their decision to the Governor- General. Although not constitutionally bound to accept their decision, it is the convention that the GG acts accordingly..
  • Thus Andrew Holness could resign as Opposition Leader and still maintain his seat in Parliament, the shadow portfolio responsibilities and position as Leader, JLP.
(b) The Rule of Law:

Andrew Holness has to demonstrate his unwavering adherence to the Rule of Law. As such he has to respect the rulings, findings , declarations  emanating out of the judicial process. That process allows him to disagree formally by lodging and pursuing an appeal. The judgement, ruling, declarations stand; until and unless a court orders otherwise.
  • In the circumstances Holness should formally appeal the matter to the Court of Appeal which is the final arbiter in matters concerning the membership/vacancy in the Senate.
  • It would be in keeping with guidelines of good governance if he removes himself from the affected position pending the outcome of the appeal.
(c) Public confidence and trust:

The building of public confidence and trust is the result of a plethora of factors in the public behaviour of the Leader JLP. Such is affected by the public perception of unity within the JLP. In short, credible attempts have to be made to coalesce all "labourities" in a coordinated strategy to gain electoral
victory. The 'revised' Senate arrangements  will last only until the next General Elections--expected within 22 months.
  
Here are some suggestions which flow directly from the "regrettable embarrassment":
  • Attempts should be made to to appease the "vindicated" without Williams resuming his seat in the Senate. Should Williams insists on taking his seat, then it may be tactical to reappoint him as Leader of Opposition Business (a disgruntled opposition Senator  may be tempted to  cast that historic vote required for passage of the CCJ Bill) ;
  • The JLP should seriously consider the appointment of a fresh slate of Senators, excluding the ones who had signed the flawed letters; [See next post "Crafting a Political Play"]
  • Efforts should be made to reintegrate Chris Tufton ( the other Senator who was unconstitutionally removed) into the party hierarchy--possibly as a main spokesman in the  Council of Spokespersons and being made an electoral candidate.

Unconstitutionality: Holness not alone

The public debate has focussed primarily on the declaratory order of the Constitutional Court that the Leader of the Opposition has acted contrary to the Constitution, contrary to public policy, and unlawfully.The Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition is an office that is recognised by the Constitution of Jamaica. Indeed some would argue that it is a creature of the Constitution.

 Not JLP Leader:
Note that the Leader of the Opposition is not synonymous with the head of the political party that  forms the minority in the House. In Jamaica's political history, the Leader  of the Opposition has been someone other than the head of the respective political party. This is due to the fact that  (i) the Constitution does not recognize political parties and (ii)  the head of political party that the majority of the members not supporting the Government did not have a seat in the Lower House at that point in time.

There should maybe some confusion between the Leader of the Opposition and the head of the Jamaica Labour Party which has the party title : "Leader". For some the distinction may be a little challenging as the constitutional office of  the Leader of the Opposition has been occupied by the Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party for significantly greater periods of time than the President of the Peoples National Party.

 Conspiracy:
The fraudulent scheme  had a number of actors along with the principals Williams and Holness.
For example:

  • Other attorneys-at-law were consulted and participated in the scheme. One noted Attorney acted in the capacity of Justice of the Peace, witnessing the signature on the pre-signed undated letters as well as the signed dated letters. 
  • Some of the the persons that were nominated by the Leader of the Opposition to be appointed Senators and who acceded to the unconstitutional and unlawful request were attorneys-at-law.
  • The Governor General  gave effect to the actions that have been declared by the Supreme Court as "unconstitutional, unlawful and contrary to public policy".
The Role of the GG:
Having received the documentation that purported be be the resignation of the two Senators involved, the Governor General would have at the very least (a) acquainted himself the the relevant sections of the Constitution of Jamaica dealing with such matters [Section 41 (1)]; and more importantly, (b) sought the opinion of legally trained members of the local Privy Council.

The public will never be made aware of the advice received by the GG: however, the receipt of the set of letters from the Leader of the Opposition could possibly have led to the presumption that they were authentic, lawful and in conformity with the Constitution. After all, the Leader of the Opposition had advised the GG on their appointment.

