Thu | Jul 2, 2020

Tivoli incursion: ten years on | Soldier thought he’d never see kids again

Published:Friday | May 29, 2020 | 12:00 AM

A Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) soldier who was battling for the State and his own life during the May 2010 Tivoli Gardens incursion says he thought he would never see his kids again.

During a recent interview with The Gleaner, the military man, with more than a decade’s service, said the ordeal was scary.

“Worst part a being down there is seeing that the same tool we have a the same tools dem ave ... ,” the JDF member, who requested anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media, revealed.

“I was there wondering if I’m gonna be able to see my kids again,” he said.

Hundreds of soldiers and police breached barricades around the Tivoli Gardens enclave to serve an extradition warrant on Coke after a nine-month diplomatic stand-off between Washington and Kingston.

The three-day operation, from May 24-26, left in its wake the bodies of 68 civilians and one soldier.

“Mi nah pick side because I was there. It rough, but dem create a monster there,” the soldier said.

After two commissions of enquiry, no one was prosecuted despite numerous allegations of extrajudicial killings.

Lloyd D’Aguilar, who represented the Tivoli Committee in the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry more than four years ago, still rails against the leadership of the political directorate and the security forces. D’Aguilar, who was thrown out of the enquiry by Chairman David Simmons, said he holds them accountable.

“The commanders of the May 2010 Tivoli Gardens-West Kingston massacre enjoyed personal exoneration for the terrorism or crimes against humanity charges they should have faced,” he said in a statement.

D’Aguilar said that the commission was set up by the Government to achieve precisely what it did: avoid examining the role of culpable actors, thus producing reams of irrelevance.

“International law was never brought to bear – not even a specific condemnation of the use of mortars fired into a residential area. No one was held accountable,” he charged.

“Surprisingly, the only specific unconstitutional act was the detention of over 5,000 men – not one of whom was ever recommended for compensation.”

andre.williams@gleanerjm.com