Open letter to Acting Public Defender Matondo Mukulu: Stand up for Tivoli sufferers


Dear Acting Public Defender Matondo Mukulu,

I am truly shocked to see in a Gleaner report that after four year and a half years the best that the Office of the Public Defender (OPD) can do re the criminal destruction of people’s property during the 2010 Tivoli Gardens massacre is to submit, cap in hand, a list of 70 out of 700 claims for compensation! This is preposterous. What have you and Earl Witter been doing all this time with the resources at your disposal?

Your Office should immediately produce an analysis of what it spends its time doing?

In terms of your laggard productivity, and flawed approach to the government’s responsibility to citizens who have been wronged by its agents, let me remind you that during the Golding administration the State accepted liability for what was done in 2010 since monies were paid out to some residents for destruction of property and burial expenses. The Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS) sent hundreds of investigators into Tivoli Gardens and so did your Office send investigators.

Did this count for nothing?

Did you seek to find out the legal, moral, and political basis on which Golding made that decision? And if that was valid, which I believe it was, why not remind and advocate that this government is also duty bound to continue along the same path.

The Tivoli Committee has written to you asking for a meeting to discuss how this matter of compensation should be resolved and you have obviously decided not to respond to this request. (So too by the way did your predecessor Earl Witter refuse to meet with us on the matter of the need to specifically investigate the Commanders of the massacre. The current Enquiry is the poorer for this gross omission on his part. Do you as Public Defender also have some sort of fear of the Tivoli Committee?)

Your reasonable but limited claim sheet may very well end up in the waste paper basket of the Attorney General. There is nothing to compel the AG to respond. It is therefore patently clear that it is your duty to PUBLICLY make the case for compensation. This is a legal as much as it is a moral and political one. As the Public Defender, so-called, it is your duty to ADVOCATE on behalf of those who suffer human rights abuses at the hands of the State.

As for resolving oustanding claims the government must be compelled to appoint a public body (encompassing the OPD, MLSS, the Ministry of Finance and people representatives from Tivoli Gardens among others) to establish the principle of compensation and the validity of the claims.

This matter of establishing “adequacy of compensation” is for the Public Defender and others as a properly constituted group to make, and does not properly belong before this present Commission of Enquiry.

We had hoped that you would see the logic of approaching the matter in this way, especially since we are dealing with very poor and marginalized people who have waited far too long for the present government to recognize and accept responsibility for the wrong done to them.

We believe that it is your job to make the case. The time is now.

Lloyd D’Aguilar
Tivoli Committee

Trade unionists on NHT board betray interests of Jamaican working class

AUBYN HILL, banker, businessman, raised the question on the IMPACT TV programme as to why it was necessary to have five trade unionists on the National Housing Trust (NHT) board. Under normal circumstances one would dismiss Hill as one of the privileged few (like Lenni Little Whyte), who resents working class scrutiny over their administration of public property.

After all , Hill himself had to answer questions about conflict of interest allegations while involved in disposing of public assets (sugar), as well as propriety and conflict of interest actions while a board member of the Development Bank of Jamaica (DBJ) (the same bank that wrote off 80 million dollars for Lennie Little White and his OUTAMENI Experience).

Unfortunately, the scandalous behaviour of the five trade union members on the NHT board makes it difficult to effectively respond to Aubyn Hill.

Lambert Brown, the president of the University and Allied Workers Union (UAWU), summed it up well for the rest of the trade unionists when he wondered what the fuss was all about since the $180 million purchase of OUTAMENI was done at a profit because the property was valued at 2 to 3 hundred million dollars. Chairman Easton Douglas said basically the same thing.

This type of ignorance (some would call it arrogance) is exceedingly embarrassing for a trade union leader who negotiates on behalf of workers with savvy business leaders and doesn’t understand the difference between asset and profit.

For President Lambert Brown’s information, until this 180 million dollar investment (which at best is what it is) recuperates its cost price plus more, or is sold for more than what is was purchased for, it has not made a profit! And furthermore, it is the market (made up of people who exploit demand and supply) which will determine whether the value of the asset will be realized or not. Until then no profit has been made. Don’t try to pull the wool over the eyes of the public.

