No probe of Black Clothes - President
July 21, 2002
There will be no investigation into the operations of the Target Special Squad/Black Clothes Police, despite evidence presented in a US court that some of its members were involved in criminal activity.
On Thursday, President Bharrat Jagdeo told reporters at a press conference at the Office of the President that an enquiry into the operations of the squad, because of the misdeeds of a few of its members, would send the wrong message to the other honest and brave policemen in the unit who put their lives on the line in the fight against violent crime.
However, the President said that he had asked the Minister of Home Affairs to conduct an investigation into the charges against serving members of the squad and those proven guilty would be disciplined. The President, at a press conference announcing his anti-crime initiative, had indicated that he had ordered an investigation into the affair following remarks by a US court judge.
Opposition parties and civil society groups such as the Bar Association and the African Cultural Development Association have been calling for an inquiry into the more than 200 shooting deaths in which the "Black Clothes" police were involved. The government has rejected these calls. In sentencing former US Embassy official Thomas Carroll who was convicted of bribery and for operating a visa sale ring, Judge Blanche Manning detailed the involvement of the late Supt of Police Leon Fraser and Hargobin Mortley, who in return for a lighter sentence testified for the State. Another member of the squad, Eustace Abraham was summoned as a material witness.
Fraser and Mortley, according to the latter's evidence, served as enforcers for Carroll to ensure that his clients paid up and to scare away those who would jeopardize his ability to conduct his illegal operations.