St Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris is assuring the nation that the newly appointed national security adviser Major-General Stewart Sanders (Rtd), former head of the Jamaica Defense Force from 2007-2010, is the right man for the job.
“The Major will bring to St Kitts and Nevis over forty years of distinguished public service dealing with crime at the operational, strategic and policy levels. This is a man who has been there, has done that, and has a story to tell to the world. Secondly, the knowledge and experience in dealing with crime at national, regional and international levels 3) knowledge and experience in the development of critical legislation and policies to improve anti-crime efforts 4) first-hand experience and knowledge of the transformation process of military and law enforcement organizations to enhance public safety 5) advice on the unification of government ministries for the national security effort 6) advice on human capital improvements through training, education and development courses. Of course this is important because almost on every occasion when we are challenged, we find human resource deficiencies being put forward by the leadership of the security forces” Harris said.
In a recent broadcast on Freedom Radio, the leader of the opposition Dr. Denzil Douglas raised questions about the appointment of the Major-General based on what he claimed were the findings of a commission of inquiry into the 2010 violence in Tivoli Gardens in Jamaica. That violence left 74 people dead after the authorities moved to arrest and extradite Christopher ‘Dudas’ Coke, the Don of the area.
“I’m aware that a Commission of Enquiry has been conducted into his performance in the Tivoli Gardens matter with Mr. Coke and what we understand that came out from that Commission of Enquiry is that the individual who is in question today, must not be allowed in Jamaica to hold any public office, yet he has been brought to be given a top position in the police force. If he is not allowed to continue to serve in the police force in Jamaica, why is the Prime Minister bringing him here to St Kitts and Nevis to be in charge not only of our police force but also our Defense Force?”
According to reports in the Jamaica media, the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry recommended that serving police officers, against whom adverse findings have been made in relation to the May 2010 Operation in Tivoli Gardens, be relieved of any operational commands they may hold.
The commission also recommended that these officers be prohibited from serving in any Special Operations Units.
The over 900 page report said, this measure is not recommended as punishment, but as a protective move against similar abuses of power, in future operations.
The report stated that most of the accusations of extra-judicial killings were leveled at members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, JCF, who entered Tivoli Gardens, on the afternoon of May 24, 2010.
The persons to whom the commissioners made specific reference were SSP Graham, SSP Budhoo, DSP Tabannah, SGT. Waugh and SGT. Pratt.
The report said Major-General Stewart Saunders, former Commissioner of Police Owen Ellington, ACP Gause and DSP Turner, were not included in the recommendation because they are no longer serving members of the Jamaica Defense Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
Major-General Sanders served as consultant, National Security Advisor and then as a permanent secretary in the Ministry of National Security after his retirement. He has also received the Medal of Honour for Meritorious Service, as well the Medal of Honour for General Service.