Arrest of 12-yr-old sparks protest at Vreed-en-Hoop Station
- Pouderoyen residents make police harassment, curfew claims
By Zena Henry
Police tactics and behaviour towards the country’s citizens, including the unexplained arrest of a 12-year-old boy, was the basis for a protest led by A Partnership for National Unity (APNU) in Vreed –en-Hoop early yesterday morning.
A crowd of at least 50 persons, led by the opposition alliance’s point man on Public Works, Joseph Harmon, used their voices and placards to demonstrate and vent their frustrations against what they claim is police brutality, provocation and disregard for citizens.
APNU members and concerned persons said there demonstration was a means of signaling to Commissioner of Police (ag) Leroy Brumell and President Donald Ramotar, that there is a need for reform in the Guyana Police Force.
Harmon told Kaieteur News that currently residents in Middle Street, Pouderoyen, West Bank Demerara, are experiencing great difficulty with a particular policeman who has “taken the law into his own hands” and thus sparked the protest that encompassed varying issues involving the police force.
Harmon explained that police provocation has gone so far that a 12-year-old boy had a policeman place a gun in his face before saying that the child was wanted at the station, declining to tell the child’s relatives what he had done.
“A 12-year-old child was arrested by police and taken to the Station, while his relatives were not told what the child had done. This is just one of several incidents that have been taking place in Middle Street , Pouderoyen, all having to do with a police officer Cadet (name provided) who has taken the law into his own hands and is terrorizing the citizens of that street,” Harmon said.
“We need to remind the police that their job is to serve and protect, not to shoot and provoke. Citizens are not prepared to accept the police behaving in any other way than they are supposed to, and are thus sending a message to the President, Commissioner and the Commander responsible for the area.”
“The president is the president of all of Guyana and when any life is snuffed out in an unnatural way, it requires condemnation. After the investigation when it can be determined who did it and so on, until then, we must speak out against these things or else we become a society of dumb people,” Harmon stressed.
One protestor who said that her 12-year-old grandson was detained by the police, claimed that a particular policeman (name given) is terrorizing and provoking the people of Pouderoyen. She, along with others, claimed that the officer implemented a “curfew” in the community, ordering and arresting persons who are on the streets at certain hours.
The woman said she was “preparing to watch the 6:00 o’clock news” on Monday when she was alerted by her grandchildren to come into the yard. She alleged that the named police rank was standing over her grandson with a gun pointed in his face while he held on to the child’s hand saying that, “this man is wanted at the police station for questioning.”
The woman alleged that the policeman threatened to shoot or arrest her when she declined to let him take the child away, since the rank refused to tell her what the boy had done. It was not until a lawyer who lived next door came by and quelled the situation that the officer let go of her grandson’s hand. The grandmother also claimed that the said officer showed her his stripes on his uniform and told her he could do as he pleases.
A 26-year-old man from Crane, West Bank Demerara, said he was detained for three days and then placed on $10,000 bail because he was going to a shop to buy something at around 20:00 hours. The man alleged that no one is allowed to leave their homes.
“When is like coming on to 8 o’clock nobody can’t come out. Dem locking you up even if yuh get yuh money fuh show dem that yuh going in de shop. Dem locking you up and telling yuh yuh committing robbery and yuh get guns and ammunition.”
The man claimed that he was placed on $10,000 bail for loitering despite explaining to the police that he was going to the shop.