Police dub PNC/R reports malicious

Guyana Chronicle
May 5, 2001

THE Police yesterday firmly denied a claim by the main Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R) that a raid by cops in the East Coast Demerara village of Buxton had triggered the violence Wednesday which led to the burning, beating and robbing of several persons.

In a statement, the Police noted that members of the Police Force have the right to "stop, search and detain anyone under section 19 of the Police Act, Chapter 16:01 of the Laws of Guyana."

It noted that the PNC/R issued a press release Thursday evening in which it "accuses the Police of provoking the unrest which erupted on Wednesday evening" in Buxton.

"It claims that reports indicate that the unrest was preceded by a Police raid in the village where a number of persons were arrested at random and that the reaction of the residents thereafter was inevitable", the Police noted.

"The Force wishes to state that whatever the source(s) of those reports, they were totally inaccurate, malicious and unwarranted.

"However, if any reports were indeed made, then they certainly emanated from person(s) who are downright mischievous as no such raid(s) were carried out by the Police during the period preceding the unrest in the Buxton area, neither was anyone arrested."

The statement said the last time Police conducted any raids was on April 30, 2001 and this was in the Sparendaam area.

"So much for the accusation about a raid on Wednesday last in Buxton", it noted.

The statement added:

"In many instances no permission was sought from the Police and hence no permission was obtained for the demonstrations and marches which took place immediately after general elections. Legal advice is to be sought in this respect.

"However, notwithstanding these incidents, the Police wish to reiterate that no raids were done in the Buxton area.

"The violent episodes which were unleashed Wednesday evening last, were empirically acknowledged as acts perpetrated by demonstrators for financial and other gains and were tacitly buttressed by some other residents who have little or no decency nor regards for law and order and the gossip about Police harassment only emerges whenever condign action has to be taken against wrongdoers, especially those who blatantly flout the law.

"The Police will continue to maintain law and order under any circumstances as long as the security and stability of the society are threatened.

"The Force was inundated with a number of calls by persons who were abused and assaulted and in some instances their properties destroyed by protestors during the post-elections disturbances.

"One cannot fail to comprehend that these acts contributed significantly to fomenting racial tension in the country.

"Any organisation which has information on the unlawful acts that were perpetrated during this period, has a responsibility to report to the Police.

"The Force calls on all citizens to respect the rule of law and to maintain peace and stability now and forever.

"We stand ready on the planks of professionalism and integrity to defend our actions at any time and to anyone.

"We again, call for an inquiry into the whole series of events including the unlawful activities which commenced after the date of the announcement of general elections.

"We sincerely regret the injuries and loss of properties suffered by innocent persons."