KINGSTON — Prime Minister, Hon. Andrew Holness, said that while the United States (US) provided a surveillance aircraft during the security operations in Tivoli Gardens, West Kingston last May, the US military did not participate in the action on the ground.
Speaking at a press conference yesterday (Dec. 8) at the Office of the Prime Minister, Mr. Holness confirmed that the Government of Jamaica accepted an offer from the US to assist with “imagery and communication” consistent with relevant cooperation agreements. “The request was made and formalised by diplomatic note,” he informed.
Mr. Holness told journalists that given the “blanket arrangements” there was no need to seek permission from the Minister of National Security, Senator Dwight Nelson.
He said that the direct work in terms of finalising the details of the assistance to be made available were from the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) to the specific agency in the US.
“The Minister of National Security and the Ministry of National Security would not be involved in that. We must always bear in mind that the operations in Tivoli Gardens were led by the Jamaica Defence Force and therefore at that point, they would not know the details that they would require,” the Prime Minister explained.
The Prime Minister pointed out that assistance with surveillance imagery and communications is not unique to the operations in Tivoli Gardens and is used in drug-related operations.
He emphasised that too much information on such operations could “compromise future cooperation."
By Allan Brooks, JIS Senior Reporter