A police constable who was chasing after an escaped prisoner yesterday morning was later discovered dead in a North Sophia alleyway and it is believed that he came into contact with an illegal livewire, one of several dozen located there.
Dorwin Pitman, 23, of Lot 23 North Road, Bourda was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
According to a police press release, around 07:30 hrs Pitman went to the lock-ups at the Prashad Nagar Outpost to feed prisoners. The release said that while he was handing meals to another prisoner, Akeem Edwards who was in the lock-ups for possession of narcotics and was scheduled for make his court appearance later in the day, pushed down Pitman and ran.
“Constable Pitman and another rank gave chase behind Akeem Edwards during which Pitman was subsequently found in the alleyway. There was no visible sign of injury,” the release said, adding that a post-mortem examination is to be performed on the body.
Edwards remains at large.
Stabroek News was reliably informed that Pitman was the only rank on duty at the time of the escape. When asked about this Police Commissioner (ag) Leroy Brumell confirmed that the subordinate officer who should have been with Pitman had reported sick. He said he was told there two other policemen in the barrack room, but they were not on duty. He said the force does not “want to speculate [about Pitman’s death] at this time” and would await the result of a post-mortem examination. He said it would appear that escapee knew the area well so he knew where he was going.
Based on what Stabroek News was told illegal connections, which have been an ongoing struggle for the Guyana Power and Light (GPL) for some time, played a significant part in Pitman’s death.
One resident said that the lights suddenly went out and they went in search of the man who usually does their connections. It was while looking for the person that they stumbled on the body of the policeman. According to one resident, they had to use a piece of wood to “hit off” a piece of electrical wire which was wrapped around his foot.
The resident noted that the alleyway where the policeman was found was bushy and as such the illegal electrical wires could be easily hidden.
Residents living along the alleyway were tightlipped when this newspaper visited and they all claimed that they saw a crowd and came out to investigate what was causing the commotion. They all said they did not see or hear anything suspicious prior to seeing the crowd. According to another resident, the prisoner who was shirtless knew exactly where he was going. The resident questioned why the rank ran all that way behind the prisoner. “Look is how far he run. All the way past the outpost, past St Stanislaus farm. That is a far way he run, man. It could be that he heart din bad and give out,” the resident said. The resident also pointed out that the place was wet and the policeman, being unfamiliar with the area, ran into his own death.
Shortly after Stabroek News arrived, a small minibus bearing the GPL sign approached and the driver exited and walked through a muddy alleyway. When he returned to his vehicle, a group of plain clothes officers and a uniformed policeman ventured into the alleyway. One was taking photographs of the grass along the roadway leading the alleyway. On closer examination, wires of different colours could be seen in the grass leading into the muddy alleyway and then into the one where the policeman had been found.
Moments later the GPL employee climbed up an electricity post and was seen cutting wires. He then rolled them up and placed them in the back of the bus before leaving. Contacted yesterday GPL Chief Executive Officer Bharrat Dindyal told Stabroek News, “the entire Sophia is a problem”. He said there is not a single street in the Sophia where someone is not stealing electricity.
Dindyal reminded this newspaper that during a recent media tour to the area, Kumar Sharma, Director of Loss Reduction had said that a design used in Cummings Park will be proposed to deal with this situation.
Sharma had told reporters that the pilot project, which was completed approximately three months ago, seeks to build a network where there is no secondary distribution (medium voltage) network, and therefore no scope for electricity theft.
Dindyal told Stabroek News that tackling the situation in Sophia is not an easy one as the GPL employees would have to get “significant police oversight”.
He said there are regular raids in Sophia, but residents waste no time in replacing the illegal connections once they would have been removed.
Dindyal said he hoped residents would take this incident and others like it as a lesson. When Stabroek News visited the constable’s home, relatives expressed shock at his death. A cousin, Oneicca Pitman said the details surrounding the incident were still sketchy. Relatives also said that the young man, who is originally from Essequibo (Region Two), had a suspicious wound to the back of his head when he was found.
According to Oneicca, September would have been two years in the force for Pitman. He was originally stationed at the Brickdam Police Station and was transferred to the outpost several months ago.
Pitman leaves to mourn his two children, aged three years and five months, his mother Stacy Pitman and a sister.