The real scandal, however, does not begin with the OUTAMENI purchase. It in fact began with the NHT Board’s 2013 approval of the government’s 45 billion dollar rape of the NHT in order to pay debt to a few privileged Jamaican creditors.

Were the trade unionists just as servile in approving this rape? There is no record of them publicly disapproving it. This approval was the absolute betrayal of the interests of working class Jamaicans. And on this occasion, the ever reliable PNP hack, Lambert Brown, defended it, claiming it was to assist the country’s “economic recovery”!

As for the purchase of OUTAMENI, with five trade unionists on the NHT board, one would have reasonably expected them to recognize this as a bail out for Lenni Little Whyte, that it was not good business sense to take over and try to run a failed tourism enterprise, much more to try and turn it into a profit.

Assuming that they saw their role on the Board as to ensure the building of more housing solutions for working class people, rather than to bail out failed businessmen, we would have expected them to decisively reject the deal and make a public outcry if undemocratic means were used to push through the bailout. All the evidence seems to suggest that this was a unanimous decision and those who were not there — such as Helene Davis White and Kavan Gayle — would have supported it had they been present, according to their own words and actions. They certainly had the option to resign as other Board members have done when they disagreed with a decision.

So why then should we be surprised at the behaviour of these trade union leaders i.e. their absolute lack of working class consciousness .

The fact is that for years they have been approving public sector wage freeze after wage freeze, sometimes called MOUs. They have refused to confront the State over excessively high non-productive consumption expenditures — which include excessive payments to consultants (many of whom are consultants as a political reward), ministerial travel jaunts, million dollar phone bills, luxury cars, posh office furnishings, not to mention million dollar home refurbishings so that Ministers don’t have to live in ‘squalor’. Not even as a token measure, have they ever called for a salary cut for all parliamentarians. Where is the shared sacrifice during this time of austerity?

The truth is that these trade union leaders have been co-opted and incorporated into the state machinery and corporate Jamaica. Their life style is upper middle class not working class, thanks to hard earned Union dues.

There is not a Union that can immediately produce an up-to-date income and expenditure statement as they are legally required to do and as is the right of every dues paying member to see.

Some Unions such as the UAWU no longer bother with regular workers’ congresses in order to elect the leadership as is the right of the members to do.

Such Unions have become proprietary unions as was the BITU under Alexander Bustamante.

All unions are now tools of the political parties. Aubyn Hill was right: What is the purpose of so many trade unionists on the NHT board when they don’t represent working class interests…. unfortunately.

Lloyd D’Aguilar

Open letter to Peter Phillips and Portia Simpson-Miller from Michael Manley: January 5 1986, Sunday Gleaner

[Dear Peter and Portia,]

Third World Debt

NOW what of the debt crisis itself? One has to assume that sensible people understand the fundamental cause of Third World debt.

It is true that some Third World leadership has been corrupt, or adventurist or both. It is true that not all Third World economies have been brilliantly managed. On the other hand, it is only a fool or a liar who maintains that these have been the main factors at work.

Third World debt is a function of the structural deformity implanted in the world economy by centuries of colonialism and by the subsequent domination of the world by international finance capital and the transnational corporation system which now controls more than half of world trade.

Adverse terms of trade, the high price of technology, the reverse financial flows caused by profit remittances, royalties and other financial charges together with the effects of transnational decision-making all lay the foundation for the crisis. Thereafter, the policies of the IMF into whose arms Third World counties are driven, contribute nothing to the solution of the basic problems. Indeed, IMF programmes exacerbate the difficulties. When, finally, the burden of expensive money is added to everything else, the stage is set for the disaster that is now slowly engulfing nearly a half of the world’s population.

