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Bunting to address Ellington issue today

BY BALFORD HENRY Senior staff reporter balfordh@jamaicaobserver.com

Tuesday, July 15, 2014    

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SECURITY Minister Peter Bunting is expected to make a statement in the House of Representatives today on the sudden decision of Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington to take early retirement.

Ellington's decision to go on early retirement, after 30 years of service, has been a matter of controversy just hours after his handing in a letter of retirement to Bunting and the Police Service Commission.

Bunting will also provide some answers to questions which have been tabled by the Opposition's spokesman on national security, Derrick Smith, as well as address rumours swirling in the public space on the reasons for Ellington's decision.

Smith has asked Bunting five questions, including: whether provisions of the Leahy Act were invoked by the United States Government in relation to certain occurrences in Jamaica, including, but not limited to, alleged police killings.

He has also asked whether Jamaica's international partners have made any requests regarding alleged breaches of human rights during the May 2010 West Kingston (Tivoli Gardens) operation by the security forces, or in relation to killings allegedly committed by the police in Clarendon; and if those requests included the removal of Ellington.

Bunting will also answer questions from Smith on the issue of bullet reloading machines in Jamaica.

The Opposition spokesman has asked the minister 14 questions on the controversial reloading machines, including: The whereabouts of the machines; the number of them that are operational; whether they entered Jamaica legally; by whose authority were they allowed to enter the country; has any action been taken against any owner for illegal entry; how many shooting ranges are operating in Jamaica, and where are they located; how do these shooting ranges acquire ammunition; and, what are the rules governing the distribution and use of ammunition by these shooting ranges?

Bunting is also expected to answer questions from Smith on the issue of the proposed national morgue and the state of current facilities being used as morgues.

Questions will also be answered today by Phillip Paulwell, the minister of science, technology, energy and mining, on the review of the Access to Information Act, as well as the Aggregate Spectrum Cap Policy.

Under Public Business, Minister of Local Government and Community Development Noel Arscott will pilot the debate on the Municipalities (Validation and Amendment) Act, 2014, which seeks to indemnify acting Mayor of Portmore Leon Thomas and the council for actions taken in breach of the Municipalities Act.

The House will also pay tribute to former Governor General Sir Howard Cooke.

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