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Jamaica PM Breaks Silence On Controversial Death Of Prisoner

Portia Simpson Miller

Jamaica PM Breaks Silence On Controversial Death Of Prisoner

KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller has declared that her administration will not allow the rights of the Jamaican people to be violated.

Simpson Miller, for the first time spoke about circumstances that led to the death of Mario Deane who was beaten while being held at a police station lock up in the western city of 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.  The Jamaican people have a right even when they are in the custody of the police,” she said.

The Prime Minister made the statement at a meeting in the northern parish of St. Ann late Sunday.

She also said that she requested an update on the probe into the Deane’s death and this should be submitted on Monday.

A report on the matter is also expected at Monday’s meeting of the Cabinet.

The Prime Minister has been criticized by the opposition Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) for being silent following Deane’s death but she sought to clear the air saying she declined to speak publicly as the matter is being investigated.

Last Friday the opposition Jamaica Labour Party’s (JLP)  spokesman on Justice, Alexander Williams, asserted that the Prime Minister’s silence on the matter was unacceptable.

He said the JLP 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 while in custody, was badly beaten. He later died 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.

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