KINGSTON — The deployment of a United States (US) surveillance aircraft over Jamaica during the security operations in Tivoli Gardens last year constituted part of normal agreements that Jamaica enjoys with the US and other governments, which supply equipment to the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF).
This was stated by Chief of Defence Staff, Major General Antony Anderson, at a press conference at Jamaica House on December 8, called by Prime Minister Andrew Holness, to set the record straight, that the US was not involved in the ground operations, but assisted the local military with surveillance imagery and equipment.
The army Chief said that the US intervention was designed to provide "general imagery assistance and communications”during the May 24, 2010 operations in the West Kingston community, to serve a warrant on Christopher 'Dudus' Coke.
"At that time, what we wanted was an enhanced picture if it was available. The more information we had would lead to better planning. The planning that took place was between ourselves and the Jamaica Constabulary Force, no one else," Major General Anderson emphasised.
Providing further details, the Prime Minister said the US authorities made an offer to provide surveillance and technical equipment to the Jamaican Government and the offer was accepted. He explained that diplomatic notes were exchanged by the US and Jamaica through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which was part of the normal protocol.
Mr. Holness said that details in relation to the provision of the technical assistance were known only by the JDF and the "relevant agency in the United States," and that the Ministry of National Security was not involved in the details of the arrangement, thus the Minister of National Security would not have been aware of the specifics of the assistance involved.
"No foreign force participated in any way or form in the operations on the ground in Tivoli Gardens," the Prime Minister said.
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter