Monday, October 8, 2012

Guyana in desperate need of police reform

It is with great consternation and resentment that I pen this letter condemning the obvious disregard for human life by the Guyana Police Force (GPF). The reckless actions of the ranks on the evening of October 5, who wantonly fired into the Friday night liming crowd in the vicinity of the White Castle Fish Shop leaving an innocent bystander dead, further reveals the urgent need for significant police reform. To have this kind of irresponsible policing will only further erode any little confidence in the GPF that Guyanese might have left. Together, Guyanese must vociferously condemn the GPF for their actions last Friday night.

Why are some members of the GPF so eager to use deadly force? Moreover, why shoot live ammunition into a crowd of persons who are liming, listening to music and drinking? This kind of recklessness cannot continue unabated. It is time for the GPF to take a long hard look at its procedures and its operations tactics and re-evaluate its efficiency and effectiveness. There should absolutely be no way for a trained policeman to shoot live ammunition into a crowd of unarmed civilians. 

The irony is that this most recent brutal attack on citizens by a section of the GPF occurred as the Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the shooting to death of three protesters at Linden is being completed. Policemen fire into a crowd of limers last Friday night, about a month after three policemen executed a lad from Agricola. And just like Shaquille Grant of Agricola, Dameon was killed one day before his birthday. It seems as if there are sections of the GPF that are out of control.
I urge those responsible for the management of GPF to seek help in facilitating its much needed reform. They must seek out world-class agencies that can strategically engage the GPF in transforming it from the reckless killing machine it is, to one that demonstrates that it understands its motto: “Service and Protection”.  

To the family and friends of Dameon Belgrave, I extend my heartfelt condolences.

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