Police do arrest and charge many criminals
Stabroek News
April 13, 2002

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Dear Editor,

It is absurd for anyone to say that the police or the majority of them have total disregard for the law as Vance Reid did in his letter captioned "Duty of police is to apprehend not kill" (10.4.2002).

Most people who are wanted by the police for committing violent crimes are apprehended and brought in by the police to be placed before the courts, of this there can be no doubt.

This is indeed quite clear not only from reports in the media but also from the fact that the jail is overcrowded, large numbers are on death row and five dangerous and violent criminals broke out of jail on Mash Day killing one young male prison officer and grievously wounding a female officer, both of whom were courageous people carrying out their duties under the threat of death.

His Excellency the President has signed four death warrants but the executions cannot yet be carried out because of delays due to the operation of the criminal justice system.

The President has made it clear that he may consider exercising his prerogative to commute the death sentences of others based on the circumstances of the case as for example where the crime was committed on the spur of the moment. He has said however, that he will not do so where children were killed or murders were committed in the carrying out of robberies.

If it was the procedure of the police whether "black clothes' or not to carry out so-called extra-judicial killings as a matter of policy the jail would not have been over-crowded including many violent criminals, there would not be so many waiting on death-row or the gang of five dangerous criminals who escaped from the prison killing one prison officer and robbing and killing many others we do not as yet know.

Those who wish to pursue allegations of extra-judicial killings or other complaints against the police have several legal avenues to do so.

Finally, may I add my full support to the letter-writer Vance Reid in appealing to our fellow Guyanese at Buxton to stop the destruction of public and private property in the name of protest as it would not serve their cause, neither should they assault their fellow citizens who are peacefully going about their lawful business.

Yours faithfully,

John DaSilva