Dear Editor,

Yesterday around 10.05am I entered a minibus heading to Georgetown with a computer that I had repaired for a friend. Just as the bus started to move it was stopped by a police vehicle with four police officers inside, one whom is someone from CID whom I see occasionally. Two of them disembarked and came towards the bus and requested that I come out of the bus, which I did, and they then instructed me to bring the computer with me. I complied and the bus was ordered to carry on. When the bus had gone I was lambasted with a barrage of rude questions in an unprofessional manner, and was accused of having a stolen computer. Amidst the questions and accusations I explained how I had come into possession of the computer and where I was going, and the uniformed officers along with the plain clothes CID officer continued to accuse me of having a stolen computer. After ignoring my explanation they then demanded that I enter their vehicle and take them to my home, with which I again complied. Whilst in the vehicle all four of the officers kept accusing me of being a thief and the two sitting on either side of me started to threaten they would hit me in order to make me confess to stealing the computer. I decently denied this and kept trying to explain how I got it and where I was heading with it.

Nearing my house I pointed out to them my wife, my teenage sister-in-law and my two daughters, aged 9 months and four years, as they were going out. They called my wife back and questioned her about who am I to her and where we lived, what I did for a living and where I was going, and she told them exactly what I had said. They then asked her for the house keys to search the house and she requested to see the search warrant. To my astonishment they replied that they don’t have to get a search warrant to search anyone’s house to look for guns and ammunition. My wife still held out that she needed to see a search warrant whilst I was quiet after being threatened, and they asked her if she was rude and wanted to see them lock me up for the weekend. I signalled her to comply, because I knew I had nothing to hide and all of us went to my home.

The CID officer entered the house with me and I immediately took him to where I repair computers, and showed him some old ones that I have there. He then started to question me about the arrangements I make with people and keeping their computers, and I answered him. Satisfied, he ventured downstairs, but not before peeking into one of the three rooms and starting to question me about the type of work I did. He then mention that a station sergeant of [name given] was looking for me once in regard to a letter I had written to the press.

Outside the house I told the officers that they had threatened to hit me and one officer said I could go wherever to whomever I wanted and he would show me that he’s better than them. I said that I had nowhere to go and he started to curse and said he would hit me in front of my four-year-old daughter, wife and sister-law and his colleagues, while the CID officer who I believe is a sergeant or corporal tried to tell him to behave. After a few calls from the CID officer he quietened down, and I was asked to uplift my computer from the vehicle, which I did.

Upon their retreat my neighbours come out and asked what that was all about and I explained; they said I should make a report and see a senior officer about it, because it looked as if they were targeting me for my writing.

I explained that I had no confidence that making a report would ease the harassment being meted to countless innocent people like myself, and besides the news I read in the papers with regard to the senior officer caused me to believe that would only be a waste of time.

Editor, I had written off the GPF and mentioned incidents which are true. I believe that their actions are unreasonable and what happened yesterday will not deter me from writing about them; it will only make me write more. I am not a criminal; I mix with all kinds of people. I never encourage anyone to do anything bad, and to stand up and see an officer who is ignorant of the words politeness and courtesy and to hear the police use language that they would charge you for and are not fit to be used in front of a four-year-old child and my relative and family – that is sad.

Yours faithfully,
Sahadeo Bates

Editor’s note

We are sending a copy of this letter to Commissioner of Police, Mr Henry Greene for any comment he might wish to make.

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