The City Constabulary has been allowing the Town Clerk’s bodyguard to access and carry one of its weapons although he is not a licensed firearm holder, the Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the operations of City Hall heard yesterday.
Corporal Quacy Baveghems testified that retired City Inspector John Walters is issued daily with a weapon from the Constabulary even though he is not known to be either a holder of a firearm license or a supernumerary precept.
According to Baveghems, Chief Constable Andrew Foo was instructed by Town Clerk Royston King to issue a firearm to Walters for use in the execution of his duties.
Walters, who retired from the City Constabulary in 2014, was reemployed in 2015 as Supervisor of Security Officers. He held this post for one day before being asked by King to perform duties as his bodyguard. Due to his duties, he was issued a weapon by the Constabulary.
After Baveghems’ testimony during a hearing yesterday morning at the Critchlow Labour College, Walters was summoned by the CoI to respond in the afternoon.
During his testimony, he indicated that he does not have a licence or any other document saying that he can carry a firearm.
Walters attempted to indicate to Justice Cecil Kennard and legal assistant Sherwin Benjamin that following his employment as King’s bodyguard in 2015, he was sent to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) to undergo firearm training but both men maintained that in the absence of documentation he was breaking the law.
Walters managed to indicate that “the police sent back a report” before he was interrupted and directed to answer yes or no to the question posed.
“Do you have a license? Yes or No?” Benjamin demanded, to which Walters responded no.
“You can be charged,” Kennard stressed, before adding “you are no longer a member of the City Constabulary,”
“Were you sworn? Were you fingerprinted? Were given a document indicating you can hold a firearm?” Benjamin demanded, to which Walters responded, “No, sir.”
Stabroek News contacted Foo for clarification on the issue and was told that he was on leave at the time of Walter’s appointment. “When I came back it was reported to me that he had gone to the Guyana Police Force for training. I had no reason to doubt the information I was given but I have seen no documentation,” Foo said.
He added that as a retired Inspector, Walters would regularly needed to have been sworn in and have a precept before he was allowed to carry a firearm.
The CoI, which is conducting public hearings at the Critchlow Labour College, is looking into the administration and operations of the Georgetown Mayor and City Council, following numerous complaints to the Local Government Commission.