The main opposition A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) has condemned Saturday’s fatal shooting of three Albouys-town youths by lawmen and it is urging the police force to be guided by professional standards in the arrest of armed criminals.
“We are calling on the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to pursue professional standards for intercepting armed and dangerous criminals and resolving the matter safely rather than escalating violence and then offering the public specious reasons for their actions,” APNU MP and Shadow Home Affairs Minister Winston Felix said on behalf of the coalition.
Jermaine Canterbury, 21, and his cousin Mark Joseph, 19, both of Lot 19 Hogg Street, Albouystown and Romario Gouveia, 19, of James Street, Albouystown, were fatally shot on Saturday night during what police have called an confrontation with ranks.
Felix said APNU is advising the force “to eschew any behaviour bending towards extra judicial killings as a means of dealing effectively with the crime situation,” while adding that the constitution provides for every person charged with an offence to benefit from a fair trial before a court of competent jurisdiction.
“The beneficial effects of professional policing would provide the force with a good reputation and good standing in the minds of right thinking Guyanese. On the contrary the force is courting danger if its actions are considered to be extra judicial,” he said.
“It is incumbent upon the current commissioner and his officers not to cultivate a wayward police force and to ensure that the rule of law is observed at all time,” he added, while affirming that APNU wishes to support the Commissioner of Police “in the difficult task ahead of him but we are not supporting actions of the force which we believe are unlawful.”
According to the police, ranks received information about a robbery to be committed on an occupant of the K&VC Hotel, and during a stakeout challenged the three men as they were making their way there. Police say the men opened fire, triggering an exchange. The police released to the media on Sunday a photograph of two guns they said were retrieved from the site of the confrontation and a wig. All three men had previously been charged with robbery.
Canterbury was pronounced dead on arrival at the Georgetown Hospital while Joseph died shortly after arriving. Gouveia died yesterday, shocking relatives who said that he appeared strong the previous day.