Mr. Jackson said according to information he has received, the unpleasant and disturbing situation developed when the lone patrol unit entered the community of Tivoli Gardens to enforce the curfew order under the Disaster Risk Management Act. He said not only was the order disobeyed, but the police were fired upon for hours in an intense gun battle, which necessitated the intervention of senior members of the police top brass and additional law enforcement units.
The Opposition Shadow Minister of National Security said since the quelling of the situation; there has been no word from the National Security Minister or the Police High Command on the incident.
“No report of anyone detained or arrest made, and the society is left to speculate on what exactly took place in Tivoli Gardens on Monday, June 8, 2020. The police tried to disperse a crowd of nearly 200 persons, who were gathered for a social event and came under heavy gunfire,” he stated.
Coincidently, following on the standoff with the security forces and gunmen, the nearby Ray Ray market was set ablaze.
Tivoli Gardens has had a reputation of defiance of the security forces, and many persons in the society would recall the 2010 armed conflict between law enforcement and gunmen of the community which resulted in the killing of both civilians and members of the security forces.
Mr. Jackson said some reports emanating from persons familiar with the recent shooting incident paint a picture reminiscing of the days before the Tivoli Incursion when heavily armed gunmen would challenge routine patrol units.
Mr. Jackson said, therefore, he is calling on Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Minister Chang to provide the country with an update on the Tivoli Gardens shooting incident of Monday, June 8, 2020, and its connection to the Ray Ray market fire. Mr. Jackson said the truth and nothing but the truth is required from Prime Minister Holness and Security Minister Chang.
The PNP Shadow Minister said he is also seeking an explanation from Minister Chang on the arrest and release of guests at the birthday basement of a well-known Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) activist. He said according to information received up to forty (40) persons were detained at the West King’s House Road birthday party in violation of the COVID-19 social distancing and assembly guidelines, and the breaking of the curfew.
He said reports from several individuals suggest that of the roughly 40 persons that were detained initially, approximately twenty (20) remained in custody or were not immediately released for a variety of reasons, but some were allegedly freed after the intervention of unknown officials.
Mr. Jackson said the treatment of both incidents had left him to wonder whether the government is deliberately promoting a double standard, which is causing some individuals and sections of the society to feel that it is okay to break the law while others are arrested, humiliated and forced to publicly apologise to secure their freedom.
He said the country cannot afford any policy solution, which divides us or shows a preference in the application of the rule of law. He said, “The law is the law, and it must be applied equally irrespective of one’s status in the society.”
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