Two State Entities to Protect Interests of Claimants before Compensation Committee

The Office of the Public Defender and the Administrator General’s Department are two state bodies that will protect the interests of residents who will file claims against the Government.

The mandate of the Office of the Public Defender dictates that it should investigate matters brought by members of the public against the State, seek redress for Constitutional and administrative injustice, and provide legal assistance where necessary. In light of this, the Public Defender will represent the interests of affected residents in West Kingston.

Meanwhile, the Administrator General’s Department (AGD) will guard the interests of minors who would be involved in claims filed against the Government arising from events of May 2010 in West Kingston and surrounding areas. The role of the Administrator-General's Department is to protect the interests of minors, beneficiaries and creditors of the estates that the law requires the Administrator-General to manage.

In the mean time, a public notice was published in the local newspapers on November 04, inviting affected residents in West Kingston to submit their claims by December 05 to the Secretariat of the Compensation Committee. This, after a statement by the Chair of the West Kingston Commission Incursion Compensation Committee, The Honourable Justice Seymour Panton revealed Tuesday (November 01) that an advertisement would be done and victims would have one month after proper notification, to make their claims through oral or written statements to recover damages or losses incurred as a result of the events of May 2010.

The Compensation Committee Chair promised a careful and calm deliberation and said that the Committee would not entertain any dramatics. “Our work will not be done under the glare of camera nor will the general public have access to our deliberations. Our work involves the affected parties, their legal representatives and relevant witnesses.”

Justice Panton, however, said that the victims and aggrieved persons do not have to fear going through another Commission of Enquiry and its ordeal because the Committee will be “Looking at the evidence given at the Commission of Enquiry so there will be no rehashing of matters already accepted by the Enquiry.” 

The Compensation Committee Chair was speaking at a press briefing hosted on November 01 at its Constant Spring Road office. A press briefing was called to provide information on the roles and functions of the Committee and the procedures governing the work of the Committee. Following the press briefing, the three-member Committee, along with its legal advisor, had its first sitting.

The Compensation Committee, established out of a recommendation of the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry Report, will finalize its deliberations and make recommendations for citizens to begin to receive compensation within 9 months. The Compensation Committee was set up on October 26.