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Attempts by the criminals to cower our police ranks as they go about their duty - to protect and serve the people of Guyana- will surely be defeated.” - Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Ronald Gajraj
THE wanton attacks on policemen and police stations/outposts have unleashed a campaign of terror on a populace already reeling from the effects of a spate of kidnappings - some deadly - murders and robberies which followed the escape, almost a year ago, of five dangerous criminals.
The heinous murders of those for whom service and protection are watchwords, is a direct assault on law and order in the society and an attempt to demoralise members of the force who daily put their lives on the line.
Over the past ten months, 15 policemen have been brutally gunned down, two in as many days in the new year. Another is battling for his life at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation following an attack on the East Ruimveldt Police Outpost on Friday evening.
That attack was the second the small outpost suffered in a matter of months. It also followed an assault on the Rose Hall Police Outpost which left two dead; one on the Alberttown Police Station which left one rank dead, and several onslaughts on the Vigilance Police Station and at least one on the Cove and John Police Station, both on the East Coast Demerara.
One effect of the attacks was the securing of the gates of Police Stations/outposts which caused some measure of consternation, particularly for those seeking to make complaints or to do other business at the stations; and the positioning of sacks of sand at strategic points in the compounds of those stations.
Since the latest killings and attack on the police outpost, the Home Affairs Minister, Mr. Ronald Gajraj, the ruling People’s Progressive Party (PPP) and the Police Commissioner (ag), Mr. Floyd McDonald have all condemned the acts and have called on support for the law enforcement officers.
“These brutal, murderous acts must only fortify the resolve of our police ranks as they combat the notorious criminals. Those who seek to criminalise our society by targetting our lawmen and terrorising innocent citizens, must know that the efforts of our law enforcement agencies will succeed in making our society safer.
“Attempts by the criminals to cower our police ranks as they go about their duty - to protect and serve the people of Guyana- will surely be defeated,” the Home Affairs Minister said in a statement yesterday.
Said the PPP: “The consistent attacks on the police suggest that these assaults on the subjects of the law are well orchestrated. Further, these (are) direct attempts to undermine the democratic state by forces that want to revert to an undemocratic past.”
Gajraj had earlier stated that instead of being daunted, the members of the police force will “rededicate themselves in the name of their fallen brothers to carry that torch with distinction.”
More policemen were killed last year than any other year.
The following is a brief documentation of the law enforcement officers who were victims of the criminal and terroristic attacks.
** SLAIN: Superintendent Leon Fraser, 42,
Fraser, a leading figure in the Police Anti-Crime Unit, popularly known as the 'Black Clothes' was shot in the head while on duty in the Yarowkabra area on the Linden/Soesdyke highway on April 2, 2002.
** SLAIN: Detective Sergeant Harry 'Rudy' Kooseram, 37
Kooseram was killed early on the morning of Monday, April 15 while bicycling to work at the Vigilance Police Station, East Coast Demerara. His murderer pumped at least six bullets into his body. Kooseram died shortly after he was taken to the Georgetown Hospital.
** SLAIN: Police Constable Sherwin Alleyne, 26.
Alleyne was one of four Policemen who was shot in an ambush on May 25, 2002 in an area aback the Coldingen Industrial Site, East Coast Demerara. He died two days later at the Georgetown Public Hospital from multiple gunshot wounds.
** SLAIN: Police Constable Andy Atwell
Atwell was killed in a most despicable and heinous way shortly after 22:00 hrs on the night of May 31 when armed men drove up outside the Alberttown Police Station in a movie-like scenario and opened gunfire. Another policeman on duty was injured and the building was riddled with bullet.
** SLAIN: Police Constable Rawle Thomas, 32
Thomas sustained multiple gunshots wounds when three bandits attacked a Police Patrol vehicle on Burnham Drive, Wismar, Linden on June 14, 2002, wounding him and two other members of the Special Target Squad (Black Clothes). He died two days later at the Georgetown Hospital.
** SLAIN: Lance Corporal Adrian London, 31.
London, who was attached to the Anti-Crime Squad and stationed at the Brickdam Police Station, was executed cold-bloodedly on July 11. He died in a hail of bullets on Joseph Pollydore Street, Lodge, as he was riding his motorcycle on his way home.
