The Guyana Human Rights Association today assailed the police over its failure to charge the officers involved in the shooting of 15-year-old Alex Griffith nearly two weeks ago.
The GHRA said the failure to bring charges is a setback for those who had hoped that the new leadership of the police force would take more stern action against defaulting police officers.
The GHRA statement follows:
The abject failure to lay charges both criminal and departmental against all of the officers involved in the illegal detention, torture and shooting in the mouth of fifteen-year old Alex Griffiths, twelve days ago, is a major set-back for those hoping that the new leadership of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) intends to pursue more robust action against errant police officers than their predecessors. The message this failure sends to the public is that protecting the criminals in their midst is a higher priority than protection of the public.
The circumstances of the case as reported in the media have not been challenged by the Guyana Police Force. The GHRA believes the delay in pressing charges is not rooted in complex investigation, it is driven purely by an unwillingness to face up to the presence of rogue elements among its cadet and other officers.
Had charges been laid promptly against all involved, the new leadership of the GPF would have emerged with considerable credibility. What they have in fact achieved is to undermine, at a stroke, their own efforts to create good will in communities, exposing, for example, the initial campaign in Albouystown to be little more than a PR job.
It would appear that the police do not intend to pursue this matter criminally. All the signs are evident that a cover-up has been set in train: the main culprit has been released from close arrest on the excuse that the police know where to find him.
The failure of the new Force leadership to recognize the consequences for recruitment of protecting officers with psychopathic tendencies is astonishing, to say nothing of the decent ones who must now be re-assessing their future in the force.
Moving from this politically-riddled, incompetent and corrupt approach to policing to an efficient, community-responsive form of democratic policing will take sustained commitment. Unfortunately, it would appear from the handling of the Alex Griffiths matter that the new leadership of the GPF is not yet ready to make that commitment. The GHRA is therefore calling on the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to exercise her authority to ensure that appropriate criminal charges are promptly laid.