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Jamaican appointed by PM Harris as National Security Adviser involved in Tivoli Gardens Massacre

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Published 5 July 2017

Buckie Got It, St. Kitts and Nevis.

Jamaican appointed by PM Harris as National Security Adviser involved in Tivoli Gardens Massacre

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, JULY 5TH 2017 – The opposition St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party is questioning Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris’ hiring of a former Jamaican Defence Force officer alleged to be involved in the Tivoli Gardens Massacre in which Jamaican security forces killed at least 73 people, mostly young men, in an operation in May 2010.

Prime Minister Harris recently announced that Stewart Saunders is being hired as National Security Advisor in St. Kitts and Nevis.

Harris said Saunders’ appointment as National Security Advisor was approved by the Federal Cabinet and the retired army chief was in St. Kitts and Nevis to finalize his contract and meeting with high ranking members of the security forces and other National Security stakeholders.

During the SKNLP’s weekly radio programmes on Freedom 106.5 FM on Wednesday, Leader of the Opposition, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said it is apparent that no proper background checks were made by Prime Minister harries.

“I am aware that a Commission of Inquiry was conducted into his performance in the Tivola Gardens matter in Jamaica and what we understand that came out of the inquiry is that the individual must not be allowed in Jamaica to hold any public office. Yet he is being brought to be given a top position in the Ministry of National Security and the Royal St. Christopher and Nevis Police Force and the St. Kitts-Nevis Defence Force. If he (Saunders) is not allowed to serve in public office in Jamaica, why is Prime Minister Harris bringing him here to St. Kitts and Nevis?” said Dr. Douglas.

Dr. Douglas said while it might be true that Saunders has experienced and is a well-trained cop, if the finding of the commission of inquiry has labelled him to be unfit to ever hold office in the police force in Jamaica, why is he being given a top position in St. Kitts and Nevis?

“We have to be very careful about these things. Our people are sensitive to these matters,” said the former Prime Minister who said he has received calls from Jamaica on the issue.

“Has the Prime Minister not read the commission of Inquiry Report? Has the Permanent Secretary (Osmond Petty) not read this report? I ask the Prime Minister why was he selected? What is the sinister plan that is being pursued by the Prime Minister in this regard,” said Dr. Douglas.

The Labour Party’s caretaker for St. Christopher 8, Dr. Terrance Drew alerted listeners to what he described as disturbing reports and referred them to a report about Major General Saunders leaving National Security.

He read from a report on Nationwideradiojm.com of 2016 which stated: “The Commission of Inquiry Report on the Tivoli Gardens accused Major General Saunders of dereliction of duty and incompetence.”

“The inquiry said ‘it would recommend that Saunders never again serve in internal security operations had he still being chief of staff of the Jamaica Defence Force’,” said Dr. Drew.

“The question to this Team Unity Government of Dr. Timothy Harris, is what do you plan to gain by having Major General Saunders here, who would be giving ordrs to Commissioner of Police Ian Queeley and to Defence Force Lt. Commander Patrick Wallace. This is a very serious issue,” said Dr. Drew.

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