Witness hopes he lives to tell the tale

CAANAN ISRAEL is a frustrated and desperate man who feels the system has failed him.

He has been forced to flee his home in Clarendon and is now living in a separate location from his common-law wife and child, as his life has been threatened by alleged criminals.

Israel’s troubles started when he witnessed a murder in the parish in April. His nightmare began after he dared to report the incident to the police and later pointed out the alleged killer in an identification parade.  Now, the Clarendon resident is wondering whether his life will soon be cut short.  The man who allegedly committed the murder is now behind bars awaiting trial, but his friends have reportedly vowed to hunt down Israel and punish him for being an ‘informer’.  “Di man whey de a jail right now, him have some friends. If dem know whey mi de right now …

“One day, one a him friend dem check mi and say, ‘My yute, you a go dead fi it, enuh’.  “Mi haffi lef mi house. Right now mi head a hat mi, right now mi head swell. Mi haffi run lef mi house, mi pickney and mi woman,” he explained.  Israel approached the May Pen police where he completed an application form to be placed under the Witness Protection Programme. More than a month later, Israel is yet to get a call from the authorities. At the same time, he is becoming increasingly impatient, as he currently hangs out in an unsafe and exposed location.

Awaiting phone call

“Dem sign up paper and send it go a Kingston, dem tell mi a month ago … . Dem tell mi say the people dem soon call mi,” he told The Gleaner in an interview yesterday.  “Right now, mi woman want feeding for mi yute. Mi cyaah work, enuh,” he stressed.  Superintendent of police in charge of Clarendon, Dayton Henry, confirmed, through a senior officer at the May Pen police that Israel had applied to the Witness Protection Programme.

The senior officer said the matter was now being dealt with.  “There are certain procedures that it has to go through … and if the matter is being dealt with, all he will have to do is to wait until approval is given,” he said.  In a Gleaner interview, Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Les Green outlined the procedures to access the Witness Protection Programme.  He said the programme was administered by the Ministry of National Security. However, application for witness protection could be made to the director of public prosecutions and the police.

“It can be completed within a day or two,” ACP Green said.  However, the senior cop pointed out that if there was an immediate risk, the police would place the witness in a safe location while assessments were being conducted. Giving details, ACP Green said after an applicant completed a form, a risk assessment was carried out.  “The application and the threat assessment are submitted to the Witness Protection Unit under the Ministry of National Security, which conducts its own enquiries and its own assessment before it agrees to take the witness on-board,” he added.

Late today, the police gave a commitment to put Israel in a place of safety pending the outcome of his Witness Protection Programme

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