Chuck wants to pay West Kingston compensation by yearend

Thursday, December 14, 2017

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MINISTER of Justice Delroy Chuck says that his ministry is aiming to complete the payment of compensation to victims of the 2010 security forces operation in West Kingston by the end of December.

He told a press briefing at his ministry in Kingston yesterday that his staff has met with the staff of restorative justice centres, which had been set up in Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town following the 2010 operation, who are handling the collection of information needed to make the transactions.

“No cash will be paid, we don't expect to pay cheques either, and we expect the beneficiaries to have bank accounts,” Chuck said, adding that money will be sent directly to the accounts.

He suggested that those beneficiaries who do not have bank accounts should contact the restorative justice centres, which have already started collecting the necessary information for assistance in opening accounts.

Chuck said that his ministry would be willing to seek to have the financial institutions waive fees for opening the accounts by the beneficiaries in order to allow them to open the accounts as quickly as possible.

Chuck pointed out that he and his staff met with the individuals in charge of the restorative justice centres at the ministry on Monday, and found that they had already obtained the required information from 42 people. He has also urged beneficiaries who live outside Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town to visit the centres.

He said that the ministry is hoping that all the necessary information, including proper identification, tax registration numbers and bank accounts, will be available by Monday, so that the process can be completed by the end of December.

The Justice ministry confirmed that 982 claims were made to the claims committee, which was chaired by former Appeal Court president Justice Seymour Panton. However, less than 50 per cent, or 418 people to be exact, are being compensated between the Ministry of Labour and Social Security and the Chuck's ministry.

But, despite the fact that at least 70 civilians died during the security forces operation and there were 28 claims for unlawful death, only 14 families were compensated for the loss of relatives.

Panton told the briefing that the committee actually made recommendations for 27 of the 28 families. However, only 14 were compensated, and one case was undecided, as it was still not clear whether the person was alive or dead.

Panton said that in seven cases there was nothing to indicate how the deaths occurred.

“It's just that they were reported to have been shot, and there was nothing to indicate who did the shooting,” Panton explained.

The extrajudicial killings report from the compensation committee recommended that the families of 14 men who were killed should be paid a total of $102.4 million, with individual payments ranging from $13.6 to $6.1 million, for loss of dependency, loss of earnings, funeral expenses, loss of expectation of life, costs and constitutional redress ($4.8 million).

The Administrator General's Department will administrate the $102.4 million being paid for the 14 unlawful deaths.

— Balford Henry




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