The police's treatment of George Bacchus' allegations What the people say about
By Iana Seales
Stabroek News
June 28, 2004

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After the now dead self-proclaimed death squad informant, George Bacchus resurfaced in late April; he indicated his willingness to give a statement to the new administration of the police force, in which he expressed confidence. But up until the time of his death he was never approached. Should the police have gone to him then for a statement about the death squad allegations? We ask the man/woman in the street.

Oswald Peters - electrician: 'The whole Bacchus affair, as I refer to it is troubling and as such the matter should have been treated with a little more severity than it was. Even now I am trying to understand the rationale behind the decision not to pick up this man and delve a bit more into the allegations he made. The logical thing was for the police to go to him and get the statement. Whether or not he wanted to go to them should not have been an issue given the circumstances. As regards protection for Bacchus, I would say that this is a no-brainer. The man brought certain things to the fore that may have been questionable but still prompted an investigation and which put him in danger. Protection should have been given to him he needed not ask. The police, in my mind have no excuse for not protecting George Bacchus, none. In other countries protection is suggested if not given in such matters but nothing of the sort happens here. Now that Bacchus is disposed of we are left to reason who might have really been responsible.'

Beverly Gonzales - housewife: 'It is a sad ending to what might have been a very revealing, tell-all story. George Bacchus came public with certain revelations that warranted a probe. What the police should have done was detain Bacchus from the first day he made the allegations and spoke of a death squad. In that way they would have gotten more than just a statement. I am positive there would have been things to go on and start an investigation. The police had a chance to visit Bacchus at his home and request that he accompany them to the station. This is not unheard of, that is why they should have approached the man. But in my heart I believe that we are yet to hear the end of this. Things are unspoken and the public may know only half of what is really happening. Now that the Opposition has provided the police with something to work with I await the commencement of an investigation.'

Sydney Retemyer - overseas-based Guyanese: "I saw the whole story unfolding on the BBC and got some understanding of it. From what I know George Bacchus said some things that appeared to be of a serious nature. In that respect I would say that the police should have approached the man who claimed to be an informant of this group and who was privy to certain information. Also, the police should have placed him in protective custody whether or not he had requested it given the fact that he feared for his life. And as it relates to the allegations that he made, the man should have been arrested and questioned about these things. Then the police could have taken the necessary steps.'

Vaulda Welcome - seamstress: "From my understanding of the whole Bacchus affair this man had information that the police should have looked into. True, they may have been just allegations but aren't those investigated too? The onus was really on the police to determine whether they were in fact just allegations. They needed to go to George Bacchus and take the statement. The man went public and even if he didn't go to them things were out there. The police had to properly investigate and clear the air. And they should have given that man some protection. Even if he failed to ask for it they should have known that it was necessary.'

Balram - salesman: 'Bacchus is dead now and nobody can get a statement out of him. While he was alive the police should have gone to him and get the statement if that is what was needed to start an investigation. But they didn't. I don't really feel that Bacchus should have been picked up when he went public with the allegations but I believe that he should have been looked over. The man did say that people were trying to kill him and the police should have acted and protected him.'

Shonette Pearson - clerk: 'There is doubt in my mind that the police would have gone to George Bacchus for a statement. They can talk of failed attempts to reach him but I have always had doubts. The man implicated police officers as being connected to the whole thing according to what I have read and that in my mind says it all. But the logical thing to do was to approach the man and get the statement. When I look at the Bacchus affair questions come to mind as to who is being accused. That I think is the real issue and that is what should be investigated.'

McLean - student: 'As it relates to law enforcement the police are correct when they say that Bacchus should have approached them. But when in fear a man seldom thinks straight. George Bacchus had expressed fear for his life and I believe that is why he sought refuge elsewhere. He had also implicated police officers as being involved and that means he had reservations about going to them. So to say that he should have gone or that the police should have approached him is not that easy. The question of protection that is being raised is also not that simple. The police might just be looking at it from the view that he didn't go to them and say anything so why protect him.'

Diane Chung - accounts clerk: 'George Bacchus didn't trust the police, I think that that was clear. So he didn't go to them. But they should have approached him and taken the statement while he was still alive. I mean he was there at home for sometime and they had the opportunity to visit him. I first learnt of Bacchus a few months back when his brother died and whether or not he is speaking the truth is yet to be determined. The police should have moved on that and investigated.'

Edwards - maintenance worker: 'Bacchus had things to say, things that he went on television and openly spoke of. Why didn't he take this thing to the police? This is the question that comes to mind. But I believe that the police should have given him some sort of protection when he talked about being targeted. From the time he said that people were trying to kill him they should have taken action.'

Windia Thomas - housewife: 'If the ordinary man had gone on television and admitted to using his money to gather intelligence for a death squad the police would have arrested them. When Bacchus publicly said that he was an informant for this death squad he should have been picked up. But he continued to walk the streets freely. Then he made serious allegations and called several names. I think he even said the police were involved. Whether or not he wanted to go to the police is not the issue they should have gone to him. Why wait? Here was a man who said that he had certain information. Then Bacchus said that he was going to die yet the police did not approach him. The fact that he died says there is something to hide and there was some truth in his allegations. The police needed to protect the man. He didn't have to ask for it they should have known.'