Many of my friends and acquaintances have called to inquire about the incident Freddie Kissoon has repeatedly mentioned over the last few years on my commitment to raise public awareness on extra-judicial killings by the security forces, in his Kaieteur News column, the latest on January, 12.
I think that there should be some clarification on what transpired back then in 1990. The central figure in that tragedy was Michael Jules, aka ‘Porridge Man,’ who was a marijuana trafficker residing in Ras Ville. Some time before this incident, ‘Porridge Man’ had escaped from a police patrol while in custody.
I should include that he had fathered children with my cousin; we had known each other and were friends for years, but had developed a coldness as a result of my taking obvious sides in a family dispute between the couple.
The incident, as it was related to me hours after it occurred, is as follows:
‘Porridge Man’ was at his Ras Ville residence with the mother of his children when the four policemen, led by Leon Fraser, crept up to the residence. They then apprehended both ‘Porridge Man’ and his reputed wife at the entrance of the small cottage he had built.
At gun point, Leon Fraser took them back into the house on the pretext of conducting a search. Michael `Porridge Man’ knelt to carry out Fraser’s order to open the travelling bags visible under the bed. His wife said that a transparent plastic bag that contained money, jewelry and ganja was exposed while emptying the bag.
Fraser immediately demanded it, but Michael hesitated. Cusbert Jeffrey, another policeman well known to ‘Porridge Man’ and my relatives, shouted to Fraser, “E’S a soldier, ‘e gon try something. Shot ‘e!” and Fraser shot Michael Jules behind the head and took the money. His wife was wearing gold jingles, and they were taken off her hands by another member of the gang of four, as was a chain that belonged to one of the children.
She was taken to Eve Leary and held in custody. I was living on Lamaha Street at that time. I received a phone call from my aunt, telling me that my cousin was in custody at the Quick Reaction Group base, to which I responded by going there.
I met a member of that squad whom I did not know was part of the ‘Four’ at the time. I knew this policeman and his entire family well, so I told him why I was there. He responded by mumbling something about how ‘Porridge Man’ had a gun and had fired at them.
I was taken aback, I was suspicious, not completely brainwashed by the ‘B.S’ that the GPF was telling the public then, but my immediate concern was primarily to get my cousin released, as this policeman told me that they had found nothing incriminating on the premises.
He brought Leon Fraser to me. Fraser was not hostile, but he was agitated. However, he promised her immediate release. At that moment, my relatives from West Ruimveldt arrived. I departed for Chronicle, where I had a contract, as my relatives would wait for my cousin. Hours later, I heard the gruesome details I detailed above.
For those who today think that this was a fabrication, after hearing my cousin’s story, I returned to the Chronicle, discussed the details with the Sunday Editor and other colleagues, and the above narrative was documented into several copies, and I immediately gave a copy to The Editor, Mr. Adam Harris.
Adam sent a copy to the then Commissioner, Mr. Raghubir, and a copy to the then Office of the President, after he had interviewed my cousin. I knew this was done because the policeman I knew well saw me early the following day at Bourda Market and told me that, after all he had done to get my cousin released, I was now trying to get them fired and he had a family.
I reminded him that he had just left five juvenile members of my family without a father. I told him that if he had told me what he had done, I would have told him to expect my ingratitude upfront. He informed me that ‘Porridge Man’ should’ve paid Fraser his dues, like every one else.
I also learnt that it was two ‘Tiger Bay’ New Market Street ganja sellers who were, earlier that week, arrested who had complained about being shaken down and why ‘Porridge Man’ was paying nothing. Fraser took the gold band that ‘Porridge Man’ had to an Alexander Village gold smith.
I approached him and he told me to get off of his premises. I did eventually see that family pay their due… I was sent to the Police Complaints Authority to speak to Retired Judge Fung-a-Fat; I took my cousin.
I also went to the Office of the President, where I was given the runaround by a particular official, until a female employee pointed me to an office of President Desmond Hoyte across the road. There, I presented a document to a secretary, and was invited in for a discussion.
I was told that my cousin was the only legitimate witness and I should follow the procedure of the Police Complaints Authority and I would receive legal closure to this matter. The then Crime Chief, Mr. Chester, conducted the investigation, visiting Ras Ville etc. I was reliably told that he had recommended that Fraser’s approach to policing bordered on the criminal.
It was during this part of the process that I met Freddie, whom I knew well, and told him about the incident. He made some political suggestions. I can remember telling him that let’s see what happens with what I was doing then.
I, however, to my memory, did not mention my conversation with President Hoyte. But I was eager to try Freddie’s suggestions if the system failed. During this time, I would get a regular ‘Protection Pass’ of my residence by the Q.R.G. and get some unfriendly screw faces.
So, when Freddie came to my home and was asked by my wife “if he wanted to get me killed”, she already knew of our conversation and had her fears, because I was doing this on my own at that time. The case was never made, because my cousin left the country illegally and was later legalized in another country, and has never returned.
The difference with the system then to what came later under the PPP/C was that, within a year of that incident, all of the guilty four were out of the GPF, along with others.
The PPP never responded to public outcries. In fact, they recruited the misfits and rewarded them. That is why today, 2009, I stand disgusted to see some of these officers being rewarded.
The murder of Shaka Blair and others, the Quick Reaction Group and the politicized Target Group were ugly aberrations, creatures unleashed by lazy, and with the latter, sinister authorities.
The current methods of imported ‘Belfast type’ torture are also short cuts to substituting the use of the intellect; and coupled with questionable, dishonest procedures for instituting charges and remanding citizens, continue with the Lindo Creek killings in mind, the credibility of justice administered under this political authority has erased public confidence.
My friend Freddie can also recall that I told him some days after the 1992 Elections, I did predict that the PPP would ruin Guyana, against his then beliefs.
I provided the social anthropological and political philosophical reasons why they would bring Guyana to the deplorable state it is in today. I must credit Freddie, through our discussions back then, for being one of the persons who motivated my serious attention to researching local politics, a side interest I have never regretted.
Through a friend back then who repaired my bicycle, ‘Dougla’ in Alexander Street, I was urged to meet Leon Fraser. He did show me a memo with names on it, and a few underlined with red ink. Those he indicated were to die. And he told me about a case where they had brought in two suspects and a one-time Commissioner of Police asked them why he had brought them in.
In his words, he was told, “They are disposable.” They took them on the seawalls further up towards the Jetty and executed them. I asked him why he did it. He never replied. And this is only the tip of the iceberg.
From what I’ve learnt later about the disturbed personalities, lack of apathy and intelligence, and troubled backgrounds of members of those police groups, I can only summarize that the system had captured troubled, imbalanced personalities and created soulless mass murderers of them.
Jun 04, 2020Archery Guyana proudly fielded two archers for the 60X ISOL Remote Shoot Competition held on 31st May, 2020. This was the ninth stage of this novel Virtual Competition where approximately 100 archers...
Jun 04, 2020
Jun 04, 2020
Jun 03, 2020
Jun 03, 2020
Jun 03, 2020
Editor’s Note, If your sent letter was not published and you felt its contents were valid and devoid of libel or personal attacks, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]