Something is obviously amiss with Owen Ellington's sudden departure as head of the police force. That is perhaps a secret between himself and his political bosses in the government, which may or may never be revealed.
For the moment, however, we need not detain ourselves with speculation. What needs to be focused on are the very incriminating reasons given by Ellington for his decision to step down.
Ellington says he is stepping down because he needs to separate himself from "from the leadership and management of the force prior to the commencement of the upcoming commission of enquiry into the conduct of the operations of the security forces in Western Kingston and other areas during the limited state of emergency in 2010".
The Tivoli Committee has long taken the position that Ellington should either have been fired or done the honourable thing and resign as police commissioner immediately after the Tivoli Gardens massacre.
It took him four years to do the honourable thing, while his boss Peter Bunting seems to have been on his knees praying for divine guidance rather than showing leadership. According to Bunting: "He was not pushed out... I was satisfied with his performance."
The fact is that Ellington should have long been the subject of a criminal investigation into his role as police commander of the Tivoli operations. The fact that the investigating arm of the police did no investigation has to be laid squarely at the feet of Owen Ellington.
Had he resigned immediately it would have been far easier for Bunting to agree with the Tivoli Committee's demand that, not only should Ellington be investigated for the crimes against humanity that were committed by the security forces, but that the matter should be referred to the International Criminal Court.
Having now done the "honourable" thing, it might be a little too late since the die is cast. The terms of reference have been decided upon by the government, and there is no indication that there will be anything other than a perfunctory look at Ellington's role in the whole affair. The commissioners have not been tasked with specifically investigating his role as commander. And the government has given no indication that it is disposed to sending the matter to the ICC.
Additionally, the Tivoli Committee believes that, even at this late stage, the example of Ellington separating himself from the management and leadership of the force so as to minimize any obstructionist role that he could play in the enquiry, should also apply to Assistant Commissioner Glenmore Hinds. He was the ground commander and now as commissioner he has the power to obstruct and he should also step aside or be fired.
Ellington also cites the need for there to be no perception of him having any "influence" or "interference" with the ongoing INDECOM probe into police death squads operating out of May Pen Clarendon. Like the Tivoli matter, this is also a little late in the day since this investigation has been ongoing on for many months.
It would be interesting, however, to hear what is INDECOM's perception of the role Ellington has played in their investigations so far, or his involvement in the matter.
Finally, Ellington makes it clear, that Major General Stewart Saunders, former head of the JDF, and military commander of the Tivoli, should also resign or be fired from his post as permanent secretary in the ministry of national security.
The same principle applies. As the subject of a potential criminal enquiry, Saunders should never have been appointed to this position, which gives him opportunity to obstruct and shape the enquiry to suit himself.
In the final analysis, the blame for this fiasco must rest squarely on the shoulders of minister Peter Bunting. He has shown scant regard or concern for the seriousness of the crimes committed in Tivoli Gardens, and this is exemplified in no greater way than his seeming attempt to protect the two major players in that massacre.
We believe that he should also resign or be fired. It is the ethical thing to do.
By getting rid of Ellington, Saunders and Bunting, it may be possible to revisit the terms of reference with a different approach, devoid of the temptation for corruption.
on behalf of the Tivoli Committee