Human rights group Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) says its attorneys have revealed that public access to the Tribunal set up to receive complaints under the state of emergency in the St. Catherine North police division was virtually non-existent.
It's one of the deficiencies JFJ has pointed to in relation to the state of emergency.
Policy and Advocacy Manager at JFJ, Monique Long, says the failure to ensure the operation of legally required protections for Jamaicans living under the states of emergency is of serious concern as they would have also had their right to access the courts suspended.
“So one of the things that we became aware of , was that there was not effective tribunal in place ….we also found that there were also issues in relation to persons not being able to reach out to anyone in the case of an emergency in the cases where they felt there was something wrong with the detention.”
She also disclosed that many persons have been seeking out JFJ to help with issues the tribunal should be dealing with.
“One of the things that a lot of persons coming to JFJ about was that they were unsure of why they were detained but also questions of who they go to …..”Long said.
JFJ also notes that evidence emerged as early as March that legally compliant detention orders did not exist for most persons detained, despite the laws clearly
requiring this as a condition of the State of Emergency.
It points out that as a result the Tribunal set up in St. James to review detentions raised the alarm eight months ago that it could not effectively do its job.