GDF taking disciplinary action against coast guardsmen over beating of Essequibo teen

Dhanniram Rodrigues and his mother

The Guyana Defence Force has completed investigations and has begun instituting penalties against the officers fingered in the beating of a 17-year-old Essequibo teen late last month.

Meanwhile, the police have told the young man and his mother that they will today send the file to the city for it to be dispatched to the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice on the way forward.

“Our investigation is complete and we are in the process of disciplining our people departmentally for breaches…disciplinary action is in progress,” Army Chief of Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips told Stabroek News yesterday.

Dhanniram Rodrigues, a labourer of Charity Extension Housing Scheme, had told Stabroek News that last week Monday he was badly beaten by a group of men who he said were later identified as members of the Coast Guard.

Dhanniram Rodrigues and his mother
Dhanniram Rodrigues and his mother

Rodrigues sustained a gaping wound to his right hand and injuries to his head and other parts of his body. His family said that the matter was reported to the police but they had seen no action.

While Phillips would not say what the penalties are, this newspaper understands that the men fingered have been stripped of their duties and are receiving half of their salaries pending the outcome of the police investigations. There have also been orders that they be disciplined according to the GDF standard operating procedures guide.

Relating his ordeal, Rodrigues had told Stabroek News that he was in the Xenon Night Club at Charity when the incident occurred and he was left stunned by the attack by the five men. He is convinced it was a case of mistaken identity as he said: “… I didn’t do them nothing. I neva even see them before in meh life and now look at how much damages I get.”

“I went going and buy three beers at the bar for my brother and my next friend when a man walk up to me and then four more man come up. Them pull me out of the club and start beating me,” he added.

Further, he explained that one of the men hit his head on a post causing him to feel dizzy. “That is when I hold on to the post and I ain’t loose off. Another man come and he break a bottle and lash me on my hand. He keep rubbing the bottle on my hand for me to loose off but I aint loose.”

Rodrigues said they then lifted him and threw him on the road in front of the nightclub. “A next boy try to save me when them went beating me and them stamp he in he chest and lash he on he back,” he recounted.

The teen said that he managed to get away and “…I start run down the road to the police station and all a them start run behind me. I see a policewoman and I run to she but them man still try to rush up to get to me.”

Rodrigues explained that blood from his wounds soiled the clothing of the female police officer. He said he was taken to the Charity Police Station after which he was taken to the Oscar Joseph District Hospital by a woman who had witnessed the altercation. The doctors at Charity transferred him to the Suddie Public Hospital because of the seriousness of the injuries he sustained.

According to the mother of the teen, “A ligament in his hand cut and we had to go for dressing. Monday I have to carry he back to do a surgery on his hand because it damage bad.”

Rodrigues said he went to the police station the next day (Tuesday) and he was told to return on Wednesday to give statements. He said the men were in the compound when he returned on Wednesday and Welfare Officer Beatrice Parks, who is also a member of the area’s Community Policing Group, identified them as members of the Coast Guard stationed at the Pomeroon River mouth. He said too that the men were dressed in their uniforms on Wednesday.

The teen gave a statement to the police and was able to identify three of his assailants. Rodrigues said that a surgery was scheduled to be performed on his hand today but it has been rescheduled for the 22nd of this month.

 

 

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