Amid public consternation and calls for the resignation of Minister Clement Rohee, the Ministry of Home Affairs today expressed deep concern over the killings of Shaquille Grant and Dameon Belgrave by the police and said that an analysis is being done of current training regimens.
In its first public statement on the two killings which have outraged the public, Rohee’s Ministry “expresses its deepest condolences to the parents, relatives and friends of Shaquille Grant and Dameon Belgrave”.
A statement today said it was the Ministry’s “firm resolve that members of the Guyana Police Force must at all times act within the confines of the law when carrying out their duties especially when it involves the use of force.”
The statement also hinted at likely changes in the force. It said that the analysis underway “would also involve the process of rationalization of the functions of the Anti-crime Units which are tasked with the suppression of crime in the country.”
Already under pressure over the killing of three protesters in Linden on July 18 by police, the manner in which Grant and Belgrave were killed by police have ratcheted up calls for Rohee to resign.
Three cops have been charged with murdering grant at Agricola and three others are implicated in the killing of Belgrave who was a bystander on Hadfield Street. the police had been in hot pursuit of a car and fired shots in the crowded area killing Belgrave.
Many groups and organisations have since condemned the police actions.
The ministry statement follows:
“The Ministry of Home Affairs is deeply concerned about two (2) recent incidents of shooting involving police patrols in the Georgetown area which resulted in the regrettable deaths of two (2) civilians.
The Ministry notes that criminal prosecutions have been instituted against the ranks who were involved in the fatal shooting of Shaquille Grant of Agricola, East Bank Demerara on 11th September 2012.
Of equal distress to the Ministry is the recent incident on the evening of Friday 5th October 2012 where a police patrol that was allegedly attempting to arrest the occupants of a suspect vehicle resorted to the use of deadly force which resulted in the demise of an innocent by-stander, Dameon Belgrave of Pouderoyen, West Bank Demerara.
The Ministry has been advised by the Guyana Police Force that the ranks who were implicated in the incident have been placed under close arrest and the advice of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) is being sought as regards the way forward.
The Ministry expresses its deepest condolences to the parents, relatives and friends of Shaquille Grant and Dameon Belgrave.
It is our firm resolve that members of the Guyana Police Force must at all times act within the confines of the law when carrying out their duties especially when it involves the use of force.
The United Nations and Human Rights Standards regarding the use of force and the Guyana Police Force’s Standing Orders are instruments that must be used to guide the actions of members of the Force.
At the present time an analysis is being conducted of the current training, methodologies, anti crime patrolling arrangements and general supervision of ranks during patrols to identify issues. This would also involve the process of rationalization of the functions of the Anti-crime Units which are tasked with the suppression of crime in the country.
We are committed to working along with the Guyana Police Force at the level of policy to identify the issues that may have contributed to the two (2) recent shooting incidents in particular, with a view to taking effective corrective action.
Again, the Ministry expresses its regrets at these two (2) unfortunate shooting incidents.”