APNU today restated its firm opposition to the promotion of cops who torture.
The party’s press release follows:
A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) resolutely opposes the collective efforts of the People’s Progressive Party/Civic Administration, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Guyana Police Force and the Police Service Commission to promote two subordinate officers of the Guyana Police Force who were involved in the torture of a 14 year old boy in October 2009.
Twyon Thomas’ was arrested by the Police following the murder of Ramenauth Bisram at his home in the Canal No 2 Polder on the West Bank Demerara on 26th October 2009. Bisram was the PPP/C’s former Vice-Chairman of the Essequibo Islands-West Demerara Region. APNU reminds the public of the following facts:
- Guyana Police Force: The Guyana Police Force published an order on 2nd January 2015 indicating that Sergeant Narine Lall had been promoted to the rank of Inspector and Constable Mohanram Dolai had been promoted to the rank of Corporal. These two subordinate officers had been charged in court with “intent to maim, disfigure, disable or cause grievous bodily harm” to the victim Twyon Thomas.
- Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR): Heralall Makanlall, Head of the Force’s Office of Professional Responsibility, investigated the crime and determined that the two policemen ‘tortured’ the victim by pouring mentholated spirits on his genital area and setting it alight.
- Police Service Commission (PSC) Omesh Satyanand, Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC), stated: “We should not hold something against someone because they would have committed something wrong… even though you have served the time for it and I think the public should understand that. From our record, he [Lall] has been an outstanding policeman for over two decades and we have taken that into consideration.”
- Government of Guyana: Dr Roger Luncheon, Head of the Presidential Secretariat, stated on 28th January 2015: “I think there was a satisfaction with the [PSC’s] commission’s contention that the law had taken its course. The disciplinary actions had been implemented and there was no need to deny these policemen’s promotion.”
- Ministry of Home Affairs: The Minister of Home Affairs Clement Rohee had acknowledged in 2009 that the teenage boy was tortured and expressed regret. He is reported to have said: “It appears that the investigating ranks went to the outer limits permissible… from all indications, they crossed the line to physical coercion and instead of applying psychological pressure to the suspect, third-degree methods were used which in today’s context constitutes an inexcusable wrong doing.”
- The Courts: Magistrate Priya Beharry first heard the criminal case against the policemen of unlawful wounding the teenager at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court on 25th November 2009. Justice Roxanne George, in a 36-page ruling handed down on 17th June 2011, found that Thomas’ fundamental rights had been violated and, after describing the case as constituting “torture,” awarded the victim G$6.5 million. The civil matter was filed against the Attorney General of Guyana, the Commissioner of Police, Sergeant Narine Lall and Constable Mohanram Dulai. The Attorney General was also ordered to pay $100,000 in costs while Sergeant Narine Lall and Constable Mohanram Dulai, the two policemen accused of torturing Thomas, were ordered to pay $75,000, each, in costs.
- Director of Public Prosecution: The Director of Public Prosecution, Shalimar Ali-Hack issued a ‘Letter of Discontinuance’ which effectively terminated criminal proceedings against the persons suspected of murdering Ramenauth Bisram. The DPP also ordered that a charge of ‘felonious wounding’ (not torture) be brought against the policemen Narine Lall, Mohanram Dolai and Deryck Foo, to be disposed of summarily.
APNU will not accept the promotion of the two subordinate officers. The Partnership reminds the PPP/C that the Government is a signatory to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment. Torture is a ‘crime against humanity’ and torturers are “the common enemies of all mankind.”