Tougher action against protesters in Berbice?

Stabroek News
August 21, 2001

Dear Editor,

The months following the March 19 general elections have seen an apparent lack of value for the lives of Indo-Guyanese , the latest manifestation being the shooting to death of several residents of Upper Corentyne by the Berbice Anti - Smuggling Squad ( BASS ).

In the minds of many, during the numerous violent `post-elections' protests in Georgetown, the Guyana Police Force under the stewardship of Mr. Laurie Lewis always exercised great restraint and tolerance, using merely teargas and pellets to disperse those protesters who incidentally have assaulted, physically and otherwise, police officers and Indo-Guyanese.

Why wasn't the same degree of restraint and tolerance exercised when dealing with the Indo-Guyanese protesters in Upper Corentyne?

The same can be said of the way in which the Guyana Police Force officers dealt with the protesters in Albion a mere few months ago. During those protests in Albion the police officers used neither teargas nor pellets, as they did in Georgetown, but instead to discharged live rounds, killing one man in the process.

It is interesting to note that BASS ,allegedly while responding to the question posed by Stabroek News in relation to the reason for not using pellets , acknowledged that they (i.e. BASS ) are not the Tactical Services Unit .Thus one may then ask ' why did BASS shoot protesters in the first instance ?

In conclusion, I ask, what should be done to correct this apparently appalling situation?

Yours faithfully,
Narendri Naraine