25 Jun 2008

Will we see an answer?

The Law Association has defined several points in which the army has no damn cause to be in Richplain Road.

- The powers of arrest, search and seizure in respect of members of the public are vested in members of the Police Service and not in members of the Defence Force.

- The term "lock down" was not a legal term. If the protective services are required to seal off an area, such an exercise does not overthrow the legal criteria for the exercise of the powers of arrest, search and seizure.

-Any joint exercise by the Police Service and Defence Force can be carried out only on the authority of the police. In such an exercise, members of the Defence Force may act to assist or support the police, but cannot be in charge of the operation or exercise, on their own, the powers vested in the police.

"We are generally concerned about the lack of transparency in these operations, which should properly receive the scrutiny of the media, whose members should not be unreasonably impeded," the association said.

Asked about any the imposition of a 6 to 6 curfew of the army, Daly told Express that that would definitely be an "(state of) emergency power".

More importantly,

The association, however, appealed for accountability, stressing that the population had a right to know who gave the order to the Defence Force and when, to go into Richplain.

"Except possibly in the case of a direct attack requiring an immediate response by way of self-defence, the Defence Force can only take action at the direction of the constitutionally elected Government. It cannot otherwise act on its own initiative. Applying this to Richplain, Diego Martin, the public is entitled to know who, on behalf of the Government, gave the order to the Defence Force to go there and when, and through which superior officer of the Defence Force."

Obviously, this is another one of those questions that we will never see an answer to.