What is to be done? Virtually every economist in the Third World, together with the finest thinkers of European Social Democracy, are of one mind in this matter. They say the debt crisis can no longer be managed on a case by case basis. They charge that we are engaged in a “game of pretend” in which Third World governments pretend that they can maintain the schedule of payments required in whatever is the latest IMF agreement. The IMF pretends the same and the commercial banks accept the pretence because, with it, they could not face their shareholders. Meantime, the governments of the developed countries whose commercial banks are on the line, pretend that the situation is under control because otherwise they would have to face the serious decisions without which the whole sorry mess cannot be brought under control.

The genuine experts argue that an international conference on debt is urgently needed. Such a conference between major creditor governments and representatives of the debtor governments ought to negotiate the following package:

(1) The virtual cancellation of the debt of the Least Developed Countries, mainly in Sub-Saharan Africa. Not more than token payments should be charged against these governments which simply do not have the capacity to pay because of the stage of their development and the massive impact on their economies of the world crisis since 1974. The share of total debt which this section represents is less than five percent.

(2) A comprehensive rescheduling of the remaining debt incorporating the following principles:
(a) A period of moratorium
(b) Arrangements to ensure that no country be required to commit more than 20 percent of its export earnings to the repayment of debt.
(C) A cap on interest rates to ensure that his factor does not undermine all other arrangements.
(d) A lengthening of repayment schedules to accommodate (a) and (b) above.
(3) A device such as an internationally backed bond issue to take up a substantial proportion of the existing private commercial debt so as to preserve the position of the commercial banks involved. Such a bond issue would not require payment of cash but would, in turn, pay the interest rates necessary to secure the position of the banks.
. . .
It must be argued, of course, that any solution to the debt crisis today will be short-lived if we do not simultaneously tackle the structural problems in the world economy which have consigned the Third World to an inferior position in the international division of labour. This the real and continuing cause of the problem.

Michael Manley

PS: I became so annoyed at your constant patting yourselves on the back (especially you Peter) for your slavish adherence to IMF austerity measures that I felt compelled to send you this article which I wrote in 1986! Do you guys ever read what I wrote?
National Heroes Park.

Paula Llewellyn must go: The DPP should be an elected position

THE latest impasse between INDECOM and DPP Paula Llewellyn is not about the needfor greater communication between the two as JLP spokesperson on justice Alexander Williams and the PNP’s Phillip Paulwell seem to be saying according to a Gleaner report.

DPP Paula Llewelyn has been an absolute failure where the interests and human rights of poor and working class Jamaicans are concerned.

Her failures are well known. She has been ineffective in prosecuting policemen who are charged with extrajudicial killings (part of the circle of impunity) and she has been ineffective in prosecuting public officials who are charged with corruption (the number one concern of most Jamaicans).

Paula Llewellyn is a fairly young woman and it is frightening that it is almost impossible to remove her until she reaches age sixty or sixty five according to the constitution.

Now is the time to amend the constitution. Either the DPP is appointed for a stipulated period of time or the DPP becomes an elected position as is the case in 47 American states. The latter alternative is perhaps the best way to go.

Instead of providing money to political parties, money should be used to fund the campaigns of those interested in running for the office of DPP.

Let the people decide who they prefer to protect their interests. The office of the DPP is too cloistered, too powerful, too “independent”, too unaccountable to serve the democratic interests of the people.

Now is the time for change. Now is not a time pretend that the incompetence and social indifference of Llewellyn is not a GLARING wake up call to the dangers of this ALL MIGHTY position that she holds.

