Corentyne resident mistreated by policeman

Dear Editor,

I am a senior citizen of Corriverton and I am very troubled and disgusted by the actions of a policeman at Springlands Police Station who instead of serving and protecting citizens, chose to violate the human rights of my grandson, Andrew Lewis, a decent, law-abiding citizen.

On Friday, September 11, 2015, Andrew, who works at Skeldon Estate, finished working at 20:00 hours. He then stopped over at my residence at Princetown, a home he grew up in, to use the wifi internet service. The policeman and two others were in a grey car, and Andrew was riding his bicycle to his residence in the new 76 Housing Scheme. There is no street light in the scheme.

When he was almost home, the dark grey car suddenly drove by and blocked the entrance to his street. The occupants of the car came out and the policeman ordered him to come off his bicycle. He thought they were bandits because he had never seen any of them before. The policeman was very aggressive and pushed his hands into Andrew’s pocket and took his wages which he had withdrawn from the bank. He seized his haversack which had in it his green GuySuCo overalls. He also took his chain and cell phone, breaking the screen, and placed his bicycle in the car trunk. Next, he ordered Andrew to go into the car and threatened to kill him.

While in the grey car, the police officer began to cuff Andrew in the head and behind the neck repeatedly. He also cursed him and continued with his threat to kill him. At that stage, Andrew was accused of breaking and entering his house. They then drove him further into 76 Housing Scheme and stopped in front of a house where he was alleged to have committed a break and enter. After that they drove to Springlands Police Station where he was commanded to strip to his briefs, and was placed in the cell where he remained for over 12 hours, tired, hungry and thirsty. Andrew repeatedly asked a constable on duty to telephone his mother at 76 Housing Scheme or his grandmother at Princetown, but he was ignored throughout the night. My grandson had to get water to drink from one of the prisoners in the cell.

It was only at 10:00 hours on September 12th that a policeman informed us that Andrew was in the cell. When my daughter and I arrived, a policeman was in the process of taking Andrew’s fingerprints. A rural constable had earlier accused my grandson of stealing in company with another man and he restrained him from talking, but Andrew revealed what had happened. He was then taken back to the cell.

My daughter telephoned the Minister of Public Security who assured her that he would contact the Commissioner. We then visited an attorney-at-law who immediately telephoned the officer in charge of Springlands Police Station. We went back to the Springlands Police Station and met the officer, but he claimed he had no knowledge of the problem.

However, around 11:40 hours, Andrew was taken out of the cell and we were able to give him his first meal of the day. He was very traumatised and could not eat, yet the police chose that moment to take a statement from him. As he related what had transpired, he identified his attacker who was walking into the compound. We asked for Andrew to receive medical attention and the police complied. When the police took him back to the station, the officer-in-charge had left but instructed that Andrew should sign a recognisance and should visit the station on Monday, September 14th so that he could speak with him.

Further, we took Andrew to a private doctor where he received an injection and tablets and paid a fee of $6000. He had to take seven days’ medical leave, with effect from Saturday, September 12th.

On September 14th the officer-in-charge informed us that he wanted the boy to return in order to know how he was feeling. He disclosed, too, that an officer from Whim Police Station would investigate the issue. To date, we have not heard anything from the officers of the Guyana Police Force and the policeman who attacked Andrew has now begun to stalk him at night. Thrice he drove his car behind him. He usually changes direction and trails him. It seems to me that this policeman is above the law.

I am calling on Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan to thoroughly investigate this matter because the officer concerned is acting illegally.

Yours faithfully,

Shirley Hooper

Editor’s note

We are sending a copy of this letter to Police Commissioner Seelall Persaud for any comment he might wish to make.

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