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|Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) Paul Slowe, in a stinging rebuke of Wednesday’s press conference held by the Guyana Police Force, said their performance raised more questions than answers.
Appearing Thursday on Mark Benschop ‘Straight Up’ programme, which is broadcasted on 107.1FM and streamed online, Slowe said the conference was hastily put together to attack the credibility of Detective Sergeant Dion Bascom. “It was a disaster and did not do the administration and the image of the Force any good.”
Bascom, in a damning recording on social media which he has since taken down, accused senior members of the Force of being corrupt and implicated Superintendent Mitchell Caesar in a cover up with a city businessman, Nazruddin Mohamed, in the killing of Ricardo Fagundes aka ‘Paper shorts’ on March 21, 2021. Both have denied the allegations. Fagundes was killed in a hail of bullets in front of Palm Court nightclub, Georgetown. The Force has distanced themselves from Bascom’s allegations about police conduct and said they have enlisted international support in solving the killing of ‘Paper shorts.’
Bascom’s allegations are serious enough to warrant two separate proper investigations; one to investigate the murder of Fagundes and the other a Commission of Inquiry to address the allegations made by the sergeant, said Slowe. He believes the benefit of such an investigation is that people would have to give evidence under oath and those who are caught lying should be charged for perjury.
Warning, “if we don’t do an investigation cat will eat our dinner” the retired ACP lambasted the Force for not having a “serious press conference [that] would address concern about the allegations and conducting a serious investigation,” but more concerned about focusing on Bascom’s expletives than the substance of the allegation and cover up for murder. He also chided the focus on determining the alleged monetary sum the officer received rather than the allegation of a bribe which is the substantive issue. “It is outrageous that the amount of the bribe is of consequence not the bribe.”
Acting Commissioner of Police Clifton Hicken and Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum’s performance during the press conference Slowe charged did not strike him as people who were giving a credible account of what was happening, as he expressed concern that their performance “only serve to erode the ailing image of the Force.” They are out of their depth, and it will get worse if they are lulled into comfort that their political bosses are supporting them, the retired ACP shared.
Zeroing in on the service of the Force, Slowe called for a restructuring in order to provide the service society deserves. Citing Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica as models of better police management he said Guyana could learn these because “it is very scary what is happening here.”
According to him, there is need to equip the police with the necessary support and training to function and succeed. Pointing to an absence of systems to ensure continuity, such a training officers to take up positions that would ensure the system function properly, Slowe warned “political interference and incompetence will hurt the Force.”