Lloyd D’Aguilar
Tivoli Committee

From the Archives: The lies politicians tell..and Bruce Golding told

SEPTEMBER 19, 2010

DID you see that GLEANER cartoon last week of Prime Minister GOLDING once again putting his foot in his mouth… actually it was putting his feet in his mouth.
You know the saying about those people, who every time they open their mouth they only end up putting their foot inside it.
Some weeks ago I interviewed psychiatrist Dr Freddie Hickling because he had written something in the papers about the compulsion of our leaders to tell lies.
Well the truth is that these leaders are bound to lie because their rule over us is based on a lie.
They want to pretend to be democratic when they are really dictators. They want to pretend to be for the poor when they are really for the rich.
And Mr. Golding expressed that lie very well when he said that he is the servant of the people…
Well that is a POLITICAL LIE. He is not the servant of the people … HE is the head DICTATOR over the people…
AND … everytime that dictatorial style is exposed ….you have to engage in another lie to cover up that lie that has been exposed… you just keep on telling more lies…
So Forget this business about whether Mr Brady was still a member of the JLP or not
Events have proven that this was wishful thinking on the part of Golding…. And when we put it that we way we are being charitable.
The most incredible thing Mr Golding said was that the $50,000 US dollars that was paid to Manat and Phelps was paid by a businessman who has been a donor to the JLP for over FORTY years FORTY YEARS
He even receives Government contracts…
AND listen carefully…. Mr Golding said he called in this person and said ‘look nuh something come up and we need $50,000 US dollars to take care of some business’
AND the DONOR, said no problem man; he asked no question WHATSOVER in terms of what the money was to be used for
HE just put his hand in his VERY deep pocket and gave Mr Golding the $50,000 US dollars.
He didn’t ask a word.
NOW What a faithful contributor to the JLP this PERSON is.
But the story gets deeper…. Mr Golding subsequently called him after EVERYTING bus bout Manat and Phelps and Dudus Coke…..
And Golding said to him “Look nuh MAN I’m coming under a lo of pressure, the people want to know who gave us that $50,000 US dollars which by the way we used to pay Manat and Phelps…. PLEASE CAN I REVEAL your identity?

