Questions raised about station records presented to Lindo Creek inquiry

A Guyana Police Force (GPF) officer was brought before the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Lindo Creek murders on Tuesday to present records from police stations located in the same district around the time of the murders.

Detective Deputy Superintendent of Police Gary McAllister, who is attached to the Brickdam Police Station and second-in-charge of ‘A’ Division, related that he was instructed by the Commissioner of Police to visit the stations at Ituni, Kwakwani, Linden and the ‘E and F’ Division Headquarters.

He said he made physical checks at those police stations between April 26th and April 30th, 2018, with the aid of ranks.

McAllister on Tuesday brought the crime and occurrence books from the varying locations for the period.

Of all the locations checked, he noted that it was only at the Kwakwani Police Station that he found an entry in the crime books related to the Lindo Creek killings.

In the Kwakwani Police Station Crime Book, the witness related, the second entry made on July 3rd, 2008 was a report of the murders of the eight miners at Lindo Creek, reportedly made by George Arokium. The book, however, recorded that the report was made on June 21st, 2008. There were no suspects listed, he related.

George Arokium, however, did not testify to giving a statement to Kwakwani police when he appeared before the Commission on Tuesday. He had indicated that when he gave his statement to police in Georgetown on June 22nd, that was his first personal interaction with them on the matter.

Asked by Commission Counsel Patrice Henry what was the procedure for recording a confession, McAllister related that the station diary was used to record the confession statement and the station’s general property book was used for the lodging of prisoners.

Under questioning by Henry, McAllister noted that recorded in the Ituni Station Diary, on June 16th, 2008, under the heading “arrests made,” was the arrest of Dwane Williams.

He read that Williams, a male Afro-Guyanese, aged 14, had been brought in for allegations of firearm possession and other offences. It was said that marks of violence were seen about his body and that no allegations had been made against the arresting rank.

There was another entry made of Williams leaving the police station around 5.45 pm on June 16th, after his arrest by Constable Morrison.

There was no entry made in the Ituni Occurrence Book for June 16th, 2008.

On Monday, Retired Colonel Fitzroy Ward testified that when Williams was apprehended and taken to the Ituni Police Station, he confessed to being involved in the Bartica and Lusignan massacres, and to his gang murdering men at a camp at Lindo Creek.

However, Ward had also stated that the records of Williams’ statement should be located at the headquarters of the 1st Infantry Battalion, as they were not handed over to the police.

McAllister was asked to go through the remaining books, specifically searching for events documented on June 16th. Most of those occurrences related to minor offences.

Asked by Guyana Defence Force attorney Roysdale Forde to explain the purpose of the station diary, McAllister related that it is used to record the movements of ranks and prisoners, as well as to record serious offences, such as murder. He further related that the occurrence book is used to record general and minor offences, while the crime book is used for serious matters. However, an entry into the station diary may not necessarily also be made in the crime book.

Asked when an officer goes out and has an encounter that ends in death, where that is recorded, the witness related that a record is made in the occurrence book, once it occurs within the same district.

Forde questioned whether McAllister had visited the Aroaima outpost, said to be a sub-station of either the Kwakwani or Ituni police stations, to which the witness indicated he had not, while noting that he had followed the instructions given to him.

When asked, he stated that he was not aware of the Christmas Falls encounter in June 2008, but admitted that an occurrence should have been made in the books. The witness was directed by Forde to check the Kwakwani and Ituni books for the dates June 5th and June 6th and relay to the commission what was recorded.

After checking, he related that there were no entry made.

Forde then put it to him that matters can occur in a district and not be recorded at all, which he accepted.

Moving on, Forde drew McAllister attention back to the entries made in the Kwakwani Crime Book. McAllister noted that in the months leading up to June, there was nothing recorded. Furthermore, he later accepted that while all other entries in the book appeared in sequential order, the Lindo Creek entries did not.

The entry, made July 3rd, 2008, documented a crime that was allegedly reported on June 21st, 2008, and was written above an entry dated June 30.

Henry, during Forde’s cross-examination, interjected to ask the relevance of his line of questioning, to which the attorney responded that he was cross-examining the witness on the credibility of the document.

However, COI Chairman Justice Donald Trotman noted that McAllister was brought not to testify to the content of the documents and to give his opinion, but to produce the books to the commission. Trotman opined that to subject McAllister to that sort of questioning would be unfair as he was not the author of the records.

The CoI was set up by government to inquire into the circumstances surrounding the killings of Cecil Arokium, Dax Arokium, Horace Drakes, Bonny Harry, Lancelot Lee, Compton Speirs, Nigel Torres and Clifton Berry Wong on or about 21st day of June, 2008 and to report its findings and recommendations to President David Granger. It concluded its public hearings on Tuesday.

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