Police actions not adequate in case of Leguan shooting

Dear Editor,

On Saturday, 25th November, 2017 at about 9.30 pm, three men started fishing on

the sea dam at Amsterdam, Leguan. About 200 yards north of the spot is the home of an AFC official. The official started sshouting, “What you all doing there? Get off my land!” He also shouted obscenities at the men. The shouting continued up to about 9.45 pm when two gunshots were fired. The men left the sea dam and proceeded to Leguan Police Station where a report was made.

Two constables accompanied the men to the sea dam where they spent 20 minutes calling for the official, but there was no response. They left the sea dam and went to the head of a public dam leading to his residence but there was a gate there and the police declined to proceed further out of fear of being shot. The police left and returned early Sunday morning but still could not get the official. The AFC official finally met with the police on Monday, 27th November in the afternoon, almost 72 hours after the shooting. The police finally started an “investigation.”

Between the afternoon of Monday 27th and Tuesday 28th November, the men who were members of the fishing  party gave the police a statement in which they said that they were on the sea dam, that they heard the official shouting at them, that gunshots rang out from the direction of his home, that they feared they were being fired upon, that they took cover, that they left and went to the police station where they made a report. They truthfully said that due to darkness they could not see who was firing.

The official had earlier told the police that a friend, who was a licensed firearm holder, spent the night at his home and that the friend had shot at caimans. The friend in his statement concurred saying that it he who had fired his gun at some caimans.

On Wednesday 29th November around 16:00 hours I spoke with a senior police officer at G Division HQ who said the following:

1.The investigation was completed and filed.

2.The fishing party could not identify the shooter due to darkness

3.The fishing party could not prove that anyone was firing at them

4.The friend was shooting at caimans that were in a pond

5.They committed no offence

I pointed out the following based on statements given to the police and visits by police to the crime scene:

1.The official claims the sea dam as his land

2.The official was shouting at the men to get off his land

3.Gunshots rang out after the official’s orders to leave “his land.”

4.How come they stopped shooting caimans after the fishermen left?

5.The official’s house from where they fired, the pond with the caimans, and the spot where the fishermen stood were in a straight line.

6.The fishermen had headlights on their foreheads and were quite visible; that was how the official saw them.

7.Was it not dangerous to fire a shotgun at a target with humans 100 ft behind the target?

8.How could the official and his friend see caimans at over 200 ft in darkness in water and fire at them?

9.If the official and his friend went to the caiman pond to fire at the reptiles it meant that the humans were about 150 ft from the gun’s muzzle and could have been killed at that range.

10.The police gave the official 36 hours slack time after the shots were fired.

Please note that the AFC official is the Liaison Officer of the Community Policing Group and he ought to know better than to allow the discharge of a firearm when there is a danger of hitting innocent bystanders. If indeed his friend was there he should not have allowed any shooting with humans in the line of sight, especially with a shotgun.

On the night of the incident the police had no vehicles to go to the crime scene. The only police vehicle was in the possession of the AFC official. On Tuesday the fishermen had to pay a taxi to take the police to and from the crime scene while the official had the vehicle.

I have to say I have lost whatever little respect and confidence I had in some senior police officers and their superiors. The Police Force remains a very corrupt and incompetent one. I am pretty sure if I had done what the official and his friend did I would have been immediately jailed.

Yours faithfully,

Malcolm Harripaul

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