PNCR urges probe of police conduct

The main opposition PNCR yesterday called for an impartial investigation of the conduct of police ranks during last Sunday’s operation in East Rumiveldt.

Lance Carberry, the party’s parliamentary chief whip, yesterday condemned the shooting of Osafie Johnson during the operation, which was intended to capture fugitive Tyrone ‘Cobra’ Rowe. “The PNCR puts the GPF [Guyana Police Force] on notice that it would be resolutely pursuing this matter to ensure that justice is served,” he said, while noting that residents had disputed the official account of what transpired.

Reading from a prepared statement, Carberry said that over the years the party has consistently called for modern and appropriate training/retraining of all of our policemen and policewomen and remains convinced that such action is central to the transformation of the force.

He pointed out that once recruited, ranks must be exposed to all the modern techniques of investigative policing, which are driven by hard and relentless intelligence as opposed to confrontations and brutality. “The unacceptably high percentage of unsolved serious crimes is, we feel, largely due to the lack of proper training of the members of the GPF. This is not an attack by the Party on the GPF, rather it is an unequivocal attack on the [Bharrat] Jagdeo regime for not having the foresight or indeed the political will to invest in the most fundamental and important asset of the GPF namely the policemen and policewomen,” he said.

Carberry added that the party hoped that the celebration of the GPF’s 171st anniversary would have gone by with all members striving to avoid those “behaviour patterns that have earned them widespread condemnation and have contributed to the loss of public confidence.” He called on Police Commissioner Henry Greene to ensure an impartial investigation of the conduct of his ranks during the operation, noting that it came one day after a massive celebratory parade by the police in Georgetown aimed at restoring public confidence.

Recent events involving members of the force have shown in graphic ways how urgent the enhancement of its human resources is, Carberry noted.

According to him, the party endorses that the minimum requirement for recruitment should be raised to sound secondary education and the review of salary structure and substantial increases in remuneration. The party also called on the administration to set a finite time limit within which the salaries and other benefits of members of the police force will be enhanced. “Until the Jagdeo regime gives the GPF the financial resources, to firstly attract and then train and retain its members, our country will continue to see more unlawful shootings by members of the GPF; more unsolved crimes; and, more unnecessary confrontations with the public, which have the debilitating effect of an increasingly uncooperative public and an increasing sense of helplessness by victims of crime,” Carberry said.

Meanwhile, Carberry said the party noted the recent tragic events that have led to the death of several policemen and he extended sincere condolences to the family of 19-year-old police constable Vickram Singh, who was gunned down last week and the families of the two policemen in Berbice who died in “strange circumstances.”

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