PUBLIC Defender Earl Witter failed again yesterday to produce the long-awaited report from his office on the 2010 security forces incursion into Tivoli Gardens, which left over 70 persons dead.
Contacted yesterday evening for an explanation as to why this latest deadline was missed, Witter told the Jamaica Observer that “the report will explain it all”, and hung up without giving any further explanation. He did not answer subsequent calls.
Sections of the press had been reporting, up to yesterday, that the report — which had already missed several deadlines — would have been tabled yesterday.
Speaker of the House of Representatives Michael Peart, after confirming that it would be tabled yesterday, hours later admitted that he had not received the report in response to a question by the Leader of Opposition Business, Delroy Chuck.
Chuck raised the issue after the clerk had read the “Announcements” without referring to the report.
Chuck: “Is the report available today?”
Speaker: “It seems as if the report will not be tabled today. I had expected to receive it in time for it to be tabled today but, apparently, from the latest information we received from the Public Defender, within the hour, he is unable to provide us with the complete document”.
Chuck pointed out that the public defender is a Commission of Parliament and that there were reports of “major problems” at the office.
“During my time as speaker, there were problems at his office, too, and I urge the speaker to investigate the reports that have emanated from that office, because it is a very important commission of Parliament, and it is important that not only his promises in terms of the presentation of his report, but also the problems that we hear emanating from his office, be investigated.
“Thank you, Mr Chuck,” the Speaker responded. The issue ended there.
Witter set up office at the community centre in Tivoli Gardens within a week of the incursion by members of the security forces seeking to then apprehend fugitive Christopher “Dudus” Coke, who was wanted in the United States on several charges and was trying to evade extradition to the US.
The security forces failed to apprehend Coke, but the expedition ended with over 70 residents being killed and homes and property damaged.