Of Prison Corruption, Denied Appeals & INDECOM

THE APPEALS PROCESS

The court of appeals has ruled to reaf­firm the deci­sion of the tri­al court in the case of dance­hall DJ, Adidjah Palmer, oth­er­wise knowns as Vybz Kartel, and the two accused who were con­vict­ed along with him.
Attorneys rep­re­sent­ing the trio, President of the Senate Tom Tavares Finson, Valerie Neita-Robertson, Bert Samuels, & Oswett Smith are all dis­ap­point­ed in the deci­sion of the court.
It is nat­ur­al for the defense attor­ney’s to feign anger or sur­prise, or both, when they do not get their desired out­comes.
And so Finson was out­raged at the length of time it took for the court to arrive at the ver­dict it did.
This is a trav­es­ty, it is unprece­dent­ed and it is out­ra­geous … and the Privy Council will no doubt have some­thing to say about that,” Finson told local jour­nal­ists.


In December of 2019, Finson, wrote to the court with a view to find­ing out when a deci­sion would be made in the case. At the time 18-months had passed with­out a deci­sion.
One day before the ver­dict of the appel­late court was hand­ed down, I too won­dered why this deci­sion took the time it did.
As far as we know there has been no answer to that ques­tion, but it is impor­tant to rec­on­cile that the deci­sion of the court was a unan­i­mous one by the pan­el of three judges.
The defense attor­neys say they ful­ly expect­ed to go to the privy coun­cil, the final court of appeals based in London.
The main accused Palmer is a man of means so I’m sure attor­neys are not con­strained about the length to which they will go to get their way.
It is dif­fi­cult how­ev­er to see how they will receive the out­comes t they are hop­ing for in a crim­i­nal tri­al when in which they are not mak­ing argu­ments of uncon­sti­tu­tion­al actions against their clients.
We’ll see.….….

INCARCERATION

In recent times infor­ma­tion came to the fore that Kartel has con­tin­ued his record­ing career from behind bars. People close to the con­vict­ed mur­der­er have sought to down­play those claims and have argued that he had a port­fo­lio of unre­leased music that is just now being released.
But crit­ics are not so sure, they adamant­ly claim that issues the artist talks about were not around at the time he was incar­cer­at­ed.
More recent­ly he was alleged to have used a cell­phone from his cell to record and make an insta­gram post.
After an out­cry in which many claimed that Kartel is receiv­ing spe­cial treat­ment as a for­mer star, a search of his cell was alleged­ly car­ried out and items of con­tra­band were alleged­ly found in his cell.

I am just as hung-ho as any­one when it comes to crim­i­nals pay­ing their debt to soci­ety. I am also all for there to be no spe­cial treat­ment met­ed out to any con­vict­ed per­son, par­tic­u­lar­ly per­sons con­vict­ed for com­mit­ting vio­lent crimes.
On the oth­er hand, how­ev­er, if I was doing life and (a) I had the resources to be able to acquire some of the trap­pings free­dom allows, and (b) there are cor­rupt offi­cials will­ing to acqui­esce to my demands for a price I would cer­tain­ly want to have those trap­pings free­dom allows.
The real­i­ty is that even though we may feel one way or the oth­er about con­vict­ed crim­i­nals, we should not direct our anger at the peo­ple who are locked up but at the pub­lic offi­cials who cor­rupt­ly sell their dig­ni­ty whether for a few dol­lars or because they are star-struck.
Wherever there are oppor­tu­ni­ties for rewards there will be peo­ple will­ing to take advan­tage. It is for that rea­son that inci­dents like the afore­men­tioned per­sist in Kartel’s, it is for those same rea­sons they per­sist wher­ev­er there are pris­ons and jails the world over.


Scott Mottley
Opposition spokesper­son on Justice, Donna Scott Mottley

REMEDIATING THE BREACHES

It is for those rea­sons that I am ful­ly in agree­ment with the Opposition spokesper­son on Justice, Donna Scott Mottley who has called for a thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion into the actions of cor­rec­tion­al offi­cers mon­i­tor­ing incar­cer­at­ed dance­hall artiste Vybz Kartel, fol­low­ing a recent seizure of con­tra­band from his cell.
Where I dis­agree with her is that there should be an inves­ti­ga­tion involv­ing those mon­i­tor­ing Kartel. The sys­tem just does not work that way, sure there should be an inves­ti­ga­tion in this inci­dent but it should not be about any indi­vid­ual inmate.
It is com­mon knowl­edge that there is wide­spread cor­rup­tion in all of the gov­ern­men­t’s ser­vices, the depart­ment of cor­rec­tions is no excep­tion.
Nevertheless, the head of the depart­ment should be hauled before a House com­mit­tee to explain what is being done about con­tra­band enter­ing the nation’s pris­ons.
It is not aways cor­rup­tion that allows for these breach­es, incom­pe­tence plays a part, and some­times a short­age of offi­cers may allow for breach­es to occur.
Nevertheless, the com­mis­sion­er should be brought in to explain what step is being tak­en to reme­di­ate this issue and if he can­not stop the breech­es he should be shown the door.

