December 3, 2015 – The Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) has launched an investigation following reports of coordinated abuse of inmates of the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre. The investigation was launched on December 1, 2015 following a request for information touching and concerning the injuries of one inmate.
A team has since been assigned to probe these allegations of coordinated abuse. The Commission is not in a position to report on the allegations until more substantive information has been acquired. The public will be appraised once the investigation has reached a stage where it is appropriate to comment.
Since the start of the year, the Commission has received 12 complaints from the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre.
Further, INDECOM notes the label of “death squads” being used in relation to these incidents. The Commission wishes to advise that there have been no reports of deaths among the incidents.
VISION SPECIAL PROBE …..
ROLE OF INDECOM
INDECOM was set up to probe complaints against the security forces for abuse of citizen’s rights. For example allegations of extra judicial killings by police, solders etc. Death in police custody, abuse of power ….. assaults by Correctional Officers, commonly called Warders in Jamaica. 12 complaints of abuse by Warders is being investigated. Extortion and physical abuse is being levelled at Correctional Services.
Currently INDECOM is part of the interested parties probing 73 deaths in the now notorious Tivoli incursion 2010…. apart of Tivoli Commission.
This is an independent body that reports directly to parliament and has prosecutorial powers. A number of police officers ….. about 10 have been convicted since this body was established. Many other cases are before the courts.
Attempt to Mussle INDECOM
There was a move by National security minister Peter Bunting to set up an oversight body to monitor the activities of INDECOM. This has been shelved as it was felt this move could politicize INDECOM’s role and independence.
The powerful Police Federation and certain politicians were the main complainants in this regard. The Security Minister Bunting was possibly responding to police pressure and others to “control” INDECOM.
The police in particular cannot in fairness investigate itself, if suspected of wrong doing.
INDECOM took the DPP’s office to court and won when its powers were challenged. That is the power to initiate prosecution and arrest POLICE officers. Extra judicial killings by police, in particular has dropped by more than fifty percent since the birth of INDECOM.
INDECOM is short for INDEPENDENT COMMISSION ON INVESTIGATIONS. It has a staff of about 80 persons consisting of investigators and a deputy Commissioner.
By Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie,
Senior International Correspondent & Photojournalist, for Vision Newspaper Canada.