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No less than five persons have been murdered at the hands of the Guyana Police Force since August 2020. Wanton extra judicial killing has returned and this time more ominous than before. The past weeks remind us of rogue elements in the Force who have taken siege of Law Enforcement and they seem to be unstoppable.
Citizens are being shot by the police in their sleep, in their faces, buttocks and backs, violating all protocol of criminal apprehension or engagement. Recently the police shot two men dead and had the temerity to issue a statement that the men were ‘allegedly’ involved in a robbery. To make it clear, lest my concerns be distorted by those with a nefarious agenda, there is no support here for criminal activity.
There is no support, whether said activity is blue collar or white collar. Crime is crime and should be condemned and dealt with the full force of the law. The concerns here are that the police, acting like judge, jury and executioner, executing a vigilante style justice are themselves engaging in behaviours that may well be deemed discriminatory, unlawful and in violation of human rights.
Whenever the People’s Progressive Party/Civic is in office, going back to the Bharrat Jagdeo era, citizens live in fear. One of the fears is the police will violate the law with impunity and be granted political immunity; and the alleged victim, suspect, criminal and society, deny the right to due process that will ensure the protection of civil rights and the natural course of justice.
It is not sufficient for the police to assassinate citizens without getting to the root of the crimes, especially in a society such as ours where involved narco crimes and many guilty of crimes are all interrelated across the social levels. The difference being some are well connected and can have their criminal connection and link disappear. They also have the benefit of seeking the best lawyers, and have high friends in all branches of government, offering them protection.
To those who support the barbarism we are seeing in society, would they support vigilante justice enacted against those in high office who steal from the coffers, filled by taxpayers’ money? They wouldn’t support vigilante justice against their own for any crime, worst yet perceived or alleged. They would prefer their loved ones be taken to court rather than gunned down by manic members of the force who swear to uphold the laws, to serve and protect.
These deaths are also not seeing the activation of the Coroner’s Act that requires investigation be conducted, findings made, and persons held to account. When the world over is crying out for criminal justice reform and moving to enact it, here in Guyana the police continue to act as brutes and goons under a regime that only respects the laws when such work in their favour.
The right to life is sacred, constitutionally guaranteed to both the victim and villain. This must be respected by the Police. Bring the perpetrators in and have the court, which is the bonafide institution, dispense justice. It is also alleged the officer (s) that murdered Boston and the man in Grove is of East Indian extraction. This could have dire implications for race relations in society.
Guyanese would recall when President David Granger came to office, he made it clear his government would not tolerate extrajudicial killing. For the period the Coalition was in office citizens did not have to live in such fear. That five-year also proved the Force can desist from such lawlessness.
The extrajudicial killing of any poses clear and present danger to all. Lest it be taken for granted, or supported, when the police are allowed to act outside of the law, they threaten the life and safety of all, including the law-abiding. Orin Boston of Dartmouth is one such case. There was nothing against this young man but some blood thirsty, misguided, and trigger-happy policemen who felt they had a target to kill.
And Last Friday we saw another level of police lawlessness. When former Assistant Commissioner of Police Paul Slowe appeared at the Magistrate Court, responding to a summons to do so, four officers attempted to arrest him for the same offence he was appearing for. He stood his ground and asserted his rights.
The mistreatment and disrespect meted out to Slowe is reminiscent of the immediate post slavery environment when the newly freed were threatened and intimidated- going about their lawful business- by the colonial authority and plantoclass in effort to marginalise or keep persons ‘in their place.’ It is an insidious form of profiling giving rise to concern Guyana is too having its George Floyd moments and experiences.
Fellow Guyanese, we are living in dangerous times. The government is boiling a brew of evil, murder, chaos and confusion to sow discord amongst us. They are targeting persons, primarily in the African community, with sole intent to demonsie and criminalise, to silence voices of reason, dissent or alternative opinion, and place a section of society on the fringe. The police are being enlisted to carry out this dastardly programme.
All right-thinking persons are being called on to come out against the atrocity being committed against the people using state apparatus. Today it is Slowe, Boston, et al. Tomorrow it could be you. For clearly the police no longer have regard for Law and Order and basic human rights.