Without more, one cannot reasonably infer that Her Majesty's Representative in Jamaica  did not seek and receive legal advice on the matter; or  ignored the advice that was tendered. There is no evidence available that the Office of the Governor General ascertained from the two Senators affected if indeed they had the intention to resign at the time the letters were received at Kings House. [ Sec 41.(1) (b) --"if he  resigns his seat"]

But ignorance of the Law is no defence ; moreso ignorance of the Constitution by the GG. It may be argued that, similar to the Leader of the Opposition, the  Governor General acted on "bad legal advice". However, the GG had a greater responsibility than the Leader of the Opposition. Wittingly or unwittingly the GG was involved in the perpetuation of the fraud on the Constitution.

The GG was not a party to the suit filed in the Supreme Court. Nevertheless, the action of Her Majesty's Representative did not escape analysis.  McDonald-Bishop (J):

 "It would follow, then, that the defendant, as Leader of the Opposition, had no power under the Constitution to remove or to recommend the removal of an Opposition Senator from the Senate. Therefore, the Governor-General would not have had the power, express or implied, to remove the claimant on the advice of the defendant or at his behest, which in effect, was what transpired in the circumstance of this case."



Monday, February 9, 2015

Should Holness Resign as Leader of the Opposition?

The Constitutional Court of Jamaica  has declared:

"(1) That the request for and procurement of pre-signed and undated letters of resignation and letters of authorization by the Leader of the Opposition from persons to be appointed or appointed Senators to the Senate of Jamaica upon his nomination is inconsistent with the Constitution, contrary to public policy, unlawful, and is , accordingly, null and void.

(2) That the pre-signed and undated letters of resignation and letters of authorization, as well as the manner of their use to effect the resignation of Senators ( the claimant, in particular ) from the Senate of Jamaica, are inconsistent with the Constitution, contrary to public policy and are, accordingly, null and void." [para 234]


So the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition--a constitutionally recognized position-- has been found by the Supreme Court to have acted unconstitutionally, contrary to public policy, and unlawfully.
That has profound implications for the tenure of the Leader of the Opposition in the Westminster/ Whitehall model of government.

The Constitution is paramount and the Rule of Law is a most fundamental tenet of our democracy

Unsurprisingly, MP Delroy Chuck, Attorney- at- Law, and former Lecturer in Law, has written to the Leader of Opposition Business in the House Of Representatives demanding a caucus of Opposition MPs to discus the findings and has called for Andrew Holness to resign that Constitutional position: Leader of the Opposition:


"In the Westminster System of Government, any constitutional office holder - be it Prime Minister, Leader of the Opposition, Speaker of the House, Chief Justice or others - who the court rules or declares to act UNLAWFULLY and UNCONSTITUTIONALLY would be obliged in all good conscience and honour to tender his or her resignation unless there are good and compelling reasons not to do so.
I ask that you call an urgent meeting of all Opposition MPs to consider the matter."



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Holness vs The Constitution of Jamaica

The  Constitution recognises only one member  of those not supporting the Government. That individual is designated as  "Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition". As such he/she is a creature of the Constitution of Jamaica and is sworn to uphold that fundamental document in pursuit of certain specified functions.


The Supreme Court of Jamaica has found in a unanimous declaratory order that Andrew Holness has acted 
a) inconsistent with the Constitution,
 b) contrary to public policy, and
 c) unlawfully. 

That would not be of national importance if Andrew Holness was an ordinary member of the public, even a John Doe. It would only attract the  cursory  interest if he was only an Opposition Member of Parliament.

But Andrew Holness is the Leader of Her Majesty's Loyal Opposition.

Interesting Questions:
  • Can he maintain that lofty and constitutionally important position if those findings are allowed to stand? 
  • Are those findings by a court of law ip so facto disqualify Andrew Holness from continuing to hold such a constitutional position? 
  • Is it within the spirit of the Constitution of Jamaica  that the Leader of the alternate governing party be one who --- whilst occupying that constitutional office ---- was found by a court of law to have been acting unconstitutionally, contrary to public policy and unlawfully ?
The Leader of the Opposition is accorded no role in the resignation of a member of the Senate. In legal terms he has no locus standi. This contrasts with his specified role in advising the Governor- General as to persons he wishes to nominate to the Upper House.

