Friday, August 5, 2016

Tivoli COE: Intelligence MIA

The Commissioners have in their report highlighted the glaring fact that the enquiry was severely hampered by the absence of pertinent reports from the intelligence units of the security forces which were operative during the May 2010 debacle.

Chapter 13 : "The circumstances under which the fugitive Christopher "Dudus" Coke managed to elude arrest during and after the operation by the security forces of Jamaica in Tivoli Gardens and related areas in May 2010, and the circumstances of his capture," ToR (P) made the telling admission in its Introduction

"31.1   The sources of information and evidential foundations of this Chapter are largely based on testimony of members of the security forces. We received no direct evidence from the Heads of Intelligence units or any self-acknowledged Intelligence units or analysts except for DCP Hinds. However, we were provided with opinions or assessments, formed by officers in light of the Intelligence reports supplied to them."(emphasis added)

The Commissioners have not revealed if any attempts were made to get such direct evidence from the intelligence units and the responses received. Furthermore, on what basis  could the Commissioners have formed the impression that the opinions or assessments formed by the officers who gave evidence before the COE were in fact influenced by the reports supplied to them? Indeed it not unexpected to justify actions based on "intelligence supplied at the time"
 The telling absence of Intelligence reports apparently forced the Commissioners to indulge in some curious reasoning resulting in unsubstantiated "Findings" mixed with a sprinkling of beliefs.
For example:

13.40 " Cogent evidence of Coke's presence in Tivoli Gardens is thin and inconclusive. We have only the evidence of members of the security forces as to the contents of Intelligence Reports" 
However after reviewing the testimonies of CoP Ellington, DCP Hinds, Maj. Williams, the Commissioners found that the information given to CoP Ellington was "patently incorrect".

13.41 "We are bound to conclude that the Intelligence reports of Coke's presence in Tivoli Gardens on 24 May were wrong or, at best, unreliable. Certainly, it is clear that Intelligence available to CoP Ellington was wide off the mark"
After purporting to use 'commonsense' the conclusion was reached that "The Intelligence on which CoP Ellington was "operating" was wholly erroneous."

13.44 " We are unable to make any findings as to how Coke escaped, We listened to the theories advanced by CDS Saunders and Maj. Williams and CoP Ellington but such evidence is speculative. In the result, the probative value of such theoretical evidence is of little or no assistance."

The Findings relating to the capture of Coke is a classic. Being devoid of Intelligence Reports and having taken the decision to avoid the risk of prejudicing the trial of the Rev. Dr. Merrick "Al" Miller, the Commissioners sought refuge in belief:

13.54 " We believe that he was able to avoid capture for 29 days because of the power of his vast criminal organisation which must have provided support systems for him."

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