Gov't swears in Tivoli enquiry commissioners

Friday, August 29, 2014

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THE three commissioners who will preside over the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry were sworn in yesterday.

Former Chief Justice Lensley Wolfe swore them in at a private function at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel, New Kingston. The press was informed by way of a release from the Ministry of Justice, following the event.

No indication was given as to a target date for the start of the proceedings. However, immediately after the swearing-in, the commissioners, the secretary to the commission, and the legal counsel convened their preliminary meeting to chart the way forward, the release said.

The Opposition Jamaica Labour Party's (JLP) spokesman on justice, Senator Alexander Williams, said that he was not aware of the event. However, he said he wouldn't comment on it.

The commissioners are: Retired chief justice and former Attorney General of Barbados Sir David Simmons, chairman; retired judge of the Court of Appeal Justice Hazel Harris; and director of the Institute of Criminal Justice and Security, University of the West Indies (UWI), Professor Anthony Harriott.

They have been asked to conclude their enquiry within three months of its commencement, and make a full report and recommendations concerning the events surrounding the May 2010 West Kingston operation by security forces to Governor General Sir Patrick Allen within two months after concluding the enquiry.

Also present at the swearing-in were permanent secretary in the Ministry of Justice, Carol Palmer; secretary to commission, Maria Jones; and the commission's senior and junior legal counsel, Garth McBean and Simone Mayhew.

Based on its terms of reference, the commissioners have been charged to, among other things, enquire into whether the rights of any person or persons were violated in any of the affected or related communities by either law enforcement officers or by anyone else; the circumstances under which, and by whom, several police stations and other state property (including police or military vehicles) were attacked and damaged or destroyed by firebombs, gunfire or other means; and the conduct of operations by the security forces in Tivoli Gardens and related areas during the said State of Emergency in the month of May 2010.




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