Chuck to seek closure to 2015 INDECOM review in Parliament

Chuck to seek closure to 2015 INDECOM review in Parliament

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

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Minister of Justice Delroy Chuck is to table a motion in Parliament next week which will seek to complete a parliamentary review of the operations of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM).

The report, which dates back to 2015 when a two-year-old select committee of both Houses of Parliament completed the first review of the work of the commission, was tabled in the House of Representatives that year. However, with an interceding election in early 2016, and the change of Administration which followed in February of that year, it was left to gather dust.

But the issue regained life recently when the United Kingdom Privy Council ruled against INDECOM prosecuting members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) for using violence against civilians.

Chuck told the House of Representatives yesterday that he will be tabling a motion next week relating to the review to complete that exercise.

He noted that the INDECOM Bill, which was passed in 2010, repealing the Police Public Complaints Act, provided for the establishment of INDECOM to undertake investigations and prosecution concerning improper actions of members of the JCF, and other agents of the State, which result in the death or injury to individuals or abuse of their rights as a person.

The Government had intended to complete the processing of the report in Parliament in 2017; however, the Jamaica Police Federation, which represents the rank and file members of the JCF, took the matter to the local courts. INDECOM lost the case at the local Appeal Court level and took the matter to the United Kingdom-based Privy Council , which also ruled in favour of the police on May 4 this year.

“The position is that I propose to bring next week a motion to bring the recommendation of the joint select committee to this Parliament so that we can debate the recommendations,” Chuck told the House of Representative in brief statement on the matter.

Opposition spokesman on finance Mark Golding, who had chaired the select committee as a member of the Senate between 2013 and 2015, welcomed the decision.

“It is a long time since the report was drafted, but I am glad now that the Privy Council's case is complete and we can actually move forward with the report. I look forward to the debate,” Golding said.

The Privy Council had said in its ruling that it was clear that INDECOM's role is investigative, from the long title of the Act, as well as Section 4, which sets out the commission's functions. It said that the Act did not confer any expressed powers on the commissioner, the commission, or its staff to prosecute the members of the force.

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