Bring cop-bribery evidence, we will go for the jugular
--traffic chief

Stabroek News
October 24, 1999

The Guyana Police Force (GPF) is urging members of the public to come forward and give evidence to back up allegations of police officers accepting bribes.

The upper echelon of the GPF is of the opinion that members of the public are hesitant in giving statements against police officers and pointed out that disciplinary action cannot be taken unless evidence is provided.

Speaking to reporters last week, Traffic Chief, Assistant Commissioner Paul Slowe, gave as an example a case where someone reported to him that he was "fleeced" by a policeman but when asked to prepare a statement on the incident he was reluctant.

Slowe urged members of the public to "bite the bullet" and come forward to identify cases of this nature. He noted that some persons claim they fear victimisation at the hands of the police but assured that this would not happen.

He said when these persons are identified the administration of the force will be "going for the jugular" in dealing with the cases.

"We want to solicit assistance from members of the public because we can't charge those who commit the offence and put them before the court unless we have evidence," the traffic chief stated.

He noted that bribery is a criminal offence and evidence is required to substantiate the charge and this has to come through the cooperation of the members of the public.

Police Commissioner Laurie Lewis said the Association of Caribbean Police Commissioners has discussed what is called "the silent witness" and "the anonymous witness."

It was evident that the problem of people showing unwillingness to give evidence against police ranks is not endemic to Guyana but occurs in most countries in the Caribbean, he said.

Lewis suggested that a lobby be taken to the legislators for them to make provisions for the "silent" and "anonymous" witness where it would be legal for evidence to be given without the accused knowing who provided it.

"I am making an open appeal for people who have been fleeced to come forward to give the evidence," he urged.

Crime Chief, Deputy Commissioner Floyd Mc Donald, disclosed that there were 52 cases at present, taken over the past five years, where policemen and women were interdicted from duty for various offences.

"My experience has been that no person who has come forward to give evidence against a policemen has been victimised," Mc Donald stated. "We treat the matters professionally and have not received any complaints from members of public."

The options are that the guilty rank could be dismissed, sanctioned based on the police regulations or placed before the court, he said.

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Guyana: Land of Six Peoples