Black clothes police should only be used on special occasions
Stabroek News
May 13, 2002

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Dear Editor,

We have had quite a few persons making the ridiculous claim that the black clothes police are their only hope for a law-abiding Guyana. The very notion that only the black clothes police can maintain law and order in Guyana is insulting to the remaining ninety five odd percent of the force.

It is true that the black clothes unit may have a place in the police force. Most if not all forces around the world have a special branch to be used under special circumstance. When the ordinary units cannot affect an arrest this special unit should be called in. However, everyday use of the black clothes police in carrying out what is by definition routine arrest and then turning it into extra-judicial killing is wrong.

Wrong is wrong no matter who the perpetrators are. The black clothes unit has found themselves giving the same sorry excuse again and again, every time they murder someone. And every time it happens the government and its supporters seem to say, 'well done'. In the case of Shaka Blair upon examining the doctor's report and eyewitness accounts it is clear what happened.

No one cares that very few of these men have actually been brought to the court and been proven guilty. No one cares that in a democracy you don't kill suspected criminals, you bring them to justice.

Obviously, it troubles me greatly that criminals are now creating havoc in this beloved country of ours. The pain caused by these undesirables cannot be easily comforted by anything that I or anyone else can say or do. But taking revenge by killing suspects only makes black clothes and its supporters, what the criminals are, 'murderers'.

The strength of the Guyana Police Force is not in the black clothes but in the ordinary ranks, they do the hard work of solving crime, effecting arrests and maintaining law and order. The hard work that they are doing seem to have been set at nought by the black clothes.

Also of interest to me is the manner in which the PPP government is responding to these incidents. I need not remind Guyanese of the Bacchus incident and the subsequent storming of a police station by members of the society who felt that BASS had abused its power. I remember the president and some other members of the PPP government running up there, and making quite a few promises. One of the promises made then was the restructuring of the force to reflect the local population. They seemed then quite eager to calm the people and were willing to bargain with them.

However in the case of Buxton the government seem to only offer brute force. The police force has repeatedly provoked the people of Buxton, while the Government remains silent. May I remind the government of their responsibilty to govern over the entire country and not just in their stronghold!

On a lighter note, there is a story I think Wednesday Ramblings should investigate. I was told by reliable sources that the Bush Administration sent CIA representatives here to solicit the help of Robert Persaud and Roger Luncheon in search of Al Qaeda boss Osama bin Laden. These two gentlemen, armed with extensive experience in identifying local terrorist groups, have promised to identify the whereabouts of Osama before the end of the year.

Yours faithfully,

Felix Bacchus