A Capitol News cameraman and a resident of Chenapau Village, Region Eight were yesterday afternoon arrested by members of the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) while attempting to verify the boundary of the Kaieteur National Park (KNP).
Cameraman, Rudy Morris was part of a four-member media team accompanying Amerindian Peoples’ Association representative Michael McGarrell who had travelled to KNP on Saturday morning. The trip was made in hopes of being able to verify the boundaries of the KNP in wake of claims made by Chenapau residents that several of their villagers were accused of mining in the KNP-a designated protected area.
However, upon getting to the KNP arrival centre on Saturday midday, Stabroek News, which was also a part of the team was made to understand that a request made by McGarrell to walk through the park was denied by the GDF Officer in Charge on the grounds of their being an on-going military operation in a certain section of the park.
In addition to that, the GDF officer said that disobeying the order would lead to arrest and possibly charges.
However, Stabroek News understands that Morris, along with resident and former Toshao, Anthony Melville opted to take a boat up the Potaro River to access the park. While they were successful in accessing the park, Stabroek News understands that it was during their trek back to the landing that they encountered members of the GDF who reportedly arrested them on the spot.
Word of their arrest was received just after 3 pm yesterday when the captain of the boat who transported the men returned to Menzies Landing and related what happened.
In was at this point that McGarrell approached the Officer in Charge to ascertain the situation and was told that the men will be spending the night at the camp in KNP and will be flown to the city this morning to be “prosecuted.
The officer did not, however say what the charge against the men will be.
“I am not sure what they will be prosecuted for and I think we just have to wait and see what happens… I think that it is really unacceptable that two of our team members were arrested and I really hope that they be released without any charges.” McGarrell related.