** SLAIN: Constable Ramphall Pardat, called Clifton, 52
** SLAIN: Constable Outar Kissoon, 46,
On June 21, Pardat of Lot 106 Ghanpat Street, Rose Hall Town, and Kissoon, of No.52 Village, Corentyne, were on duty at the Rose Hall Police outpost when a gang of six heavily armed men launched a withering gun attack on them.
** SLAIN: Deputy Head of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU), Senior Superintendent Vibert Inniss
Inniss was gunned down on August 24, 2002 at Buxton, East Coast Demerara in what appeared to be a planned hit. He was executed when he stopped in the troubled and violence-prone village to purchase newspapers. His lifeless body, riddled with bullet wounds, was later removed from his blood-spattered car by Police.
** SLAIN: Police Constable Feroze Bashir, 21
Four days later, on August 28, Bashir was shot as he was talking to his young girlfriend on the Sideline Dam, Buxton, East Coast Demerara. At the time of the gruesome incident, Bashir was off-duty and in civilian clothes. He was sitting on a motorcycle when a man approached him and shot him.
**SLAIN: Police Inspector Leyland October, 50
October was brutally gunned down on the night of September 6, 2002 by two men who first sprayed a noxious substance in his eyes and then shot him six times. He was gunned down outside Duckie's General Store, Beer Garden and Snackette on Russell Street, Charlestown. Reports indicated that the Police Inspector had just pulled up in his car and was about to enter the shop with the intention of purchasing ice cream when he was attacked. The gunmen, upon killing October, walked south along Russell Street then proceeded east into Sussex Street and disappeared.
**SLAIN: Traffic Constable Quincy James, 18
This young traffic cop was brutally gunned down on the morning of December 4, 2002 when heavily armed bandits went on a rampage in the City, robbing business places and terrorising shoppers and staff alike before fleeing the scene in one of the most daring and dramatic escape bids by gunmen since the infamous February 23 jailbreak.
James was shot dead in the drama and at least three other persons were injured in the early morning incident which led police into the backlands of several East Coast villages in search of the men.
James, who was shot 14 times in the region of the chest, slumped to the ground. He was rushed to the Georgetown Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
**SLAIN: Police Constable Colin Robertson, 25
Robertson had at least a dozen bullets pumped into his body by two gunmen at around 7:50 hours on December 23, 2002, just as he left his 560 'B' Sophia, home for work. Reports said that Roberston, a member of the Quick Reaction Group at CID headquarters, Eve Leary, had just left his home on his motorcycle, CD 1049, when one of the gunmen emerged from a shack at the side of the road and shot him as he was passing them. The detective was hit in the right jaw and fell unto the road, sending his motorcycle sliding into the parapet. As he lay sprawled on the road, the two gunmen walked up to him, and discharged at least a dozen rounds into his body. Apart from the wound in his jaw, he received five shots in the chest, four in the lower right hand, three in the upper left hand and one in the right knee.
** SLAIN: Police Constable Mark Latour, 29
Less than 24 hours into 2003, the nation has witnessed the brutal cold-blooded slaying of yet another Policeman. Latour, attached to the Criminal Investigation Department, was gunned down around 22:50 hours on New Year's night as he entered the Arapaima Restaurant at Quamina and Main Streets, Georgetown. Reports said that Latour, who was off duty at the time, had just entered the restaurant when a gunman who was inside, suddenly whipped out a pistol and discharged six rounds at him, fatally wounding him. In the process, one of the glass doors of the building was shattered. The gunman then fled the scene.
**SLAIN: Constable Rayon Anthony Roberts, 32
Less than 24 hours after the brutal slaying of Latour, another cop was on January 2, 2003 gunned down in execution style a short distance away from his Bent Street, Wortmanville home. Roberts was reportedly sitting on a bench outside a Tuc Shop at NN Bent Streets when, around 22:30 hours, three gunmen coming from an easterly direction walked up to the shop and opened gunfire on the cop seated on a bench at the entrance. The gunmen then walked away. Three of the bullets were said to have lodged in his head: one entered from the lower temple and lodged in the forehead; one through the back of his head which also lodged in the forehead, and a third entered through the forehead as well. Roberts is the father of six, including a two-month old baby. Relatives confirmed that the cop was slain on the second birth anniversary of a two-year-old son. (Compiled by Mark Ramotar)