The residents of Tivoli Gardens did not hold back in their vehement criticisms of those they accused of being responsible for the treatment they were dealt at the hands of agents of the state during the May 2010 incursion.
Bearing placards demanding reparations and calling for the imprisonment of Former Prime Minister Bruce Golding, former Police Commission Owen Ellington and Army head Stewart Saunders, the irate residents pleaded their plight to anyone who was interested to listen, including Chairman of the Tivoli Gardens Commission of Inquiry, David Simmons.
Simmons had a led a delegation of commissioners, attorneys at law, police officers and the media on a tour of the embattled community on Friday morning. The touring party first drove around the periphery of the community, North up Darling Street, West on Spanish Town Road, south on Industrial Terrace and East along Marcus Garvey Drive before visiting the ‘Java’ and ‘Rasta City’ sections of the community.
It was in those locations that the residents vented their anger.
“Ellington a wicked, him fi go a prison. Bruce Golding too and the one Saunders, prison fi them. What happen too we a genocide,’ one woman bellowed loudly.
They had unkind words for the police and also attorney representing the Jamaica Constabulary Force, Deborah Martin.
“How she fi say the police never come in no mask and she never deh yah? We feel it under the hands of police and soldier. My house mash up and all now me don’t live nowhere,” one woman told the media through tears.
The residents also carried members of the media through the community and showed evidence of what they described as bombs that were dropped on them and pock-marked walls of houses. One woman shook uncontrollably as she described how a bomb had left her traumatised after four years and had affected her balance and other faculties severely.
The residents also challenged reports by the authorities that 73 civilians were killed during the incursion and claimed that more than 200 lives were lost. The security forces had gone into the community to serve an arrest warrant on former strongman Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, who was wanted by the United States authorities on racketeering allegations.
Coke eventually pled guilty to the charges and was handed a 23-year sentence. He was nabbed almost a month after the incursion in the presence of clergyman Al Miller at Ferry in St Catherine. Miller is now answering to charges of harbouring a fugitive.