Jamaicas’ Tivoli ‘Massacre’ Deserves The Truth Finally

Today We’d Like to Dedicate a tune to the folks who will hopefully sit on the Tivoli Judicial Commission. we just hope it won’t become the greatest story never told.

The people who lost their lives in this highly sensitive security incursion deserve to be remembered properly. the living victims deserve to be heard and have their claims settled properly. there is too much left to be said about the entire Manatt and Phillips problem.  Where-else except Jamaica could we see a legislator lobbying to assist a citizen who is in the middle of deportation hearings; and still holding his seat as a legislator in the countries governing body.

Absolutely Ludacris..

Check out Saigon and listen carefully to the lyrics because they are dedicated to the people of Tivoli Gardens.

Yes that’s exactly what we want folks to know – this has to happen because it’s not irrelevant. hopefully it won;’t become the greatest story ever told; because we need the truth once and for all.

Those who died in Tivoli deserve to be vindicated and the truth needs to come out about what really happened. The Police are hoping to cover and clear but if the people come out and converge on command that will stop the lies from promulgating.

Tivoli ‘massacre’ – only judicial commission will do

KEN CHAPLIN

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A judicial commission headed by a distinguished jurist, like a retired Supreme Court judge, to inquire into the alleged massacre in Tivoli Gardens and the slaughter of respected businessman Keith Clarke at his house in St Andrew, during the security forces search for Christopher “Dudus” Coke last May, is far more important than the commission which is inquiring into the US Government’s request for Coke’s extradition and the Manatt, Phelps and Phillips affair.

The shooting of Clarke by soldiers appears to be a case of mistaken identity but no one has been charged for manslaughter.

ELLINGTON… should insist that the JCF performs creditably and with honesty of purpose
ELLINGTON… should insist that the JCF performs creditably and with honesty of purpose

Coke was captured outside of Tivoli Garden days after the operation by the security forces and was extradited to the United States where he is to be tried on drug-trafficking and gun-running charges.

The People’s National Party, it seems, pressed for the commission in order to embarrass Prime Minister Golding hoping he would resign and call a general election. So was the commission appointed in an attempt to clear the name of Prime Minister Bruce Golding?

Incidentally, some of the lawyers representing politicians and political parties are behaving in an unprofessional manner before the commission and are showing a lack of respect for the commission. Indeed, the commission is floating on politics. In the years I have been in journalism I cannot recall lawyers holding press conferences on the proceedings of a commission or court. I am surprised that this is happening. Chairman Emil George should called on them to desist, and if they continue cite them for contempt.

It is highly necessary for a judicial commission to be appointed to clear the police and military of the serious allegations in the operations that are being levelled at them or give justice to the Tivoli Gardens community .

The terms of reference of the commission should cover a broad range. It must determine, among other things, how many people died. (The number of people who were killed ranges from 73, according to official figures, to 200 mentioned by other sources), the circumstances under which each person died, their identity, who were responsible for their deaths and why so many people were killed and only a handful of firearms found immediately after the assault. As an editorial in The Gleaner suggests, there must be accounting and accountability. I understand that 47 people were killed extra-judicially and buried in mass graves in the May Pen Cemetery. The body of one of the three boys who were in police custody has been found. He was identified by DNA test as Jamaican Andre Smith who lived in the USA and was on vacation in Jamaica. The other two boys are still missing.

The operation in Tivoli Gardens was necessary. In their search for Coke, the security forces had to smash the barricades that were thrown around the community. For too long the community, led by super dons and dons, had been behaving like a state within a state. What the security forces also did was to liberate the people from dons, but in doing so allegedly killed many extra-judicially. The price was too high. Most of the killings took place after the security forces had consolidated their position.

I learnt that the authorities in Washington and London and human rights institutions, both locally and abroad, are taking an interest in what happened in Tivoli Gardens.

The appointment of the commission rests with the governor general on the advice of the prime minister. The commission may consist of one person or a number of people who are appointed to inquire into various matters, including the conduct of public institutions such as the military and constabulary, or officers on any matter which, in the opinion of the governor general, would be in the best interest of public welfare.

Some people are of the view that a coroner’s inquest with a magistrate and a jury should be held. However, others argue that the scope of a coroner’s inquest is too limited.

A critical element in any enquiry into the alleged massacre would be the presentation of ballistics evidence concerning the weapons used by the police and military. It would have to be determined, among other things: which gun was handed to particular policemen going into the operations in Tivoli Gardens as well as in the Clarke case, which gun was handed to each of the seven soldiers, when the weapons were fired, whether the bullets or fragments thereof found in the bodies came from any of the guns, and how so many people were killed and only a handful of guns recovered immediately after the operations.

Dismal police information system

The police information apparatus performance after the incident was dismal. In my investigation to get the correct number of people killed, I telephoned the Constabulary Communications Network. The corporal on duty advised me to call the Jamaica Constabulary Force Statistics Branch. I did so and the sergeant on duty told me to call Karl Angel, director of communication.

I attempted to ask another question and she said rather abruptly, “I will not entertain any more questions from you.” Before that I had called Angel three times and had spoken to him, but on each occasion he said he could not give the information because he was in a meeting. (May I suggest that when he is in a meeting he turns off his cellular telephone). I kept telephoning him but the recording I got said, “The mail box is full, call back again.” I never did.

A police information apparatus system must be credible if it is to serve the best interest of the JCF. Commissioner Owen Ellington should insist that the apparatus performs creditably and with honesty of purpose.

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It’s time the people of Jamaica Had The Truth Mr Nelson and Mr Ellington,

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