Police are not condoning unlawful killings
November 3, 2006
Some senior officers of the Guyana Police Force have expressed displeasure with an article in the newspaper in which the Guyana Public Service Union (GPSU) lamented the apparent return of unlawful killings by members of the organisation.
The officers told this newspaper that the GPSU statement is merely focusing on an isolated case and gives the impression that the Guyana Police Force supports the unlawful killing of persons.
The officers said the union has also overlooked the successes that the force has achieved within a short period of time in apprehending dangerous criminals.
The GPSU had written to Acting Commissioner Henry Greene expressing its displeasure and concern over an incident in which a known drug trafficker was shot dead while fleeing from the police during an operation in Campbellville last week.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, the union said that the conduct of some ranks is in conflict with the professional policing character which was evolving in the force and which had attracted support of both the union and the public.
“In their attempted apprehension of members of the public and referring to the specific case where it appeared that the police did discharge a loaded firearm at someone who was fleeing for their own personal safety, and the excuse which was proffered by the police, only seem to heighten suspicion and distrust of the public,” the GPSU statement said.
It said that to allege a police rank accidentally fell to the ground, causing his weapon to go off, only seems to aggravate the circumstances.
Eyewitnesses had claimed that the drug dealer, James Bennet was shot in his back by a policeman as he was running away.
In the aftermath of the shooting and given the eyewitness reports that appeared in the press, the police had issued a statement assuring that they were investigating the incident.
Acting Commissioner Henry Greene told this newspaper yesterday that the police are in no way trying to cover up for any of its ranks.
He said that immediately after the incident, he had ordered an investigation and had detailed a senior officer from the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) to conduct the probe.
“CID has taken over the matter and if the rank is found culpable, he will be dealt with,” Greene told Kaieteur News.
Some senior officers who were contacted by this newspaper assured that there is no way the force will be allowed to return to the days of ‘unlawful killings'.
One officer pointed to the arrest of several dangerous criminals, without a single bullet being fired.
He noted that police held Cyon Collier, reportedly with three weapons, one of which was an AK-47 stolen from the army.
Police had also held a 13-year-old murder suspect called `Nasty Man' and multiple-murder accused Jermaine ‘Skinny' Charles and some of his alleged accomplices.
“These people were taken into custody, so it is unfair for the police to be so criticised for a single, isolated incident which is being investigated,” one officer stated.
He pointed out that perhaps the GPSU is looking at the many killings of criminals that have occurred within the past three months.
Eight bank robbers were shot dead in Berbice during a Joint Services Operation, notorious prison escapee Troy Dick and an accomplice were shot dead after a brazen robbery on Regent Street, wanted man Kirby Heywood was killed by the police in Agricola, while a dead bandit was found in a trench at Canal Number Two with another stolen army AK-47 strapped to his body.
The officer stated that all these deaths can in no way be seen as police excesses.
“The bank robbers were shot in a police/army operation; Troy Dick was armed with an AK-47 when he was shot…Kirby shot at the police and tried to escape,” the officer explained.
He advised that the GPSU and all the critics of the Guyana Police Force take a look at the transformation of the criminal landscape within recent times.
“Where was the GPSU when the bandits killed eight persons in Eccles and Agricola? Where was the GPSU when bandits killed Christine Sukhrah? Where was the GPSU when the Kaieteur News employees were killed? Where was the GPSU when bandits beheaded a man in Agricola? Have they ever encouraged the relatives of criminals to turn them in?” another officer asked.
He said that instead of making much out of an isolated incident, organisations should lend their support to the force to assist in the return to some sort of normalcy in society.