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DOMA President Gregory Aboud.

The Downtown Owners and Merchants Association (DOMA) says there must be a completely independent investigation into the death of two suspects in police custody if there is to be trust between the police and the public.

DOMA made the call in a media statement issued yesterday.

“To assure that trust is not dealt more blows there must be a successful prosecution of the accused in all murder cases but there must also be a totally independent investigation of the death of the two suspects that just occurred,” DOMA said.

It added: “Asking the police to investigate themselves will only injure the fragile state of our trust in one another. Serious flaws exist in our governance structure and in the management model for delivery of service to the public. The business community knows that they could never run their businesses with the management models that exist in service to the public.”

DOMA says it is time for discussions about the real problems of underperformance so that real solutions can be created “and thereby start rebuilding our fragile trust in each other”.

The statement began by noting that the recent shock of the Ashanti Riley murder followed soon after by the Andrea Bharrat case “has reawakened the desperate search for solutions to our crime epidemic”.

It said that all of the glaring failures in service to the public had been again highlighted, including a suspect with 70 charges never being held to account because of the non-appearance of the prosecuting complainant.

It also highlighted “a court system that cannot hear criminal cases until, when, sometimes no witnesses can be found, a judicial system that seems content to leave accused persons in remand awaiting trial for longer periods than they would spend even if they were found guilty and a parliamentary system that seems to place the diminishment of the other party ahead of the interest of the people.”

DOMA also pointed to a police complaints authority “that is but a placebo for the anguish of the relatives of those who have been killed under allegedly suspicious circumstances”.

“None of the failures in detection, enforcement, justice or prosecution is different to the failures in service to the public in other areas national life.

The Governance and management models adopted at Independence have failed us and are guaranteed to create more failure and more gruesome tragedies,” DOMA said.

It said that trust among the citizens is also becoming a victim of all of the underperformance in delivery of service.