And Mr Golding said the Man said NO WAY….NOW WAY Amigo… I don’t want to get mixed up in that at all.
NOW let’s analyze this for a moment….
This donor with obviously very deep pocket loves the JLP and love Bruce Golding so much… forget about the fact that he gets government contracts …. That he didn’t care what the MONEY would be used for… HE DIDN”T ASK and WAS NOT TOLD…. AND Now that his dear friend BRUCE GOLDING is in trouble… could possible lose his JOB and NOW we are to believe that this person say NO WAY I don’t want get mixed up inna dat.
Doesn’t that sound a little hard to believe? The man has been cleared… He did nothing wrong… he gave money to the JLP which is legal; he had nothing to do with Manat and Phelps and Dudus Coke…. So what does he has to be concerned about?
BUT most important his friend Golding is in a pickle… doesn’t he care about what could happen to him. How could he be so callous.
But more who is this person?
IF he has been a JLP contributor for forty years, a businessman…. and has deep pockets ….. then he has to be in his late seventies at least…
That rules out DAVID SMITH … who we know contributed very heavily to the JLP
David Smith is a young man… and his funds are frozen as far as we know.
It rules out Dudus because although Dudus’s companies had contracts with the government, and Dudus has deep pockets… AND would have every reason to want to pay the US$50,000 ….. He is just a little too young….
So is it possible that Prime Minister’s mind is playing tricks with him once again…
It has played tricks on him many times before….AFTERALL He was quite sure that HAROLD BRADY was no longer a member of the JLP….
And now it turns out that Harold BRADY is a member of the JLP
Could it be possible that the PRIME MINISTER just flipped the rolodex… looking for this 40-year contributor to the JLP… but being so tired and over worked…. He didn’t realize that he happened to come up with Dudus’ number by mistake and called him….
Dudus of course as a loyal member didn’t need to know what the money was for… And if he knew he certainly wouldn’t object
And He just sent it over right away…..
And the Prime Minister being tired and overworked just didn’t pay attention to detail…. And made a mixup….
Ahh but GUESS what…. IT couldn’t be that way… It couldn’t be that way BECAUSE the PRIME MINISTER says he has now called the contributor… AND DUDUS IS IN JAIL.. so he couldn’t have made a mistake….
But hold on didn’t I read last week that Dudus is allowed two calls per week….
I’m telling you people…. IF ONLY THE PRIME MINISTER were a believable person…. Who despite his great command of the English language …. Makes so many mistakes sometimes …. WE COULD ALL JUST MOVE ON with this one.
SO IF YOU ARE TO REGAIN THE TRUST OF THE PEOPLE, Mr Prime Minister ….. You have no choice but to forget about the wishes of your alleged donor… reveal his identity…. THERE IS NO LAW stopping you from doing so … the only thing stopping you is your own political morality… reveal his identity….AND LET US SEE THE CANCELLED CHECK. Nothing less will restore trust in you.
And speaking about restoring trust in the Prime Minister and putting feet in mouth…..
Last week the Prime Minister went to Tivoli and gave out some checks to some RESIDENTS…. these are checks for damage that was done to their furniture, apartments and belongings by the security forces…. And these checks were only given out to some of the people.
I understand that more checks are to be given out.
Now Mr Golding apparently made a little speech to the people and the Gleaner reports him as saying and I quote:
“What happened in May could not have been avoided”
In other words Mr Golding accepts no responsibility for anything that happened
73 people died… and Mr Golding accepts no responsibility…
He hasn’t even expressed remorse to the people who claimed that their young men were taken out and executed by the Security Forces
That I guess could not have been avoided either.. Nor has HE asked the Police Commissioner to give an accounting…
And in terms of the destruction of people’s property by the security forces ….. that could not have been avoided either.
And so the Prime Minister like Alice in Wonderland is so happy to be there in Tivoli — to be photographed giving out tax payers’ money to compensate victims of state terrorism … which government obviously accepts as having happened… or else it would not be giving out checks.
You know I am hoping that next time our psychiatrist friend Dr Freddie Hickling will write a diagnostic essay about the madness of delusional politicians.
Seriously: Was THERE A twelve year old school boy or girl in Jamaica who took the strike threat of the trade union leaders seriously?
A general strike …. Called by this coward bunch of eunuchs, otherwise called trade union leaders?
Listen all they wanted was a little attention… and a little meeting by the government and they got their meeting.
That is the Trade Union bible that these Eunuchs swear by.
And so the government, which wrote the Bible by the way, simply calls for a meeting to tell the Trade Union bureaucrats that it doesn’t have any money.
And the government will keep on using this method to keep on forestalling Strike Action for as long as it takes.
What a laughable stock of trade union bureaucrats we have in this country… even 12 year olds see through their game and are laughing at them.
I’m glad that someone wrote a letter to the Editor to tell the bright Miss Lisa Hanna, the future of the PNP according to Mr Ronnie Thwaites… that there is no such thing as clean coal. To use coal to fuel any bauxite plant in Jamaica would be an environmental disaster.
Miss Hanna should go and do some reading and stop making a fool of herself by making such ridiculous public statements.
The Prime Minister said the same thing some time ago…. but surely Miss Hanna you don’t want to be emulating the Prime Minister do you?
I’m sure you can do much better than that.

Away with education minister Ronnie Thwaites and his plantation mentality!

CHRIS Zaca‘s call as head of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica for a reshuffling of the Cabinet is obviously a diversion from the real speech he should have given which was to exhort those in the private sector who avoid and evade paying taxes to pay up. Zaca knows precisely where to fire his diversionary blank shots.

But if there is one minister who should immediately be exiled from the Cabinet it is Ronnie Thwaites, minister of education. This gentleman is the most disingenuous of the lot. He blames everyone but himself and his government for the terrible state of education due mostly to underfunding and budget cuts.

His stilted verbosity is not an example of good communication and the way Jamaicans should speak, it is an example of patrician, planter-class type speaking down to poor black people.

The nerve that this Patrician Gentleman has telling poor people that is because of buying donkey hair why they can’t find money for books and food and clothes to send their children to school. So many children go to bed hungry at nights or go to school on empty stomachs and he has the gall to be embarrassing black people about bag juice culture.

He and his retinue of expensively paid consultants would never think of taking a pay cut to help do away with the bag juice culture. Contrary to what his colleague minister Omar Davies thinks, Darryl Vaz has demonstrated that a pay cut for MPs and Ministers, and the rest of the unproductive class, can be a BIG deal for the 1.2 milion people who are living below the poverty line.