Discussion Points:
  • It is of no import that Holness "did not intend to act unconstitutionally". The fact is that a Court of law has found that he did act unconstitutionally.
  • Holness may gain mere sympathy for placing reliance on a group of attorneys who gave him bad advice resulting in what "can only be described as the ill-conceived and nonsensical terms of the letters...."[para 154]. 
  • Latest reports  are interesting : "Underscoring the significance of the ruling, Holness reiterated that he has referred it to a team of attorneys to research and advise him on any implications it may have on the country’s constitutional arrangements"
  •  One can only hope that it is not the same group, without Williams, that is now tasked with advising the Opposition Leader: 
  • That Arthur Williams was found to have designed, signed and delivered the letters to Holness may have been central to the Court's decision not to award him costs (which usually follows the successful); but in no way absolves Holness from the unconstitutionality of his actions.
  • The Supreme Court has found that the pre-signed undated letters  that Holness had requested were "null and void". Holness has said that he had returned the letters long before the Supreme Court ruling. The return is of no moment. He should not have requested them in the first place. 
  • Moreover, Holness as Leader of the Opposition had no business communicating with the Governor General in the matter of the resignation of members of the Senate. Indeed, the Governor General should have ignored the correspondence. At the very lest, the involvement of the Leader of the Opposition should have raised "red flags".
  Appeal:

  • The Court of Appeal has dismissed the appeal of the Leader of the Opposition which sought to overturn the ruing of the Constitutional Court. ( See our Holness' Appeal Dismissed )

Tivoli COE: More Questions For Lewin


Questions Nobody Asked: Lewin


  • What exactly was the response of the Minister of National Security to the information you relayed?
  • You said on CVM TV words to the effect that the Minister "turned white". Could you please elaborate?
  • How long did you observe that change in pigmentation?
  • Did the Minister do or say anything during the duration of the shade change?
  • How did you react when you observe these Ministerial changes?
  • How did the Chief of Staff react?
  • Did the Chief of Staff relay any information to the Minister during that meeting?
  • Did the Minister of National Security say anything to the Chief of Staff?
  • You have said that the Minister took about ten minutes to locate the PM by phone, did this seem unusual to you?
  • Did the Minister indicate that he was experiencing a difficulty in making telephone contact with the PM?
  • Can you say, with any degree of certainty, that the Minister of National Security only spoke to the PM via telephone in your presence?
  • Can you say, with any degree of certainty, that the Minister during your stay only attempted to make contact with the PM solely?
  • You said that the meeting with the PM lasted between five and seven minutes, what was your expectation of that meeting? Were you surprised as to the nature and duration of the meeting?
  • Did the PM subsequently make any contact with you in relation to this extradition matter?
  • After the meeting, did you have any discussions with the Chief of Staff in respect of the extradition?
  • After the Vale Royal meeting, did you attend any meetings involving the PM and the Minister of Justice concerning at which the extradition request was discussed?
  • Given that there was telephonic monitoring of Dudus, can you indicate if any attempts were made to christoher duds coke, trace the source of calls made to him during the period from when you left the Ministry of National Security to the time you left Vale Royal?
  • Can you indicate if the attempts were successful?
  • On that CVM TV interview, you stated that during the interval between your departure from the Ministry of National Security and your arrival at Vale Royal, Dudus was tipped off. When were you informed of that? How reliable was that intelligence data? Have you any indication of how many times Dudus was tipped off? Was the tipping off done by telephone? Do you have any indication how many individuals were involved in the tipping off?
  • Were you ever informed of the route taken by Dudus in his move from his location to Tivoli? Was Dudus somewhere in Plantation Heights when tipped off? Could you inform the COE of the route taken? Was there any attempt made to apprehend Dudus?
  • Was Dudus monitored during his journey to Tivoli? How many persons were in the vehicle with Dudus? Was more than one car involved? Did your intelligence indicate if the occupants were armed or unarmed?
  • Were you ever made aware of the exact location of Dudus within Tivoli at any time after that Vale Royal meeting?
  • Can you to the best of your knowledge indicate if the security forces were monitoring Dudus in Tivoli up until the time of your departure from the JCF?
  • Given the plans and procedures that you have said were in place, is it your considered view that if Dudus was apprehended before your departure from the JCF, the "collateral damage" would have been significantly reduced.

