No one should be shot arbitrarily
Stabroek News
April 25, 2002

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Dear Editor,

The solution to the police killings have a clear and easy answer, and that is persons in police custody should not be shot, and or die, from arbitrary police decisions. We may argue about the killings of the police to no end, but the simple fact is killing is wrong regardless of who is killed. There is no justification for the shooting of unarmed policemen and civilians, whether the civilian is a criminal or not. It is not for the police or the man in the streets to determine who is guilty or innocent, when last I heard it was the responsibility of the courts to decide innocence or guilt.

It is also the duty of the police to protect life and property, and it is the duty of the government to ensure that those edicts are strictly adhered to by the police. Given those truisms, why is it that the President gives support to the police, when it is self evident that the police have on numerous occasions trampled on their oath to protect.

Something is also amiss when the President does not see that his statements of police support serve to alienate a sector of the population. Instead, a statement saying that shooting by the police would be investigated and corrective actions would be enacted if there was evidence to support police transgressions would have been enough.

To allow the police to continuously execute those they feel should be executed will eventually lead to a breakdown of law and order, racial fragmentation, chaos and tit for tat killings.

Those who claim that Indians are being criminally abused have the right to be heard and police protection granted, but not at the expense and circumvention of the judicial system; let the courts decide the punishment if there is any guilt. If it is that the Minister of Home Affairs and the Police Commissioner can't find a solution to all the criminal activities reported, then they should be removed from office.

Instead of government officials tying to pacify the police by giving blind support, they should try being impartial and encourage the formation of an investigatory body made up of a cross section of civilians and police brass to seek the truth and recommend changes. Such action will return the country to some semblance of order and tranquility.

Yours faithfully,

Patrick Barker