Lt Colonel Gary Rowe is new Commissioner of Corrections
Rowe


Last year the com­mis­sion­er of cor­rec­tions Ina Hunter was essen­tial­ly demot­ed and trans­ferred to the post of Chief Programme Officer in the Ministry of nation­al secu­ri­ty.
Lt Colonel Gary Rowe a vet­er­an offi­cer of 32-years was appoint­ed to the post.
You may have missed the obvi­ous, but as far as posi­tions of pow­er go, this admin­is­tra­tion in pow­er, is of the view that past offi­cers of the (JDF) Jamaica Defence Force, are a panacea to all of the nation’s prob­lems. (See the com­mis­sion­er of police, et-al)
Because this per­cep­tion has been cre­at­ed and foist­ed upon our col­lec­tive intel­lect, it is pru­dent to point out that not only have they not done bet­ter at what­ev­er posi­tions they have been ele­vat­ed to, in many cas­es the data shows that they have done expo­nen­tial­ly worse than oth­ers before them.
Notwithstanding, the lie seems to have tak­en hold and so there is no out­cry when they fail. The gen­er­al con­sen­sus seems to be that if they fail then no one could have done bet­ter.
This mind­set is preva­lent even among those who ought to know bet­ter.
It is arguably the rea­son that there is no call for fir­ing the com­mis­sion­er of cor­rec­tions in this mat­ter. In fact, there has been noth­ing but silence on all fronts.
Oh, and while we are on the sub­ject, vio­lent crime con­tin­ues to esca­late and there is no out­cry, no demand to change the com­mis­sion­er of police.
Because as you know he is from the army, if he can­not fix the prob­lem it can­not be fixed.[sarcasm]
Such blind idio­cy is the rea­son we are at a stand­still, spin­ning our wheels as a nation.

Terrence Williams

Which brings me to the final thought. The job of the over­sight agency INDECOM we were told is to inves­ti­gate inci­dents of abuse by the secu­ri­ty forces.
Withing its man­date is the JCF, JDF, & cor­rec­tions depart­ments.
It seems, how­ev­er, that between demo­niz­ing the police and cry­ing like a lit­tle bitch, there is no time left for the lit­tle pow­er-hun­gry turd of an INDECOM com­mis­sion­er Terrence Williams, to actu­al­ly do some­thing for the huge salary he is receiv­ing.
He found time to com­plain just days ago, that the gov­ern­ment did not give him and his bunch of do-noth­ing cronies, exclu­sion from the list of exempt­ed orga­ni­za­tions under the new cur­few order.
In a let­ter to the min­is­ter of nation­al secu­ri­ty, the lit­tle Napoleonic nar­cis­sist bitched that, “cit­i­zen reas­sur­ance across all sec­tors is crit­i­cal, espe­cial­ly dur­ing times of a glob­al cri­sis such as this COVID-19 virus. Curfew impo­si­tions are nec­es­sary and ful­ly under­stood, but INDECOM’s remit also pro­vides com­mu­ni­ty reas­sur­ance in this dif­fi­cult time where the risk of cit­i­zens’ rights are fur­ther lim­it­ed”.

In what is now a glob­al pan­dem­ic, one in which we have no idea when we will reach a plateau, this crazed pow­er-hun­gry, self-absorbed man wants every­thing to be about him.
At a time when the secu­ri­ty forces in coun­try after coun­try, are strug­gling to get cit­i­zens to stay off the streets, Terrence Williams wants to be on the streets get­ting in the way of the police.
Because if the media isn’t tak­ing about Terrence Williams, he has to find a way to inject him­self into the nar­ra­tive for his per­son­al rel­e­vance.
You sim­ply can­not make this up.

Mike Beckles is a for­mer Jamaican police Detective cor­po­ral, busi­ness­man, researcher, and blog­ger. 
He is a black achiev­er hon­oree, and pub­lish­er of the blog chatt​-​a​-box​.com. 
He’s also a con­trib­u­tor to sev­er­al web­sites.
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