FOLLOWING a fact finding tour of the embattled community of Tivoli Gardens, Public Defender Earl Witter says the majority of the 44 persons who were fatally shot by security forces are males under 30.
Witter and political ombudsman Bishop Herro Blair were sent by Prime Minister Bruce Golding to probe for any human rights breaches by the more than 2,000 police and soldiers who were deployed to quell civil disobedience in the community.
“The majority of the corpses that we saw appeared to be those of males under 30,” Witter told the Observer, “There were no women and children among the dead.”
Witter said the situation was grave for several persons who were holed up inside their homes and were in desperate need of potable water, food and medical attention.
“They complained that they were bottled up inside the buildings that were cleared. There was no running water, bodily waste was stored in pails. We ensured that they were allowed to dump their bodily waste and refill their supplies of running water,” he said.
He also said children were suffering.
“In a section called Rasta City there were some 30 children, many of them toddlers, who needed particular care. In one case a mother was injured and taken to hospital and she left her 18-month-old son with no one in particular,” Witter said.
The security forces went into the community ostensibly to serve an arrest warrant on reputed don, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke who is wanted by United States authorities to face gun and drugs running charges.