Tivoli COE: Questions For Lewin

There was some amount of reluctance to probe Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin when he appeared before the Manatt Commission of Enquiry. Probably the TOR did not entertain exploration of the strategies considered by the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) to arrest Christopher "Dudus " Coke and contain the expected public protest consequent on his detention and likely extradition to the USA.

The Tivoli Commission of Enquiry has no such limitation.

There is no doubt that the alerting of Prezi occasioned his immediate retreat from his abode in Plantation Heights to the 'safe' haven of Tivoli Gardens. It is more than likely the notice also heightened preparations to 'defend' the Don . Such  would have involved mobilizing armed combatants and barricading strategic geographical positions.

The Tivoli COE needs to explore if the JCF, headed by Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin, considered the option of 'capturing' Coke at his abode in Plantain Heights or in transit to Tivoli Gardens.
  • Surely "Prezi" would have had his personal security detail guarding him at home and on the journey to Tivoli Gardens.
  • More than likely it would have been an armed confrontation resulting in some deaths, even of the intended target. 
  • If indeed such an option was considered, then the factors that influenced the decision to allow him to reach Tivoli Gardens would be very informative. 
  • The movements of Christopher Coke was being constantly 'monitored' by the security forces. Unconfirmed reports are that they were well aware--- in real time--- of the route taken.
On February 08, 2011 we posted "Questions Nobody Asked: Lewin". The questions arose out of the CVM interview of the Rear Admiral on "Direct" by  Garfield Burford . In an effort to refresh the public recollection of the "shocker", CVM should rebroadcast the programme.
[For ease and convenience we have republished under the following post.]

The questions are still relevant and it is hoped that Lewin will be called by the commission. Let's hope someone will ask the questions. Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin must be anxious to to have a public record of his role/perpectives in this seminal event.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Tivoli COE: Call Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin

There is the view that had the fugitive Christopher "Dudus " Coke been apprehended outside of his 'safe' haven of Tivoli Gardens, there would not have been a rationale for the military exercise--ostensibly the capture one wanted man.

It was the concern of the security forces that the capture of Coke, wherever, would have elicited some public protest by residents of TG and supporters of the "Prezi", given his empire and influence. There is no doubt that the notice given to Coke facilitated the fortification of TG and the mobilization of  armed combatants aimed at defending the Don.

The Tivoli  Commission of Enquiry (COE) in its attempt to explore the  strategies employed by the security forces will have to explore the options that were considered, based on the information available at the time. If Coke had been prevented from retreating to that garrison outpost and the security forces had only to deal with the expected public protest, would the resultant loss of life been substantially less?

Nevertheless, the whodunit saga continues. the tip off was critical.

Golding:

In commenting on the assertions made by Lewin in that CVM television programme "Direct", hosted be Garfield Burford , the then Prime Minister seems to point fingers at the information being leaked before the Government Ministers were informed


  • " Mr. Chairman, I don't know the basis of the statement that was made by Rear Admiral. What I will say is this, that he was aware of the information before he approached either the Minister of National Security or myself and therefore I would, if his suggestion is true,I would then have to ponder with whom else he have shared that information and what was the security of that information and for how long did he have that information before he advised the Minister of National Security or me."

Nelson:

In a public statement issued to the media, Nelson attacked the messenger :
  • "I reject and repudiate Mr Lewin’s insinuation that either the Prime Minister or I alerted Christopher Coke to the existence of an extradition request by the US authorities. The fact that Mr Lewin made no attempt to adduce any evidence to support his reckless statement raises questions as to his real motive, an issue for which he will be held to account." ( Jamaica  Observer, July 01,2010 )

This is a fundamental distrust of the then Commissioner of Police, who hitherto had been Chief of Staff, Jamaica Defence Force.  Lewin had occupied two of the most important positions in the island's security apparatus. The Tivoli COE should seek to have the Rear Admiral appear inorder to elucidate his positions and subject himself to cross- examination.




Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tivoli COE: The Commissioner of Police informs

Rumour, speculation, gossip and vibes surround the identity of the person(s) who would have tipped off Christopher "Dudus" Coke that an official request had been issued for his extradition to the USA. Coke was reputed to have lots of connections--political and otherwise. His influence within and outside of Tivoli  Gardens (TG)was  said to be substantial.


