Sunday, July 24, 2016

Tivoli COE: Paul Ashley's Recommendations

The Report of The West Kingston Commission of Enquiry 2016 has been made public. There has been widespread discussion in the public space as to the value-added of this enquiry. The Gleaner, July 12,2016 reported that " The Government has put the full cost of the enquiry about $450.8m". The cost of 'high-powered" lawyers representing state agencies has gained  notorious attention.

The Commission invited members of the public to submit proposals which would be taken into consideration in its Report. A list of the persons who submitted Memoranda of Recommendations is published in Appendix 4. It would have been useful if the public was afforded easy access to such memoranda which may, or may not, have found favour with the Commissioners.

Below is mine which was submitted on January 6, 2016:

                                      Subject: Proposed Recommendations from the Public

   1. The Establishment of a dedicated web-site

There is a substantial amount of pertinent information on the security operations in West Kingston (mainly Tivoli Gardens) in May 2010 that has not been admitted into evidence for a multiplicity of justifiable reasons.
Amongst that mass are some that where excluded because they were basically duplicitous and added nothing new to areas adequately covered by previously admitted testimonies.
It is being proposed that this dedicated website would be an official depository of all material information—disclosure of which would not breach confidentiality and public interest immunity.
Such would be easily accessible to all at no cost; provide an invaluable research tool; and be a reliable source of official information.
Should contain inter alia: Terms of   Reference, concise bios of the Commissioners, names of the Secretariat and supporting staff, names of the 76 deceased, budget, verbatim notes of the proceeding, all exhibits admitted into evidence, the Final Report.

   2. The immediate cessation of the practice of destroying/commandeering the “personal papers” when a member of the political directorate has demitted office.

It has been revealed that “personal correspondence” to the then Minster of National Security has been burnt under the direction of the Permanent Secretary in accordance with the established practice.
Even more glaring was the removal by the out going Prime Minister of official correspondence sent to him whilst in office.
This information belongs to the public of Jamaica and must be preserved in the event of judicial, quasi-judicial or historical enquiry.
Whereas in certain circumstances the Member could be provided with copies of the documents so requested, under no circumstances whatsoever should the originals be destroyed or be in the possession of the Member.

   3. Ballistic Profile of Firearms.

The ballistic profile of all firearms acquired be the Security Forces (JDF & JCF) as well as those acquired by private security firms must be recorded before the firearms are assigned.
In the situation where the firearms are already in use, then the ballistic profiles must be obtained within 60 days from the date of the Final Report.
The ballistic profile must be securely archived by the units involved with copies stored under the auspices of the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Justice.
In the case of private security firms, compliance with the ballistic profile requirement will be a pre- condition for the granting/renewal of their operating licence.

   4. Protocol Governing the operation of a Commission of Enquiry

A Commission of Enquiry (COE) should normally be commissioned no later than 12- calendar months after the start of the event(s), which will form the main subject matter of its investigation.
Where the COE is commissioned after the 12- month period, then all pertinent documentation must be sequestered under the auspices of the Commission Counsel as a matter of urgency.
The Secretariat must be fully operational for at the very least 1- calendar month prior to the commencement date of public hearings.
The duration period of the public hearings must be precisely stated—consecutive working days, consecutive calendar months, or total number of days of public hearings (It is untenable for a 3-month enquiry to last some 14 months due to the interpretation of it being 90 non-consecutive working days).

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