Wednesday December 19, 2018
PUBLIC DEFENDER HAS QUESTIONS TO ANSWER ABOUT INACCURACIES OF REPORT ON SOE- G2K
Kingston Jamaica: Generation 2000 (G2K), the young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) is today calling on the Public Defender, Mrs. Arlene Harrison-Henry, to immediately address claims by the Children’s Advocate and the Police that her report on the State of Public Emergency is grossly inaccurate.
During a sitting of the Internal and External Affairs committee of parliament, the public defender gave a report on the State of Emergency, where she made claims about detainees being held in cages under deplorable conditions and that they were fed a poor diet which included “black tea” (sugar and water) and “dry bread. These claims were strongly refuted by acting police commander for the St James, SOE, Senior Superintendent of Police Anthony Morris, who stated that detainees ate from the same pot as police on a daily basis.
Most shockingly G2K notes reports in the media that the Public Defender also claimed that 105 children were detained under the SOE as at October 31, 2018. This claim has also been contradicted by the Children’s advocate who says less than a quarter of that number were minors. Corroborating this statement, Senior Superintendent Morris says the number of minors detained was 13 as at October 31 and this represents the highest number of children detained since January 2018.
President of Generation 2000, Mr. Stephen Edwards, says “the fact that the Children’s Advocate and the Police have both refuted the Public Defender’s claims raises serious concerns about the trustworthiness and integrity of the report that was given by Mrs. Harrison-Henry regarding the State of Emergency.
Edwards further noted that “In light of new, credible information refuting the Public Defender, she should move with alacrity to clear the air, so that the public trust in the office that she holds can be restored.”
Noting that the Public Defender has since failed to adequately address questions concerning her previous report, Vice President of G2K Ryan Strachan says, “The Public Defender as holder of a public office has a duty to respond publicly to remove any questions concerning her prior assessment of the conditions within the detention facilities that have since been contradicted.”
Generation 2000 notes that the Opposition’s decision to withdraw its support for the States of Emergency relied heavily upon the Public Defender’s questionable account of events. The organization is therefore reiterating its call for a special sitting of Parliament to be held, where the decision to not extend the States of Emergencies can be revisited for the sake of the public’s interest.