The South Road killings are evidence of regression to the extrajudicial era

Dear Editor,

It is unusual for private individuals, including businesspersons to hold a common view on a matter that involves a police unit in their vicinity, and relate with horror their conclusion that a certain police action harked back to another era not too long ago. I spoke to some citizens on what occurred on Saturday night on South Road, that was erroneously claimed to be a shootout between the GPF and Jermaine Canterbury, Mark Joseph and Romario Gouveia. In fact witnesses put forward a different scenario, ie, that it was a gruesome case of extrajudicial killing.

As other sources were explored it would be fair to compliment the police on having inside sources that led to the forestalling of a crime before it occurred. But what followed was reprehensible. One business person remarked “Yuh want the police fuh protect yuh, but how yuh gon call them, if deh gon… [kill] people like that.” There must be lines drawn between police behaviour and that of law breakers, but in this case as with dozens of cases before, there is no distinction. This presents itself as an act between two criminal gangs. It is not difficult to realise that there are rogue and mentally displaced elements in the police force, and the current Commissioner has his task well cut out. There is the distraction of calling for witnesses to come forward when an in-house enquiry would more than substantiate the fact that these policemen killed these suspects extrajudicially. We must remember that the youngsters in Agricola were also planning a robbery? Even the Commissioner (then acting) moved into the domain of the surreal, implying that while young Caesar was in his own yard, “He was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” when he was killed by a policeman.
It is not the Guyana Defence Force that should post pages of applicants for public verification in the media. This should be mandatory for the Police Force; this branch of the Joint Services has demonstrated it harbours a larger component of misfits who have compromised the safety of the public.

The killing of the Linden ‘Three’ outlined that reality; the guilty were never punished. Now an act of extrajudicial killing has occurred on the West Coast of Demerara; this did not go unnoticed. The South Road three should be a cut-off point for what appears to be a quick retrogression into extrajudicial killing and fabrications. As for photographs taken to the media, as a media worker it was tragically amusing to see them. It has reached the point where they didn’t even bother to take fresh shots; we mused that perhaps the suspects had given them the weapons to photograph a few years before, knowing that they would be killed. This South Road scenario repeats the fiasco of the Prashad Nagar ‘shoot out’ where in like fashion Leon Gittens, Quincy Alexander and Tony Ogle were killed. By now the Commissioner would know that there were eyewitnesses (not to the actual killing) but to that engagement, and there was no shootout.

When I was told a few days ago by one of the South Road witnesses that “The boy in hospital gon got a whole story fuh tell,” I quickly enquired which hospital, and was told the Georgetown Hospital. I want to offer this insight.

Randy Morris spoke to several people before his demise, he mentioned a macabre scenario of a specific legal person, a few businessmen and specific police who recruited and used persons to burn buildings, beat-up persons, including a manager at a public entity, and then conspired to dispose of them. That there are people who also use criminals as disposable income helps to define the labyrinth of wealthy monsters, some in uniform that have to be targeted by the few policemen left.

Our unemployment and complacency with the criminal rich who pay their way out of murder has created dysfunctional social instincts. Recently the Head of the Child Care and Protection Agency raised her voice against sending young offenders to the former ‘Ranch’ (New Opportunity Corps). The age of most of the young men in the crisis of crime should have long prompted any administration with an enlightened social obligation to ensure such first offenders were sentenced to a National Service model facility. Such extra-judicial killings also damage the young men who enter the Police Force instead of continuously training them as better persons. Many of the killers among our police over the years haven’t done very well socially; I know many of them, as human beings they’re damaged goods.

It will be interesting to witness how the Commissioner proceeds through his line of command.

Yours faithfully,
Barrington Braithwaite

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