Police not aware of negotiations in kidnapping
Guyana Chronicle
October 4, 2002

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POLICE Commissioner Floyd McDonald yesterday said he was not aware of any negotiations for the release of businessman Kamal Seebarran who was kidnapped by bandits in Georgetown this week.

He told a news conference he knows that the businessman was taken out of his business place by some men in a car and that following a report, the Police and Army mounted a number of searches along the East Coast Demerara using road blocks and were very prominent in other areas, including Sophia in Georgetown and villages along the East Bank.

He said that as far as he was aware, the search continued but the Police did not communicate with the relatives of the auto sales businessman and racing car driver.

McDonald said the Police, however, received an anonymous call and were tipped off that a car fitting the description of the one they were looking for, had dropped off some men and was then abandoned.

He said it was also reported that one of the men then joined another vehicle.

He said the Police have been conducting their investigations based on that information given.

Seebarran, who was kidnapped by armed bandits and hustled away from his business place on Sheriff Street, Georgetown on Tuesday, showed up unharmed the next day.

But according to Commissioner McDonald, the Police are still trying to communicate with Seebarran's relatives.

He said the Force will pursue this matter.

The Commissioner was also asked whether the Police are engaged in electronic surveillance and denying this, McDonald explained that Guyana's laws do not permit the Force to get involved in any activity that would invade the privacy of the citizens.

He stressed that unless the law is changed, the Force cannot be involved in that mode of operation.

He said it is being practised in other countries but is controlled and a Judge has to pass that order.

"...that is one of the things that is humbugging us in our efforts to deal with the levels of crime that are now plaguing our society.

"We think that is one of the aspects that we have to focus on. We need to place more emphasis on forensic sciences to enable us to be abreast with the current situation," McDonald stated.

He said that aspect of the operations has to be looked at but the Force is not a lawmaker and cannot change the law.

He said that in an attempt to modernise the Force, equipment is being donated to assist the Police in conducting scientific tests so that they will not have to go out of the country.

McDonald said they are also still trying to improve their capability in the area of photography, for instance, and referred to the recent assistance given by their counterparts in the form of protective gear, though limited.

Equipment to boost the Force's operations are also expected in the country before the end of the year but according to Police Commissioner-designate Winston Felix, with or without the equipment, the nation's law enforcement work will go on.

The Police/Army did not find much during Saturday's search of about 25 houses in Buxton in a joint operation and according to acting GDF Chief of Staff Edward Collins, they are pursuing the line that there might have been an evasion whether it was as a result of a 'leak' or not.

He was asked whether the raid could have been somewhat unsuccessful due to a faulty approach by intelligence, but denying this, Collins explained that the security forces would not have mounted an operation of that size and scale and make such an effort without proper intelligence.

He said it is not the case of them having better intelligence in Buxton but that a part of the community be alert from their intelligence.

He pointed out that members of the community have been harbouring criminals and that there were weapons there since the Army has been fired upon from that very area.

With regards to the robberies being committed at city car parks, McDonald referred to them as an old problem but stated that the Police are making efforts to combat this.

He said that during the upsurge about a month ago, Police were posted at the parks and the incidents had reduced.

He said the Police are continuing to deal with the problem.

He added that over the past two years, they have been pleading with the Mayor and City Council to do something about lighting facilities in certain public areas and had in fact presented them a list of locations where they thought lights should be placed.

He contended that should they have that assistance, it would assist the Force tremendously in dealing with some of the problems in the city and listed some dark areas that need to be looked at.

Commissioner McDonald stated that there has been an upsurge in criminal activities after the escape of the five prisoners from the Camp Street jail in February this year, when asked about the assessment done to determine the cause of the crime situation and whether politics was one of them.

He added that he does not think he is competent enough to make an objective conclusion on the cause of the criminal activities.

From the Army's point of view, Collins explained that the military would approach the problem based on several factors, including the military factor, the economic factor, the social factor and the political factor.

"...all the time in our analyses of a situation, we would have all those factors considered," he stated.

McDonald later reported that there have been three reports that a person purporting to be wanted criminal, Premnauth Sukraj known as 'Inspector Gadget' has reportedly been calling people demanding money.

A man who reportedly attempted to collect a sum has been arrested, and is in custody while the investigation is ongoing.

He said investigations are being conducted into a number of criminal activities which started earlier this year and that they have a general idea regarding most of the incidents and some of the people that may be involved.

He, however, couldn't comment further to compromise the investigation.

He said the groups committing the acts are not large but are relatively small and may have logistic or other support to enhance what they are doing.

McDonald added that the Police have evidence to indicate that some of the shootings may have been drugs-related.