MONTEGO BAY: Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has declared that her administration will not allow the rights of Jamaicans “to be trampled on, even when they have run afoul of the law”.
Simpson-Miller was addressing the circumstances that led to the death of Mario Deane, who was beaten while being held in custody at a police lock-up in Montego Bay.
“As a government with our historical mission from 1938 until now, we have no intention of allowing the rights of the Jamaican people to be trampled on even when they have run afoul of the law,” she said on Sunday. “The Jamaican people have a right even when they are in the custody of the police.”
Simpson-Miller has been criticized by the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) for being silent following Deane’s death. During her statement, she said she declined to comment on the case as the matter is being investigated.
JLP spokesman on Justice, Alexander Williams, said his party will continue to observe the investigation closely as it continues to demand compensation for Deane’s family, the placement of closed-circuit cameras at all police lock-ups and greater protection of the human rights of Jamaicans.
Deane, who was arrested for possession of a marijuana cigarette, was denied bail and was badly beaten on August 3 while in custody. He died three days later from his injuries at hospital.
The police subsequently charged three men, who were in custody at the time, with the murder of Deane.
Six police officers have also been interdicted or suspended with immediate effect.
The matter is being investigated by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM), a body established to probe the actions of the police, military and correctional officers.