GRA denies police claim that its officers hindering GPF

Chicken smugglers shoot-out with customs

Following claims by the Guyana Police Force (GPF) that investigations into Wednesday night’s shootout between Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) enforcement officers and smugglers have been hindered by the GRA, the tax-collecting agency has dismissed the allegations deeming them “wicked, malicious, and atrocious.”

Yesterday, the GPF through a release said that two men, including the main suspect, have been arrested and are in police custody. However, the release continued, “the investigations are being stymied by the non-submission of statements to the police by the GRA officials who so far have shown some reluctance to do so.”

Hours after the release was sent by the GPF, the GRA in its own release called for a retraction of the statements. “The GRA views such statements as wicked, malicious, and atrocious and is calling for a retraction of same and for the police to take swift action to have the criminal elements brought to justice as the GRA has been working with the police from the night of the incident with an initial report,” the GRA said.

According to GRA, an official of the Law Enforcement and Investigation Division (LEID) has allegedly been in “constant communication with the police and finds it very disturbing that such statements [of non-submissions] were made.” The GRA further claimed that its officials met with investigating ranks from the GPF on Friday and were able to positively identify a suspect.

“The officers, not willing to provide oral responses that can be misconstrued and contorted, indicated that they would provide written statements and were told to submit same today [Saturday],” the GRA said.

“The GRA has nothing to hide or gain and we therefore find such statements mind boggling,” the agency said.

According to the release Commissioner-General of the GRA Khurshid Sattaur made efforts to contact Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud to have the statements retracted, however, these attempts proved futile. Meanwhile, investigations are continuing into the incident, the police said.

According to reports, LEID officers were conducting the exercise at Dundee late Wednesday night when a known Mahaica-based businessman appeared. There was a heated argument between the businessman and the officers before shots were fired by the man who had three accomplices. The officers returned fire before fleeing the area. The shooters managed to escape.

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