Sunday, March 27, 2016

Tivoli COE: COP Disconcertingly Disconnected

We have had the opportunity to scrutinize the verbatim notes of the testimony given before the Tivoli COE by the then Commissioner of Police (COP) Owen Ellington.We are somewhat bewildered by some of the revelations made to the COE.

Below are some of the most disconcerting:

  • Ellington acted as COP between November 7, 2009 to early April 2010 when he assumed the substantive position until retirement  in 2014. Before that he was DCP in charge of Operations.Yet he only became aware of the request pending for the extradition of Christopher "Dudus" Coke via media reports and knew nothing of any "soft detention " consideration.
  • On May 17, 2010 Ellington heard of the intention of the AG to sign the Authourity to Proceed via the national public broadcast made by then Prime Minister Bruce Golding.On hearing such news the COP-- who had been planning with the CDS Major General Stuart Saunders from mid November or early December 2009--did not immediately make contact with the CDS.
  • The then COP was not in a position to comment on whether the use of mortar was considered or in fact done.
  • He had intelligence that Coke was in Tivoli Gardens (TG) up until the Sunday afternoon before the joint military-police exercise; but did not seek to establish exactly where in TG Coke was located. Furthermore he revealed that he had no information about Coke's day-day movement.
  • The then COP did not see the need to place members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force at the end of the tunnels which had been previously identified as possible escape routes for Coke.
What is even more bewildering is the apparent breakdown in the relationship between the COP and the Prime Minister who, in addition to being Minister of Defence, had assumed the portfolio responsibility of the Minister of National Security:
  • Prime Minister Golding was not briefed about a Plan for the capture of Coke in January 2010--the date of "Operation Keywest".
  • The OPM received a copy of the Strategic Plan identified as Appendix "A"of a bundle of documents submitted by the COP Owen Ellington on January 05, 2011.
  • That bundle entitled "Operational Report  Extradition of Christopher "Dudus" Coke 2010" was prepared in August 2010.
It will be very interesting to see how the Commissioners will treat the evidence given by the then COP. Of critical importance is the issue of the nature and extent of the so-called "joint military-police operations."
Given the nature and scope of the resistance encountered, did the police cede total operational control to the army? 
Was there a conspiracy to exclude the political directorate from the loop, given the political affiliation and criminal reach of Christopher "Dudus" Coke aka "Presi"?

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