Finally, Thwaites’ democratic pretensions are exposed when he chides students for exercising their constitutional right to protest a foolish and oppressive Education policy about length of dress — maybe because of his religious prudishness.

Away with Ronnie Thwaites! Banish him back to the plantation from whence he came.
Lloyd D’Aguilar

Open letter to minister of health, Fenton Ferguson: Stop the chemical attacks against innocent citizens

Dear Minister of Health, Dr Fenton Ferguson,

I write you to ask that you immediately suspend the policy in regard to the Ministry of Health mosquito spraying programme.

This method of constant spraying without warning to residents is an absolute criminal assault, especially against those who have respiratory problems.

It is absolutely necessary that your ministry publicly publish and discuss this spraying programme so that those who believe that their health might be affected by indiscriminate spraying be allowed to exempt themselves from the area at the time that the spraying is to take place. This is the minimum courtesy that your ministry can extend to citizens of this country.

I think it is also the right of citizens to know precisely what is the chemical content of the spray being used so that potential harm to humans can be evaluated.

It is my observation that workers on the vans that do the spraying do not wear gas masks as should be required and this has got to be an absolute assault on their health.

Studies have shown that pesticides used to control or kill mosquitoes are not only harmful to the environment but are potentially carcinogenic for human beings, not to mention the ineffectiveness of this method. Malathion for example is an organophosphate that can cause long term neurological health problems.

Indeed, in other jurisdictions such as the United States, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) demands that there first be a surveillance programme to determine “levels of mosquito activity” and a “community outreach and public education” programme before any such spraying can be carried out. In other words are all communities equal in terms of mosquito threat?

I challenge you to show how or where such a scientific approach has been adopted by your ministry. This is in contrast to your extensive public discussion about the dangers of cigarette smoking and coming regulations regarding carbon monoxide emission from motor vehicles.

It is my experience in the neighbourhood where I live that spraying has been continuing for months and is carried out several times per week. This has got to be totally excessive and is a reflection of the absolute ineffectiveness of this method where killing mosquitoes is concerned.

I urge you minister to immediately suspend this programme and to engage in a public review and discussion.

To ignore this plea, and to continue with this indiscriminate spraying has to be recognized as a chemical attack against innocent citizens and is criminal in nature.

As the one who sets policy, the bucks stops with you, and makes you criminally liable for damage done to citizens.

Lloyd D’Aguilar

Open letter to Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse: Chemicals used in spraying are not safe!

DEAR Dr Marion Bullock DuCasse
Director, Emergency, Disaster Management and Special Services, Ministry of Health
I am outraged but not surprised to read that you are contending that the chemical malathion that is used to attack people or “fog” them as you call it is “safe”.

According to you, “this is recognised on the safe list in terms of the international health organisation.” Which health organisation are you referring to?

That is as much you can say to reassure people, despite admitting that “it is a chemical and individuals react differently to chemicals; some have an allergic reaction, some might have respiratory irritation, but that does not mean it is something that is not safe for you and is not approved for you”! In other words, ‘this is just a minor inconvenience. Get used to it!’

I urge you to reflect on the implications of the above statement and then perhaps come to a decision as to whether you wish to continue to promote yourself as a doctor and person of science or, whether you shouldn’t start wearing your real hat as a salesperson for the chemical company that produces malathion. (Maybe salesperson for the pharmaceutical companies that produce vaccines that damage our children, as well, since your authoritarian position on that issue is also well known).

Please allow me to inform you that despite your safe label pronouncement, malathion is an organophosphate that can cause neurological damage and is considered carcinogenic by scientists who have carried out studies.

Had you have taken the time to peruse the internet, for example, you would have discovered that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken the position that there is “suggestive evidence” that malathion causes cancer. And, that recent studies provide even stronger evidence that commercial malathion insecticide caused breast cancer in laboratory animals, and malathion use by farmers is associated with an increased incidence of a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma — a type of cancer.

