Luncheon notes probes under way into alleged `extra-judicial' shootings
Guyana Chronicle
April 25, 2002

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THE Government has taken a "firm no" position on calls for a Commission of Inquiry into cases of fatal Police shootings alleged to be extra-judicial, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, Dr. Roger Luncheon said yesterday.

He told reporters such a Commission of Inquiry would "invalidate all of the concluded and those efforts taking place now in the inquests (into) many of these so-called extra judicial killings".

Luncheon said the Director of Public Prosecutions has ordered an inquest into the death earlier this month of Buxton, East Coast Demerara resident Shaka Blair, 33, who was shot by Police after they said he fired at them when they attempted to arrest him for questioning in connection with criminal activities.

"In essence, two judicial type activities, dealing with the same matter would be proceeding at the same time. This is not a normal course, and I think our resolve to have the inquest held is perhaps the first and the sole intervention that the administration is prepared to make at this time", Luncheon said at his regular post-Cabinet news briefing.

He said Cabinet was briefed on efforts to recapture the five armed and dangerous men who escaped the Georgetown Prison on February 23 last.

Cabinet was advised that much of the Police work towards their recapture is centred on intelligence gathering and "crime scene analysis", the Cabinet Secretary reported.

Luncheon noted that efforts of the Criminal Investigation Department at this time are in the line of pursuing witnesses of "the various episodes" in which the escapees are thought to have been involved and analysing the "remnants of their presence", namely fingerprints and any instruments they have left behind.

Cabinet "took the opportunity" to review the main Opposition People's National Congress Reform (PNC/R)'s response to the Government for labelling them as practising terroristic behaviour, he reported.

He said Cabinet also noted Amnesty International's intervention and described its recent statement as "hasty and ill-advised".

The London-based human rights group last week urged the Government not to resort to "inflammatory language that may undermine the right of freedom of expression and lead to further human rights violations".

Luncheon said the statement was hasty in that Amnesty International did not approach the Government "to inquire into or seek justification for its labelling of the PNC/R and certain sections of the media as exhibiting terroristic behaviour."