A War Zone: Former Public Defender Recalls Tivoli During Incursion

Former Public Defender, Queens Counsel Earl Witter, says Tivoli Gardens was like a war zone, when he visited the community, a day after the security forces entered the community in May 2010 in search of Christopher Dudus Coke.

Mr. Witter testified today at the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry today.

Earl Witter was one of several persons asked by former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, to visit Tivoli Gardens a day after the hunt for Dudus began.

This in the wake of conflicting reports from both security personnel and residents about the nature of the operation.

Mr. Witter said he saw only one corpse and heard no gunshots during his visit.

But he testified that what he saw resembled a war zone.

The former Public Defender testified that the residents were abused by members of the security forces.

Mr. Witter also testified that he was jostled by a Police Constable during his visit to the community.

He said he complained to the Constable’s superior officer but got no redress.

Mr. Witter testified that after leaving Tivoli he met with the leadership of the security forces.

He says he complained about the number of guns seized in Tivoli, relative to the number of persons killed.

In those early moments after the Tivoli operation, five guns were seized while 20 persons had been confirmed dead.

-30-