Head of the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), Terrence Williams, has expressed his disappointment that nearly 20 officers of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) have yet to receive the recommended disciplinary actions, eight years after the deadly Tivoli Gardens incursion.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday, at INDECOM’s New Kingston headquarters, Commissioner Williams told members of the media the officers in question fall within the rank of inspector and above (gazetted officers).
“Those (gazetted officers) have been completely ignored; nothing at all. For those below inspector, we’re happy to see greater attempts to get those disciplinary proceedings going, but still disappointed by the lack of proceedings for the gazetted officers,” he said.
Williams argued that it is important, if only on the basis of accountability, that all senior members involved in breaches of protocol during the 2010 Tivoli massacre meet the appropriate repercussions – and to see that being blatantly ignored eight years later should be a telling sign for the Jamaican people.
“We’re eight years into a particular endeavour: to make police more accountable for the actions that they take. The word that best describes how the police force acted prior to 2010 is ‘impunity’,” Williams added.
“How can it be, since INDECOM has been around, we recommended disciplinary proceedings for 20 senior officers and they (JCF) have had no hearings? How can that be? Where is the accountability?” the INDECOM boss asked.
Williams further contended that after the costly and widely public West Kingston Commission of Enquiry, as well as separate inquests by INDECOM, the JCF’s ‘silent’ enquiry without any hearings on the part of the Police Services Commission, is a slap in the face of justice.
“You have a Commission of Enquiry which sits for so long and costs so much money, heard all that evidence in the open and say ‘These officers must face discipline’ and then, the JCF has an enquiry, behind closed doors, and says ‘Oh no, everything the Commission of Enquiry says, it don’t guh so’. And from the Police Service Commission, no disciplinary hearing,” Commissioner Williams continued.
“So what we have is we do the investigations but then where are the proceedings? INDECOM is not going to be quiet when we see our work and the work of others being made to be just like a charade,” he retorted.