Linden Inquiry …Detective testifies not seeing protestors throw objects at police
- mentions power outage
By Latoya Giles
Detective Constable Jermaine Tucker has testified that he saw none of the protestors throwing any objects at the police while being on the bridge, and also that minutes before the shooting there was a power outage in the area.
This is the first police rank to speak about a “blackout” occurring before the shooting and also that the protestors were not throwing any objects.
Tucker was the last witness called yesterday as the Commission took a one-week break.
The police officer in his testimony said that he is stationed at the Mackenzie Police Station, and attached to the Criminal Investigation Department as a photographer.
According to Tucker, he was tasked with taking photos of the protest. The Detective Constable told the commission that on July 18, he went to Christianburg which was the starting point. The officer said that persons were chanting and singing. The witness stated that he observed several other police officers. Tucker said that he took pictures of the crowd and then moved away.
He recounted that he saw several objects being placed on the bridge.
“I saw a latrine and stove on the bridge.” The man further told the Commission that around 15:45hrs on July 18, it began to rain, forcing a few protestors who were on the bridge to seek cover. He said that some of them returned and he tried to take photos of that development, but some of them approached him and requested that he not do so.
The officer said he later went to the Linmine compound after there was a fire. He again noted that he was taking photos. Tucker testified that it was around 18:05hrs when the electricity went off, and that it was while the lights were off that he heard some explosions. A number of the photos which were taken by Tucker were tendered into evidence yesterday.
Meanwhile ASP Walter Stanton continued his testimony from the previous day. According to Stanton, the request from Regional Chairman Sharma Solomon to keep the march was the first one he received.
Stanton said that he was only in the mining town just nine days and the July 18 protest march was his first official exercise. He admitted under cross examination by Basil Williams that he knew that the march would have been a five-day protest .He told the Commission that he saw that some 30 – 40 ranks were there during the protest, but just eight were under his direct command. He could not say if the ranks present were ever issued with weapons. A request was made to the officer to have the names of the ranks who were present.
He told the Commission that he had a weapon which was assigned to him and he would keep that weapon and uplift ammunition from the Tactical Services Unit in Georgetown. According to Stanton, his ranks were patrolling the bridge.
Yesterday’s sessions followed those of Thursday when the phone records between Senior Superintendent Clifton Hicken and Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee, which were requested by the Commission, had showed that the senior officer and the Minister had made contact six times after the shooting had occurred.
Hicken had earlier testified that he never had any communication with the Minister.
Attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes presented the documents to the Commissioners with assistance of representatives from both Digicel and the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T). The officials had been summoned to give evidence.