Amnesty International lashes Jamaica over Tivoli report delays

(Jamaica Gleaner) Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has described as unacceptable the protracted delays by the Public Defender, Earl Witter, to present the report into the 2010 operations into Tivoli Gardens, West Kingston.

Witter missed yet another deadline yesterday to present the report to the Parliament.

“Continued delays in the investigation into the killing of 73 people in May 2010 during an operation by security forces in West Kingston could be letting people get away with murder,” said an Amnesty International spokesperson in a release today.

In a letter sent to House Speaker Michael Peart, Amnesty International questioned ongoing delays.

Earl Witter
Earl Witter

“It is outrageous that nearly three years since the Tivoli Gardens killings the Jamaican authorities are far from being able to answer the many questions that remain,” said Javier Zúñiga, Special Advisor at Amnesty International.

“By failing to ensure that those responsible for the killings, disappearances and arbitrary arrests that took place in Tivoli in 2010, the Jamaican authorities are simply sending the message that human rights abuses are permitted and won’t be punished.”

Amnesty cited an incident in July 2012, when National Security Minister Peter Bunting said that the Office of the Public Defender was understaffed to undertake the scale of investigation into the Tivoli operations.

“If the problem is a lack of resources available to the Office of the Public Defender, the authorities should have addressed this issue long ago,” said Zúñiga.

Amnesty International also urged the Jamaican authorities to ensure a parliamentary hearing is held to investigate the delays in the investigations.

It said according to information received that Jamaican security forces are responsible for unlawful killings, arbitrary arrests and enforced disappearances that took place during an operation by the security forces in Tivoli Gardens during the state of emergency in May 2010.

The law enforcement operation was aimed at arresting suspected gang leader Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke.


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