Problem of police executions must be tackled

Stabroek News
June 21, 2001

Dear Editor,

Matthew: 5.9 says "Blessed are the Peace Keepers, for they will be called God's Children."

All reports from Guyana reflected in recent headlines indicate that current management and enforcement of the nation's legal affairs lie in the hands of the newly appointed technocrat Senior Counsel Doodnauth Singh, the evergreen Commissioner Lewis, the archangel, Dr. R.F. Luncheon and the storm trooper "Black Clothes" elements; this should be cause for

grave national concern, discussion and action. Does the aforementioned combination of "luminaries" represent the new "inclusive " environment as illustrated by the high-level dialogue between the PNC/R and the PPP/C?

As clearly and repeatedly articulated by Mr. H.D. Hoyte, accompanied primarily by deafening silence from members of civil society including opinion-makers, religious leaders and civil organizations, the repeated executions of "wanted men" under circumstances identical to murder by a consistent grouping of police-officers now represent a clear and present danger to national security, societal cohesion and development. This assertion is notwithstanding the recent utterances by Mr. Hamilton Green, an individual whose electoral mandate in Georgetown is highly questionable. If the recent police press releases are to be believed, it cannot be acceptable to condone law enforcement officers or peace-keepers terrorizing communities including women and children and subsequently fatally shooting individuals, who did not threaten the officers' lives at the time of shooting.

The most frightening aspect of one of the most recent reported lethal forays by the "Target Squad' is that the criminal who killed Officer Adridge was in custody. The fact that the shooting occurred in a police station should be cause for an internal review of the Guyana Police Force's operations. However, civilizations cannot function when some of "God's

Children" operate with official sanction of obscenely brutal and extra-judicial or illegal acts. The fact is that while the officer's killer was in custody, at least one reported accomplice was executed without ever testifying in a court of the law. This is further compounded by disproportionately ethnically concentrated killings by some Black Clothes police of black males who were wanted for vaguely defined criminal acts and were never prosecuted for same but rather were tried with finality by some elements of the Guyana Police Force.

It is incumbent on the leaders of society to recognize that unless immediate rectification of the management of all legal affairs and law enforcement occurs, an explosive civil and societal situation will erupt as it is my opinion that continuing influence by the distinguished gentlemen mentioned in my opening paragraph will accelerate this process especially after Mr. Jagdeo's decisive capitulation in Albion.

The Police Force must maintain lethal capabilities especially in a society in which criminals are increasingly heavily armed, more vicious, organized and sophisticated, but when large sections of society have problems differentiating criminals from some law enforcement officers due to behavior, brutality and corruption, this is a tangible example of an accelerated descent into anarchy.

I urge all interested observers both in and out of Guyana to reflect soberly and realistically on this aspect of Guyana's governance and exert all necessary pressure to effect immediate changes and control mechanisms in the nation's official judicial stewardship and law enforcement.

Yours faithfully,
Allan Blackman