STATEMENT FROM THE HON. BRUCE GOLDING, PRIME MINISTER AND MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR WESTERN KINGSTON, FOLLOWING A TOUR OF TIVOLI GARDENS ON JANUARY 16


Today I visited the house where five young men were killed. Let me make it quite clear, the security forces have the authority to conduct operations as their intelligence determines that they should. And nobody, not the residents of Tivoli Gardens, not the Member of Parliament, not me as Prime Minister..none of us can prevent them from conducting those operations that are carried out within the law.
What I saw at the house ,which is pretty much in the same state that it was when the men were killed, raises questions that must be answered. And we have to seek answers to those questions through the established procedures that have been laid down. Postmortems are to be conducted. The families have requested, and arrangements are being made for them to have an independent pathologist when those autopsies are being conducted, to try to establish forensically, the circumstances within which they were killed.
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It would be necessary for us to secure as early a coroner’s inquest as possible. Inquiries must be made to determine the circumstances in which these men were killed and naturally the report of the pathologist and the independent observer will be very germane and of material importance to the coroner’s inquest.
I am advised that the office of the public defender has already commenced its own investigations into the matter. A team from the public defender’s office was here this morning and they are continuing their own investigations. The Bureau of Special Investigations was here on Monday and they returned again today. They are continuing their investigations.
Attorneys acting for the families of the persons who were killed are preparing to file a formal complaint with the police public complaints authority. So that there are a number of initiatives that are being pursued to seek to establish precisely what took place.
As I indicated, we are subjected by the law as anywhere else in Jamaica. But we are subject to the law and the security forces are also subjected to the law. A grave question has arisen as to whether what transpired here was in accordance with the law and it is important not just for the people of Tivoli Gardens. It is important for the enforcement of law, for the preservation of justice and for the observation of the rights of the ordinary citizens of Jamaica. It is important that we establish precisely what happened.
-more-I expect the security forces to do their job. They have a difficult job to do. The country is suffering a level of crime that cannot be tolerated and cannot be accommodated. But as difficult as their job is, we must insist, we must demand and as Prime Minister, I expect that in carrying out the job, that they are going to do so within the law, because the law applies to all of us.
Questions have been raised as to whether what was done on Sunday is within the law . that is why it is important that these established procedures for inquiring and investigations be carried out. In my capacity as Member of Parliament and with the team we have in the constituency, we will monitor the situation. We are seeking to provide some assistance where we can to the households that we can. Some of the houses and furniture were significantly damaged and some were not too badly damaged. But we are trying to see if we can assist them in having their houses repaired. This is something that we are doing at the constituency level.
With regard to the house in which the men were killed, I have advised the owners of the house to keep it sealed, under lock and key and not to disturb anything there although there has been constant traffic through the house. I have asked them not to allow any further traffic through the house as the investigative process is still continuing.

JIS Social