When good cops turn bad
By A.A Fenty
July 19, 2002
I risk real rebuke by even daring to comment, however briefly, on the subject of corrupt cops, wicked policemen, rogue elements of the Police Force - at this time.
How can I, a genuine supporter of the force, an advocate and promoter of understanding and co-operation between the Police and Society deign to raise such negatives at this sensitive period of time? Well it's just my penchant for facing reality.
My muted passion to deal with a fact of life whilst attempting to exonerate the majority of the Police Force and to record that my own admiration of the GPF has not diminished. A few bad apples - or mangoes - must not spoil the whole farm which produces our finest.
However, I am being persuaded that there are a few treacherous rogue cops, given to corrupt practices, some blackmail and sabotage which, it is not unlikely, could lead to grave consequences for their clean and conscientious colleagues. (Perhaps it has happened already.)
When the fearless Leon Fraser died I was amongst the first to use the media to pay tribute to that policeman's unquestionable bravado. I echoed the commendations of his friend Mr Hopkinson, who had eulogised him. And I won't let the allegations of a Chicago prosecutor substantially diminish the majority assessment of Fraser's life's work as positive.
I cannot, however, ignore the informed speculation with regard to the late officer's "other side" shared with me by others close to him, who now claim "to have known".
Again, last week Thursday night's brutal execution of an admired detective in Lodge has brought forth national condemnation. Adrian Lon-don's murder underlines the ultimate in the call of the Shaka Blair Pamphlet. And young and old defence counsel have praised his character and professionalism. Yet I have heard of chinks in the late law enforcement officer's armour of dedication to law and order.
Just last week this column sought to outline the propaganda technique of those whose agenda include misinformation and character assassination, pointedly intended to discredit or demonise sections of the Police Force. Whenever one is killed, use your "eye-witnesses, victims" and tele-activists to involve him in drugs (runnings).
But that is not what influences my belief that some of our good cops could have become susceptible to or ensnared in wrongdoing. Perhaps it's what their own colleagues allege.
So far, a few policemen have been departmentally and publicly fingered for aiding and abetting the accused or the convicted. Many of us, the scared law-abiding citizens wonder how and from where today's criminals obtain their police apparel. And if you have listened to former Commissioner Lewis and have saved newspaper court reports you would realise the alarming incidence of policemen being charged and prosecuted for wrongdoing - by their own! That is as it should be. To prevent the whole force from succumbing to internal anarchy.
Records reveal that errant members of the GPF have been charged - sometimes convicted - for all the variety of defences, the civilian citizens they arrest, also commit. After all, as the late Commissioner Lloyd Barker was wont to remind us. "These recruits and police personnel we train and produce come from the same imperfect society we all come from".
What is good commendable and inspires continuous hope is the fact that the force consistently penalises - or dismisses - its misfits. And there are still an overwhelming majority of dedicated, upright honest cops. The force's task is to prevent and detect its traitors. Like some staunch citizens, a few, sometimes a dangerous few, good policemen succumb to real economic need or just plain greed.
Like beleaguered, underpaid, overworked Prison Officials, some police allow themselves to be tainted and controlled by an overt and covert environment of underworld crime and criminal-minded professionals, who influence then ensnare needy or greedy cops. The consequences are disastrous for the force - and sometimes for those cops themselves.
In the interest of preserving the still good name and integrity of the Guyana Police Force, perhaps we could be more explicit some other time. With verifiable evidence. It might be better to be frank, to concede than to allow the politically evil, to subject the entire force to the ridicule only a few deserve.
Have you been following the unfortunate killings of policemen in Jamaica? Even we now have come to "accept" the murderous violence of Jamaica, the assassinations of police there, as here, is abominable. (Some cynics say we have exported electoral rigging to the Caribbean whilst we have imported police executions. I believe I know why the latter has been home-grown!).
Just one week ago, our own Police Commissioner, in the wake of Lance Corporal London's killing, vowed that the Guyana Police Force would never surrender ground to lawlessness, disorder and criminal activities. It is an assurance we all need. But just two weeks ago, in Jamaica, after five policemen were shot dad in less than a month, Steve Brown, the Head of the Jamaica Police Federation also vowed thus: "We are prepared to take severe, extreme, resolute and unprecedented action in order to stop the slaughter of policemen..."
Do you know what that means - or meant? Do we want that here? Or anywhere? Some here might want to provoke a response from one race-group. Or from the Police. God forbid (?)
1) At last. A definitive statement on the situation in today's Buxton by the "Elder Statesman" Buxton Brother Kwayana.
Who are these "Cowards" he mentions giving an inglorious taint to his village of great historical struggle and legacy. Be explicit Brother!
2) As I listened to Old Soldiers, ex-GDF fellows in Brooklyn outline proudly their knowledge of military manoeuvres - even as now implemented in civilian communities, I cringe knowing that other ex-soldiers here might be using that knowledge for evil.
3) The letter writer in the Stabroek this Tuesday has asked: How "civil" can Lincoln Lewis, Vic Puran, Ravi Dev and certain others be? I wonder.
4) Will the Port Mourant Congress this weekend just "hold the line", confirm entrenched solidarity? Or mandate the Party to "reach out"?
'Til next week!