The acting Commissioner must proceed with professionalism

Dear Editor,

The acting Commissioner has made an address to the public but has failed to address the contentions that surround the incident in question. The Police Force has standard procedures on the engagement of ‘suspects’. And as far as I am aware justified entrapment even of a criminal operation and killing is not one of them. The acting Commissioner alluded to the melodramatic “warns of possible retribution unless escaped accomplice captured” so, is this Rambo? The reference is to the fictional movie character because it cannot be the Fine Man gang; they’re in jail or dead. If this escaped accomplice exists, place a wanted bulletin in the media as procedure dictates. The question here is not the guilt or innocence of the three dead men. The ignorant machismo Facebook display by any suspect affords the creation of a profile, but does not provide the impetus for killing. There is an old police way of analyzing, as captured in the letter by ASP Clinton Conway (ret’d) who referred to police deaths during the years 2002-2008,  but there is a dossier of unexplained police executions preceding that period, called extrajudicial killings. There were groups recognized by organisations like Amnesty International, and led by the Quick-Reaction Group followed by the Target Squad, and then the drug cartel phantom groups that the then GPF accommodated, and even before them, when the media carried the ‘stock explanation’: “He attacked the police with a cutlass.”

‘We’ in the media and the GPF owe this country a sane way forward, not a stagnant counterproductive method that will be tested in this, a different age. The potential for losing control lies with compromises of standard procedure, especially where human lives are concerned. Errors will be exposed like the misrepresentation about Assanah’s criminal record. One misrepresentation leads to another, and it is not with arrogance that Mr Ramnarine must proceed, but with confident professionalism.

I want to conclude by referring to a conversation I recently had with a senior officer when I outlined my concern based on evidence of the effects of questionable killings by ranks on policemen. I refer to a late friend, Sgt Brian Cummings, who was part of one such squad. I spoke to him in the months before he died; he had become an alcoholic, and confessed that he couldn’t sleep, events and faces kept recurring; he was not the only one. The last time we spoke was on the Veeran Veerapen killing. Pen was a media colleague, and his death was staged to look like a suicide. Brian told me, “tell me what you’ve found out, you’ll be protected.” There was a witness, and what she relayed to me involved a member of the Target squad. When I explained to him, the most we did was look at each other and remain silent. This current matter and its unexplained elements will not go away. If this is what the acting Commissioner brings to the table, then he is found wanting; it is not citizens alone he is accountable to, but the minds and mental welfare of policemen, and above all the Laws of Guyana. There are precedents, scenarios and information, vetted and known also by the media that we want to remain in the past. This time of 2018 must continue towards a better day.

Yours faithfully,

Barrington Braithwaite

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