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Retired Assistant Commissioner (ACP) Clinton Conway said he feels it is time for the involvement of the American, British, Canadian and European Union (ABCE) in securing the protection of Detective Sergeant Dion Bascom.
Conway in conversation with Village Voice post- press conference of Bascom and his attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes, said he fears for Bascom’s life. Commending Hughes for the diligence in which he is cleverly handling the sergeant’s matter, the retired ACP expressed reservation of Bascom going to work under the current atmosphere. “They will set him up and it is unsafe for him to go to work.”
Hughes in the press conference on Friday said a request was made to acting Commissioner of Police Clifton Hicken to grant Bascom special leave, mindful that he has to travel from Georgetown to Essequibo where he is stationed, and any untoward incident could happen to him getting to and from work. The Police Force has not responded.
Conway’s fear is grounded in the murder of George Bacchus on June 24, 2004 in his bed, the day prior when he was scheduled to give evidence in a Commissioner of Inquiry into the phantom squad killings and it was perceived he would have led evidence against the state. He also cited the case of Francesco Vincent Serpico, of the New York Police Department (NYPD), who turned whistleblower on the NYPD and set up in a raid that led to him being shot in his face while members of his squad fled the scene and were later awarded for bravery.
It is Conway’s opinion, Bascom’s revelations, should a Commission of Inquiry be conducted, will rock the foundation of the Police Force. He also hopes more Bascoms come forward and would like to see them all given the necessary protection.
Sharing disappointment with the decline of professionalism in the Force Conway drew on the expression, that “the performance of any individual or organisation that does not listen to well founded criticism to change will be dull or unimaginative.”
He wants the public to know the Force has triangulating equipment that can track and trace calls. Members of Special were sent abroad to be trained in the usage of the equipment, he said. The Force denied having such equipment.
Another concern with the present leadership of the Force is confidentiality which is critical to intelligence gathering and protecting the identity of source. The retired ACP said it was nothing short of alarming to hear the Crime Chief threw confidentiality through the window by naming persons who provided information to the police.
Crime fighting is reliant on information from the public and the public expects the information could be shared and kept in the strictest of confidence. “Police depend on the public for information and the public confidence is eroding, and the little that is left will wash away if they continue in that manner,” he said.
Bemoaning increasing political interference in the Force and declining professionalism, it is only a matter of time when the public’s eyes won’t see, their ears won’t hear, their tongues won’t speak, they won’t touch, and their noses won’t smell, he warned. “Without the public’s input there is no police because the police can’t be everywhere and rely on the public to help them in crime fighting.”
Bascom has accused Superintendent Mitchell Caesar of engaging in unprofessional conduct in carrying out an investigation into the death of Ricardo Fagundes aka ‘Paper Shorts’ and accepting a $30 million bribe to cover up the case. Fagundes was killed in a hail of bullets after leaving the Palm Court night club on the night of March 21, 2021. Businessman Azruddin Mohamed is accused by the sergeant of having a role in Fagundes’ death.
The sergeant, in that recording, also accused Assistant Commissioner of Police, Wendell Blanhum, head of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of unprofessionalism. The businessman and superintendent denied the allegations and the Force has distanced itself from the sergeant’s remarks and advised investigation is ongoing in ‘Paper shorts’ death.