'Black clothes' squad accosts reporter on Robb St
Stabroek News
June 19, 2002

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A reporter employed with the Stabroek News was stopped by members of the Target Special Squad (TSS) while he was on his way to work apparently because he was the driver of a white Toyota Corona vehicle.

Oscar P. Clarke, who has been employed with this newspaper for a number of years was on his way to work at around 9:35 am on Friday, when he was stopped by officers at the entrance to his place of employment on Robb Street and ordered out of the car.

Clarke said he was the driver of the white Toyota Corona, PDD 9522, when the vanload of heavily-armed TSS officers under the command of Sergeant Eon Smith drove up alongside his car and ordered him to stop.

He recounted that Smith said, "Pull over duh car!" while the officers' vehicle forced his car into the corner of the road on the left-hand side in front of the Stabroek News gate. The reporter said at the time three other men were in the car - his brother, a cousin and a friend.

He said that officers disembarked their vehicle, arms at the ready, stopping traffic in the process. According to Clarke he got out of the vehicle, as he was told to, and produced his police press pass, which was in his shirt pocket at the time. He said that upon seeing the pass, Smith stated that they were only performing their duties.

However, the other officers engaged in verbal exchanges with the reporter and other personnel from Stabroek News who had intervened on seeing the incident. Clarke said that Smith then told his ranks not to "start a story" in front of Stabroek News. The reporter then proceeded into his work compound and the officers instructed the other occupants of the car to proceed on their way. The ranks then boarded their vehicle and sped away up Robb Street. Asked whether he had noticed the police officers following him, Clarke said no but recalled that he had noted their presence at the Texaco Gas Station located at the corner of North Road and Wellington Street.

Clarke lamented the approach taken by the police officers and questioned whether it was a crime in Guyana for four men to be travelling in a white car. He urged members of the Guyana Police Force to be more professional when conducting their duties. He said that while he was appalled at the present crime situation in the country, it was the duty of the law enforcement officers to act in a responsible manner.