Police shaking down foreigners travelling on Lethem Road

Dear Editor,

As a Christian, my mission is to do everything I can to live out these Scriptures as a lifestyle and to challenge others in the body of Christ, the citizenry and the Guyana Police Force, the Government of Guyana to put them into practice as well. 

Editor, therefore I’m appealing to the Commissioner of Police to do something to put a stop to the police officers shaking down foreigners travelling on the Lethem Road.

I want to share with you one example of foreigners being exploited by the Guyana Police Force on the Lethem Road.

Here is the example. A couple of months ago, I was on a bus going to Lethem. On the bus were two Cubans going to Brazil. At the first Guyana Police Force immigration checkpoint, the female Cuban passenger was grilled for up to an hour by the police.

The interviewed ended after our bus driver intervened by begging the female police officer in charge to let the passenger go. The passenger allegedly paid the police officer $150 US.

Later, the bus driver explained to me that the foreigners are supposed to give the driver the money, and the driver gives the police the money so that the foreigners would not have to pay so much and the police don’t have to harass them.

I asked him if he had informed the foreigner passengers about it and he said the foreigners don’t want to pay any money. So they end up paying more by not giving the driver the money.

Editor, what’s sickening is that the driver doesn’t see anything wrong with what the police are doing to the foreigners. The Commissioner of Police needs to make an example of these police officers by sending someone undercover to catch the police officers shaking down the foreigners and jail them.

When the passenger returned to the bus, she was distraught, in tears and kept talking about the police officer’s treatment of her over and over again. Unfortunately, Editor, her trials and tribulations were not over. Not long after, the bus arrived at a second police department checkpoint on the road to Lethem and to my and other passengers’ surprise, the same treatment was dished out by the police officers, this time, the officer in charge was a male police officer.

Again, after the long delay, the bus driver intervened and the matter was resolved by the passenger paying a whopping $100 US. Again, after returning to the bus, the passenger continued crying and complaining about her mistreatment. I remember her saying that the Guyana Police liked a lot of money.

Editor, at the last checkpoint before arriving in Lethem, l was so angry with the police so I came up with a plan to go into the police station with the passenger and secretly record the police officers mistreating the passenger.

However, I was unable to because the police told me to leave the station. Again, the bus driver and the other passengers waited while the police officers interviewed her. This time she paid only $75 US because the bus driver explained to the police that she had already paid $250 US. Again, the passenger cried and complained. As in Guyana, in Cuba, $325 US is a lot of money for a poor woman.

Do the police officers at these checkpoints have no shame?

Yours faithfully,

Anthony Pantlitz 


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