  • What would be the purpose of anyone alerting "Prezi" that his arrest and extradition to the USA was imminent?
  • Was it expected that the Don would just fade away into the cockpit country ; or migrate using some illicit maritime carrier to some Latin American haven?
  • Was the alert primarily aimed at Coke retreating to his safe haven of TG and thereby provide the security forces the rationale for mounting a comprehensive military operation to "discipline" the "mother of all garrisons" -- a designation given by Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin, then Commissioner of Police?
  • Which individuals were privy to this "confidential" and sensitive information and who would have an interest in facilitating the passage of such information to Coke?

From the information available  Prime Minister Bruce Golding, Minister of National Security,Dwight Nelson, Brigadier Saunders,Chief of Staff, Jamaica Defence Force and Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin, Commissioner of Police  were privy to the said information. There is no evidence available linking any of those named to either having an interest in facilitating the alerting of Coke or being involved in a conspiracy to alert Dudus.
Indeed many in political and security circles were expecting "something" to take place and the unusual visitation by the Chief of Staff and the Commissioner of Police to the Minister of National Security and then to the Prime Minister  would have alerted even the curious bystander that something important was about to go down.

Lewin's Narrative:

In a television interview Lewin recounted the events of him informing the Chief of Staff, the Minister of National Security and the Prime Minister:

  1. Lewin had  been informed that the USA government would be making an official request for the extradition of Coke the following day. 
  2. Lewin informed the Chief of Staff and both proceeded to the Ministry of National Security to inform Nelson.
  3. Nelson telephoned Golding and briefed him about the urgent information about Coke. 
  4. Nelson suggested suggested that the Prime Minister have immediate consultation with the security heads.
  5. Jamaica Observer columnist Mark Wignal writes:
" Mr. Lewin was surprised that the security minister did not accompany him to see the PM. But then came the shocker. According to Mr. Lewin, in the 15 minutes it took them to drive to where the prime minister was and brief him, Dudus was informed and immediately retreated to the 'safe' have of Tivoli Gardens." (Jamaica Observer, Sunday, July 11,2010

Update: Bruce Golding has sought to include Jeremy Taylor of the DPP's office has another who would have access to that "confidential" information.  Golding has testified, in the Tivoli COE, that he never received any reports of Dudus being tipped off from COP Hardley  Lewin and that the first  time he had heard of such was that CVM interview.


Monday, February 2, 2015

Tivoli COE: Who tipped off Dudus ?

One of the most intriguing issues surrounding the Tivoli military incursion/siege of May 2010 was the alerting of Christopher "Dudus" Coke  to (i) the handing down of the indictment, and (ii) the pending  request for his extradition. The intrigue is compounded by the security forces finding "a copy of the authenticated document with the Coke request" in the Tivoli Gardens head office of "Prezi".

                                             The Shaggy Defence

  • The Prime Minster Bruce Golding has denied the suggestion that he had tipped off Dudus; or had any knowledge as to how those documents got to Prezi HQ.
Now it would be very careless, even reckless, for any government official to personally converse with Christopher Coke during the time that Coke was being "monitored" by both the local security forces and the US security agencies. Telephone calls were being monitored. Proxies and convenient conduits had to be utilized. 
It would be very revealing if the Tivoli COE could gain access to the cell records of the pertinent locations in Plantation Heights and Tivoli Gardens. It would not be surprising if those recordings have already been culled.

During The Manatt Enquiry it was highlighted that telephone transcripts revealed Coke discussing his knowledge of the pending extradition request a few hours after Golding was informed. These issues were put to Golding by Patrick Atkinson QC on Friday, April 1, 2011
  • "Mr Atkinson:......So at 7:29 pm  October 29, 2007, few hours after the US Ambassador spoke to you about this oncoming indictment, Mr Coke is on the phone discussing his knowledge of this indictment. Do you have anything, any comment on that, Mr. Golding?
          A:               I have no comment to make on that."

 Documents: 
  • "I had no reason to suspect that those documents could have emanated from any person within the Government, The Party would not have had any access to those documents. The police reported that they found those documents-...
 Golding has repeatedly denied that he tipped off Dudus.

If it was'nt me, then.......... who was it?

( Caveat: no adverse inference ought to be drawn from the date of the above testimony.)