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|The North America Region (NAR) of the People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) issued a strongly worded statement condemning the trailing of Mr. Aubrey Norton, Leader of the Opposition, by members of the Guyana Police Force. The incident occurred on Monday, June 13, 2022 when Mr. Norton was travelling along the East Coast Demerara corridor.
Norton, who is also Leader of the PNCR and Chairman of A Partnership for National Unity (APNU), was seen in video footage enquiring from the two police men, who were on motorcycles, why he was being followed, and was told by the officers that they were “following instructions.” It was not divulged who issued the orders/instructions and/or for what reason. NAR in criticising the police’s conduct also said the practice smacked of being dictatorial and with the sole intent to drive fear in the citizenry.
Section 18 of the Police Act, Cap 16:01, grants any member of the Force the “power to stop, search or detain aircraft, vessels, vehicles in or upon which there shall be reason to suspect that anything stolen or unlawfully obtained, or that any person suspected of having committed any indictable offence, may be found; and he may also stop, search and detain any person who may be reasonably suspected of having or conveying in any manner anything stolen or unlawfully obtained.”
An officer Village Voice spoke to about the incident said, the police trailing a person who is not accused or suspected to be involved in a criminal act, and who on inquiry from the person is being told the police is merely “following instructions,’ is not good community policing. This act, he said, could convey the impression the police are being used to harass and intimidate persons which could contribute to the public lack of confidence in the police.
NAR has since called on all peace-loving citizens of the world to condemn acts of tyranny, acts intended to violate the rights of Guyanese citizens and human rights afforded to every individual in a free world. The organisation further called on the PPP/C government to respect the Office of the Leader of the Opposition, the person holding the office, i.e, Mr. Aubrey Norton, and to cease forthwith actions intended to intimidate and silence the Opposition.
Minister of Home Affairs, Robeson Benn, has since come out condemning the police’s action, saying “it was an untidy, unnecessary and a useless exercise.” However, still to be answered by acting Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hicken, is on whose instructions/orders the policemen were following.