New law to end bail in illegal gun cases - Rohee By Gaulbert Sutherland

Stabroek News
November 16, 2006

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Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee on Tuesday said that legislation would be put in place to deny bail to persons charged with the possession of an unlicensed weapon.

He made the disclosure while conversing with residents of Canal No.2 Polder during the re-launching of a community policing group in the area.

A resident had asked Rohee why persons arrested for illegal possession of arms and ammunition were "getting off so lightly" and Rohee responded that there was legislation being put in place to make possession of unlicensed firearms and ammunition an unbailable offence. He also told them that amendments to laws where toy guns are used to commit robberies are being put in place, but it would not be ready by this Christmas.

This week, cambio dealer Farouk Razac and his wife Carolan Lynch were granted bail on the charge of possession of an illegal firearm. Other such cases have also evoked concern.

At the meeting to re-establish the Canal Number Two Community Policing Group (CPG), Rohee promised government support, noting that the re-establishment of the group was extremely important and "your activity here this afternoon would act as an inspiration to others."

The resuscitation of the CPG is in direct response to a robbery/murder in the area, in which several persons were shot. A woman died some days later from her wounds. Rohee had visited at that time and appealed to the residents to resuscitate several defunct CPGs and to support the police in their operations. "Your assistance to the police is very critical," he had stated, noting that in that division there were 35 policing groups on record of which only 20 were active. He had said that given the robberies in the area there was need to reactivate the ones that were not active.

During that robbery last month three persons were shot during a blitz by bandits who had invaded two Mon Desir homes and beat and robbed the occupants. One of the shooting victims, Kowsilla Mahadeo succumbed to her injuries on October 30, while one of the bandits was found dead a mile away at Resource, Canal Number Two, West Bank Demerara.

Rohee praised the residents for "showing the commitment to re-establish the Community Policing group in this area" and promised them that government would provide them with support. "You are sending a signal to those undesirable elements that seek to enter communities like these and commit their nefarious activities and once criminals know that there is a Community Policing Group in the area it would act as an obstacle to them." He noted that the re-establishment of the CPG was extremely important and was "a living example of the fact that Community Policing Groups are alive and kicking". He said those elected as representatives of the group should be persons respected in the community and charged them with acting in a manner that would uphold certain standards saying that they were now in the public's eye and the public would expect certain behaviour from them. He charged the members to be accountable to the community, adding that when he returned to check on them, he expected to hear that it was a very good group that always tried its best.

He said he was pleased to see Regional Chairman of Region Three, Julius Faerber, present as he said it signalled the support the Regional Democratic Council was giving to CPGroups.

In response to a question raised, Ovid Glasgow, administrator for the Community Policing Secretariat within the Ministry of Home Affairs who was present assured the residents of his full support.