PNC/R team holds talks with army on national security
Stabroek News
September 7, 2002

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At the request of the PNC/R, its leader, Desmond Hoyte and three of its central executive members met Chief of Staff, Brigadier Michael Atherly and senior officers of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) at the Defence Secretariat on Thursday.

A release from the army yesterday said that the visiting party held frank discussions with the chief of staff and other senior officers on matters of national security. The central executive members who accompanied Hoyte to the meeting were Oscar Clarke, the party’s general secretary, Deryck Bernard and Raphael Trotman.

Contacted for a comment, Clarke described the meeting as very cordial as a result of which the army understood the party’s concern and it appreciated the nature of the army’s involvement. “We were delighted to have the opportunity to express our concerns and anxieties.”

Clarke said that the meeting provided the party with the opportunity to express its concern that the army’s image could be tarnished by its active involvement in police duties and to congratulate it for the success of some of the community programmes it had conducted in Buxton.

Clarke said that the delegation told the Chief of Staff and his officers that their involvement in police work left them open to a legal challenge, as there was no provision in the Police Act that allowed for it.

About a meeting with the police, Clarke said, the party has already made known its position at several press conferences.

It has called for the disbandment of the Target Special Squad and an inquiry into the operations of the force at which the police themselves could express their views about the issue.