Police release Buxton businessmen

Stabroek News
May 7, 2001

The three businessmen of Buxton who were taken into custody and placed in the lock-ups at Cove and John Police Station on Saturday following an early-morning police raid in the village were yesterday released on station bail.

The businessmen were released after one of them, fifty-two year-old Compton Huntley popularly known as `Charlie', the proprietor of the Roger Harper Fan Club on Buxton Public Road, suffered a minor stroke and was taken to the police doctor at Cove and John for medical treatment. They were each placed on $5,000 bail.

The other two men were Trevor Barrett, 39, proprietor of the Top End Grocery and Beer Garden at 98 Friendship who is a former police officer, and Marlon Amsterdam, popularly known as `Bow' who runs a confectionery, grocery and drinks shop at 52 Friendship (Line Top).

Since the arrest of the three men on Saturday morning, the police have continuously patrolled the village.

The police issued a press release yesterday stating that a telephone cable box had been destroyed by fire in the Buxton area about 25 ft north of the Railway Embankment Road and which had disrupted telecommunications in the area.

The release also said that in the same area, a ditch, about two feet wide and 18 inches deep and spanning the width of the road, had been dug by a person or persons unknown. This was discovered by the police who were on routine patrol duty in the area early yesterday morning. The statement contained nothing about the Saturday raid or the detention of the three men.

Huntley, who was recuperating in bed at his home yesterday afternoon told Stabroek News that he had been told by the police at Cove and John when they were being released that he was being investigated for robbery under arms. This newspaper was unable to contact anyone at the Police Public Relations Department yesterday to confirm this.

He said that on the morning of his arrest he thought that the police were just doing a routine check, and instead of waiting for a search or arrest warrant to be read to him he invited the policemen into his home because he said he was not guilty of any crime and had nothing to hide.

The police, he said, took away his Jennings 32 pistol with seven rounds as well as his gun licence without giving him a receipt. Enquiring about his property, the police told him that it was lodged at the Vigilance Police Station.

Huntley, who suffers from hypertension, recalled being placed in the 8 ft by 4 ft lock-up with the two other businessmen and another person taken into custody without being told why they were there. The cell was boarded-up from the floor to the ceiling, except for two small louvre windows above the door. He said that the lock-ups had no proper ventilation or lighting and conditions were cramped. He became ill on Saturday evening and was placed on a bench outside the cell, and then taken to the doctor yesterday morning.

He said that the doctor issued a medical certificate which was retained by the police and which he did not read. He said that the two other men, who were much younger than he was were very concerned about his health.

The businessman, an ex-paratrooper, in front of whose residence and business place the exchange of gunfire between the police and "criminal elements" had taken place on Wednesday night, was one of a number of businessmen who had condemned the violence. The businessmen had maintained that the assault on persons in two mini-buses, the robberies and the attack on the police had been instigated by "criminal elements" and not genuine protestors.

Huntley told Stabroek News yesterday that the illegal actions had a negative impact on his business, and he had a family to maintain and bills to pay. On Wednesday he recalled that there were a number of persons who had stopped by his shop to have a drink after a funeral, when road blocks were set afire, and an exchange of gunfire took place between the police and unknown criminal elements. He said this caused people to leave the shop immediately.

Trevor Barrett's reputed wife Melissa Stephen, who is recuperating from surgery to her right leg on Saturday told Stabroek News that

Barrett was also against Wednesday's actions impact on his business. The following night's business was affected, she said. Every Thursday night karaoke sessions are held and this was also a source of revenue for the business.

Apart from the three men who were held in the Saturday raid, the homes of a number of other residents were searched. They were told that the police were looking for drugs, weapons and persons wanted for robbery under arms. Among those whose residences were searched was a school teacher.