Office of the President criticises TUC `tirade' against Police
Guyana Chronicle
April 18, 2002

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THE Office of the President yesterday said that instead of supporting the fight against crime and the maintenance of law and order, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) has launched an "unjustified and unprovoked tirade against the country's hardworking and dedicated lawmen".

The TUC at a news conference Tuesday said it was "alarmed at the posturing" of the Government on what it called "excesses by the Police when dealing with citizens in certain communities".

TUC General Secretary, Mr. Lincoln Lewis, claimed the Police used "unwarranted and cruel" force Monday in dealing with persons in the funeral procession of Shaka Blair, who was fatally shot when Police said he fired at them in their attempt to arrest him in connection with criminal activities.

The Police said they confronted a hostile crowd at Buxton Monday, after they were fired upon and bottles and other objects hurled at them.

"The TUC and Lewis are silent when Policemen are assaulted and executed, law abiding Guyanese are beaten and robbed, and public and private property vandalised", Information Liaison to the President, Mr. Robert Persaud said in a statement.

The TUC argued that President Bharrat Jagdeo has to take the blame for Monday's chaos at Buxton, and called on the Government to "govern".

Persaud said if the TUC was so concerned about democracy and good governance, "why has it remained silent on the PNC/R (People's National Congress Reform) putting the dialogue (process with the President) on pause, and threats and actual 'extra-parliamentary' actions?"

"The credibility of his (Lewis') account of events is questionable as it can be recalled that during the GPSU (Guyana Public Service Union) strike of 1999, he claimed to have seen certain action by the Police, which to date cannot be verified.

"Lewis once again ignores the trauma and fear deliberately caused by his political cohorts who have emboldened those with criminal intent", Persaud charged.

Lewis said that the President with executive powers has a responsibility to make Guyana physically safe and economically sound for all citizens.

Addressing this, Persaud pointed out that Guyana was one of only two countries to have experienced positive economic growth last year; the rate of inflation was just over 2%; the Guyana dollar remained stable, as other currencies collapsed; and the gross internal reserve exceeded its targets.

He said if Lewis were to have taken a cursory glance at the 2002 budget, he would recognise that the $68.9 billion was the largest ever in history for Guyana and there is a plethora of measures to ensure continued economic growth, attract investment, create jobs and ensure macro-economic stability.

"Lewis would know that through the performance of the economy, the Government has been able to increase the subvention of the TUC, far above what it received from the PNC regime", Persaud said.

"The TUC General Secretary would do well to encourage the PNC/R to cease its scheme of economic sabotage by creating political and social instability - an unfriendly environment for investors and progress", Persaud said.

"If Lewis is truly interested in workers' welfare and the development of Guyana, he should also spend some time on healing the divided labour movement by restoring democracy, accountability and transparency in the TUC.

"Workers certainly expect some degree of responsible behaviour by those who claim to represent their interest", he added.

"The TUC must unequivocally condemn the anti-Police campaign and the terroristic behaviour of the PNC/R and its operatives", he suggested.

..condemns murder of Police Sergeant
THE PNC/R has also condemned "in the strongest possible manner the brutal murder of Police Sergeant Harry Kooseram while on his way to work".

The party said it expresses "sincere and heartfelt" sympathy to the sorrowing wife, children and relatives, as well as the Police Force.

The PNC/R said the "perpetrators of this dastardly act must be brought to justice and justice must be properly administered".

The Detective Sergeant was bicycling to work early Monday morning when he was shot six times and died shortly after he was taken to the Georgetown Hospital.

Sgt. Kooseram, 37, was the second Police Officer shot and killed in the line of duty in less than two weeks and Police, in a statement, said "the assailant escaped into the safety of the Buxton/Friendship area".

The detective died in what seemed like a carefully planned ambush on the Strathspey public road, a short distance from his home in Bladen Hall, East Coast Demerara.

Top anti-crime fighter Police Superintendent, Leon Fraser was shot dead on April 2.

Police said Kooseram was "gunned down cold-bloodedly, in the line of duty" at about 07:00 hrs.

According to the Police report, a man approached the Detective Sergeant, pulled out a gun, which was wrapped in paper and fired six shots at him - two in the chest, three in the abdomen and one in the side.

He was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where he died at 08:05 hrs, Police said.