Occupants of minibus did not identify themselves – Inspector Playter

A Berbice Police Inspector who was upbraided after reportedly refusing to take a call on a civilian’s phone from the Acting Police Commissioner, David Ramnarine, is denying that the occupants of a stopped minibus had identified themselves as police officers.

The police have responded to the allegation in a release by stating, “There were two members of the Force, one being a Subordinate Officer in the vehicle, and two civilians, and having stopped at the police roadblock, the driver explained who they were.”

The release went on to state, “In this process, the documents for the vehicle were requested and the Inspector and a Sergeant, had an issue with one of the documents, which resulted in grossly uncomplimentary remarks being made by the Inspector and the Sergeant, much to the shock and dismay of the police ranks and civilians, after the driver explained that the Commissioner of Police (ag) had sent them to Berbice on duty, and the driver made the call to the Commissioner of Police (ag).”

However, Inspector Playter, in responding to the release insisted that the occupants of the vehicle, who were all attired in plain clothes, at no time identified themselves. “I wish to state categorically that I did not subject the bus to stop, nor I was the person who requested documents, it was a female traffic rank (name could be supplied if needed). She was the rank who observed the deficiencies and relayed same to a Lance Corporal, who engaged me, and then I engaged the driver who was about 20 feet away from his bus. At no time while the driver was engaged, did I or any one in my presence make any uncomplimentary remarks to him, the other occupants, nor was anything said about anyone,” he said.

Meanwhile, other ranks who, were present at the checkpoint, although reluctant to speak with media, told Stabroek News that at no point did the passengers in the bus identify themselves as police officers.

However, the police press release said that on Friday, March 23, 2018, about 10:00hrs, Inspector Playter, along two other ranks from ‘B’ Division were summoned to a meeting, where one of the ranks who was in the minibus, related in the presence of Assistant Commissioner of ‘Operations’ Mr. C. Hicken and Second-in-Command ‘Administration’, W/Assistant Commissioner Graham, what had taken place.

The release noted that these documents were subsequently produced to the Assistant Commissioner ‘Operations’, in the presence of the Traffic Chief, and all were found to be in order, “The Inspector clearly did not understand the matter of the vehicle pass on the day in question,” the release noted.

However, Inspector Playter, in his response to the release, said that pertinent information that should have been recorded on the documents were missing, that is to say, the name and address of the driver.  “The driver had also stated, when questioned about his road service, he arrogantly responded, ‘it left at Brickdam’, so to say that I did not understand is absurd,” he noted. The police statement also noted that Inspector Playter and his ranks listened, acknowledged and admitted that he in particular showed total disregard for the Commissioner of Police’s Office by his utterances and subsequently apologised. They had stated that as it relates to him being transferred, “Rotation is a management tool used to assist in the maintenance of efficiency within the Guyana Police Force.”

However, the Inspector said, that he had only apologised to avoid any further conflict with his job. He also noted that the Traffic Chief, as claimed by the police in their release, was not present during the supposed “meeting”. He said, “Mr. Hicken’s utterances were that he was

 mandated by Mr. Ramnarine to conduct an inquiry about the incident and to report to him, accordingly, the findings. It is therefore puzzling that the administration would refer to the inquiry as a meeting.”

Playter  further stated that he would not dispute the management tool used to promote efficiency, as adapted by the force, but that it should be noted, “during my tenure in the Guyana Police Force I was transferred on several occasions and proceeded on those transfers without hindrance (not for wrong things). The question begs then, why in this instance, two days after the inquiry I was moved?”

Additionally, the Police statement admonished the Inspector, stating that his behaviour was not surprising, “As prior to this incident he was posted to the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), to relieve a colleague Prosecutor who was proceeding on Annual Vacation Leave, but instead he reported sick and obtained one month’s sick leave.”

According to information gathered, the inspector was given seven days sick leave twice from the Port Mourant Hospital, in relation to an issue with his eye. However, after a recommended follow-up examination with another doctor, he was given an additional two weeks, and advised not do any heavy reading and avoid sunlight, since it was nearing time for him to undergo surgery.

However, Stabroek News was told that after the sick leave was finished, the inspector, based on the transfer, reported to Assistant Superintendent, Telford at the DPP, who referred him back to Berbice. Playter then reported back to the B Division Commander, Ian Amsterdam, who had reportedly received instructions from Georgetown for the inspector to remain in Berbice.

The inspector is currently using his annual leave in the hope of having the necessary surgery at the Ophthalmology Hospital, which at present, is only doing minor surgery.  He said in his statement, “I feel that I was unjustly treated at a time that I am going through eye deficiencies and the posting to C Division placed me under financial constraints and was demoralising to my family.”

Playter further stated that he made attempts to ventilate his concerns privately with the hope of having the matter resolved amicably by sending letters to the Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan, the Attorney-General and the Office of the Presidency. However, he said, months later it appears that nothing definitive has been done.

“Thus, as a result of a frustrated mind, I was forced to bring the issue to the media’s attention. While there may be some regrets, in my humble opinion it was last resort.”

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