Members of the administration including the hierarchy of the police force must stop treating the citizens of the country as though they will easily fall prey to their blandishments and propaganda.
Crime Chief Seelall Persaud said on Wednesday that police ranks will take necessary action against any illegal activity – fine words.
Editor, I am sure we can fill pages of illegal activity known to one and all, including the police top brass, yet we seem unable to take the “necessary action.”
I refer to the police shooting of protesters on December 6. The concerns of the protestors he referred to were about events that took place on Election Day and after. I ask the Crime Chief, was the assault by a PPP candidate on a female Presiding Officer on Aubrey Barker Street not an illegal activity? Were the action on the same day by Kwame McCoy and the destruction of a cell phone belonging to an EAB Observer not illegal activities?
Was the gun-butting by a government minister of a teenager not an illegal activity? Was the burning of the genitals of a teenager in a police station by members of the Police Force not an illegal activity? And Editor, I can produce hundreds, not dozens of similar questions for Mr Seelall Persaud and ask him whether we are now, in spite of a new President, in the mode of business as usual?
With reference to the shooting directly on unarmed citizens, will the police tell us if there are not internationally accepted Standard Operating Procedures to deal with gatherings of people? There were several options before pulling a trigger; firing a volley or two in the air being one such. In fairness to the new President, I am copying this letter directly to him to seek an undertaking that Mr Seelall Persaud and indeed the entire Police Force will make good his words, “Police ranks will take necessary action against any illegal activity.” I will avoid the other contentious and worrying issues, save to ask him whether this brutal and excessive use of force was the result of a political directive?
We note the statement by the Ministry of Home Affairs coming two long days after and subsequent to a picket-line in front of the ministry; too late, too late, to convince us.
In 1953, one of our sages albeit in different circumstances, quipped, “This confounded nonsense must stop.“
While preparing this letter. I learnt that the police have laid charges against some of the peaceful walkers of Tuesday last. It is clear that the police are not understaffed and have lots of time. I will not believe citizens when they complain that police ranks tell them they are short staffed.
Hamilton Green, JP