The policy of your ministry of health (so-called) of indiscriminate spraying of people (not to mention the potential damage to bees and the water supply) is in itself criminal given the known health risks of malathion. It cannot be a defence that you keep yourself blissfully ignorant.

I therefore urge you to revisit this matter. I urge that despite your awful powers to legally and lethally attack people with chemicals that you have a moral DUTY to at least inform them as to when you intend to carry out your attacks. Unless, of course, your commitment to the chemical companies is irreversible and the people be damned.

Finally, I think you ought to inform the MOH workers that you employ to carry out these chemical attacks, of the dangers to themselves, and to give them the gas masks that they should be wearing for protection.

In any event, I think these workers have the legal right to take you to court for wilfully putting their health and their lives at risk by not protecting them, and by being deceitful.

Lloyd D’Aguilar

Ellington resigns: so should Maj Gen Stewart Saunders and Peter Bunting

is obviously amiss with Owen Ellington’s sudden departure as head of the police force. That is perhaps a secret between himself and his political bosses in the government which may or may never be revealed.

For the moment, however, we need not detain ourselves with speculation. What needs to be focused on is the very incriminating reasons given by Ellington for his decision to step down.

Ellington says he is stepping down because he needs to separate himself from “from the leadership and management of the force prior to the commencement of the upcoming commission of Enquiry into the conduct of the operations of the security forces in Western Kingston and other areas during the limited State of Emergency in 2010″.

The Tivoli Committee has long taken the position that Ellington should either have been fired or done the honourable thing and resign as police commissioner immediately after the Tivoli Gardens massacre.

It took him four years to do the honourable thing while his boss Peter Bunting seems to have been on his knees praying for divine guidance rather than showing leadership. According to Bunting: “He was not pushed out….I was satisfied with his performance.”

The fact is that Ellington should have long been the subject of a criminal investigation into his role as police commander of the Tivoli operations. The fact that the investigating arm of the police did no investigation has to be laid squarely at the feet of Owen Ellington.

Had he resigned immediately it would have been far easier for Bunting to agree with the Tivoli Committee’s demand that not only should Ellington be investigated for the crimes against humanity that were committed by the security forces, but that the matter should be referred to the International Criminal Court.

Having now done the “honourable” thing it might be a little too late since the die is cast. The terms of reference have been decided upon by the government, and there is no indication that there will be anything other than a perfunctory look at Ellington’s role in the whole affair. The commissioners have not been tasked with specifically investigating his role as commander. And the government has given no indication that it is disposed to sending the matter to the ICC.

Additionally, the Tivoli Committee believes that even at this late stage, the example of Ellington separating himself from the management and leadership of the force so as to minimize any obstructionist role that he could play in the enquiry, should also apply Assistant Commissioner Glenmore Hinds. He was the ground commander and now as commissioner he has the power to obstruct and he should also step aside or be fired.

Ellington also cites the need for there to be no perception of him having any “influence” or “interference” with the ongoing INDECOM probe into police death squads operating out of May Pen Clarendon. Like the Tivoli matter, this is also a little late in the day since this investigation has been ongoing on for many months.

It would be interesting, however, to hear what is INDECOM’s perception of the role Ellington has played in their investigations so far, or his involvement in the matter.

Finally, Ellington makes it clear, that Major General Stewart Saunders, former head of the JDF, and military commander of the Tivoli, should also resign or be fired from his post as permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security.

The same principle applies. As the subject of a potential criminal enquiry Saunders should never have been appointed to this position which gives him opportunity to obstruct and shape the enquiry to suit himself.

In the final analysis, the blame for this fiasco must rest squarely on the shoulders of minister Peter Bunting. He has shown scant regard or concern for the seriousness of the crimes committed in Tivoli Gardens, and this is exemplified in no greater way than his seeming attempt to protect the two major players in that massacre.

We believe that he should also resign or be fired. It is the ethical thing to do.

By getting rid of Ellington, Saunders and Bunting, it may be possible to revisit the terms of reference with a different approach, devoid of the temptation for corruption.

Lloyd D’Aguilar
on behalf of the
Tivoli Committee


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