‘Damaged goods’ in the police force

Dear Editor,

I find it rather strange that a person can constantly over time be harping on the same note, making some daring allegations and statements for no reason when they have no evidence to substantiate them.  Whenever any killings occur alleging a shoot-out between the police and victims as in the recent shooting to death of three men, it is of great concern, and I never, never pass over anything written by Barrington Braithwaite in relation to it.  Anyone following these killings would know that Mr Braithwaite takes special interest in them, and definitely for good reason; he has been enlightening us about macabre deaths and guns in the hands of “soulless psychopaths” parading in Guyana Police Force uniform. No matter which commissioner takes the reins nothing changes; in fact the force recruits much worse “damaged goods” into its ranks.

How much more correct can Braithwaite be in declaring that it should be mandatory for the GPF to post pages of applicants for public verification in the media: “This branch of [the] joint-services has demonstrated it harbours a larger component of misfits who have compromised the safety of the public.

“Since 1990 to now only the frame of the force has been changed, not the picture.” He writes that “It is not difficult to realize that there are rogue and mentally displaced elements in the GPF… The system has captured unbalanced personalities and created soulless mass murders out of them… this is only the tip of the iceberg from what I have learnt about disturbed personalities and the troubled backgrounds of some members of these police groups.” Finally, in his story about Michael Jules aka ‘Porridge Man’ and how he met his death at the hands of the police he wrote: “After Fraser shot ‘Porridge Man’ in the back of his head while in a kneeling position in front of his wife and five children outside, he took a bag containing money, jewellery and ganja; the others stripped his wife of her gold jingles she was wearing and took a gold chain belonging to one of his children” ‒ such a poignant account.

Mr Braithwaite is definitely on to something; this brother is not blowing hot air, he knows the police, he knows just where there’re at and he trusts them not.

But for all his blaring it is clear that people who ought to be concerned have turned a deaf ear to him – thus he is like a voice in the wilderness.  As I have said before, many youngsters who have opted for the force have done so with the perceived notion that the police are a power onto themselves and operate above the very law they are supposed to uphold. They take advantage of ordinary law-abiding citizens for any trifle, thus incurring the wrath and non-cooperation of the public, like the businessman who was moved to say: “Yuh want the police fuh protect yuh…  but how yuh gon call them if deh gon kill people like that?”  This is precisely why the land is bleeding with hate, and public confidence in the justice administered under this political authority has been erased.

And understandably so, for what must we think about the statement of the then acting Commissioner in responding to the young man who was shot and killed in his own yard that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time?

Look, I say with the backing of many that it is an abomination, and socially destructive to recruit men with sick minds.  And by the way, take note that three seems to be the uncanny number in shoot-outs/confrontations.

In Prashad Nagar there were three dead; in Linden ‒ though it was not a shoot-out, more of a shut-down – there were also three, and now yet again.  It is my take that the Minister of Home Affairs, the Commssioner of Police along with the Police Complaints Authority, if they are truly concerned about the professionalism, respectability and incorruptibility of a healthy police force should call in Mr Braithwaite for a thorough in-depth soul-searching analysis of the GPF.  Look, I’m not in any way saying that victims in confrontation with the police are all angels; I couldn’t be that naïve; this society is riddled with “damaged goods,” many within the Police Force itself.  But this approach by the police over the years is just not making things any better.  Truth be told, however, the sanitizing of this society will never be achieved merely by professional policing ‒ all the learned folks know that.

 Yours faithfully,

Frank Fyffe

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