PPP General Secretary Clement Rohee yesterday said that he has conveyed his concerns about the security of government’s Town Clerk-appointee Carol Sooba to acting Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud, even as Mayor Hamilton Green wrote to the commissioner to find out whether her private bodyguard Shawn Hinds is armed in the light of uneasiness about his presence.
Green, in a letter to both Persaud and Chief Constable Andrew Foo, requested that Hinds be checked to ascertain if he carries a firearm or any illegal weapon as a matter of urgency.
Hinds, an ex-policeman, had been charged with murder but was acquitted in the High Court. He has also faced other charges but has not been convicted.
For his part, yesterday at the PPP’s weekly press conference, Rohee said he was not aware of Hinds procuring a gun licence under his tenure. “People had firearms long before I came to the Ministry of Home Affairs,” he, however, added.
Green also questioned Hinds’s presence at City Hall as Sooba’s bodyguard, saying that although Sooba has said that she has no confidence in the City Constabulary, she has used the constables as guards at her residence on a 24-hour basis. He also said her “driver/security” is an armed inspector of the City Constabulary and that a Constable is posted outside her office at City Hall all day.
“It is therefore difficult to find any justification for Mr Hinds, if it is true, having any business in the precincts at City Hall.
Meanwhile, Green also stated that several councillors, City Hall staffers and members of the public are uneasy about “these characters” moving in about City Hall freely. Deputy Mayor Patricia Chase-Green, meanwhile, has said that the presence of Hinds at City Hall continues to intimidate persons who are visiting to transact business.
“People coming to pay tax and asking if Shawn Hinds in the building and if he is, they are not coming in to pay the tax,” she claimed.
“Just the name… intimidates people and he sits right there where people come to pay their money. People who hear the name have more or less associated certain events with him. He is not an asset to this council,” she declared.
Similarly, another senior City Hall official told Stabroek News that, “the presence of Shawn Hinds and other nefarious characters in the precincts of City Hall is compromising the internal security arrangements at City Hall which would necessarily have implications for the collection of revenue at City Council.”
The official also said, “The Treasurer’s Department, which receives taxes on behalf of the council, is located exactly where Mr Hinds takes his position on a daily basis purporting to be providing security for Carol Sooba.”