Shockwaves rippled through the city yesterday following the news that the Chief Security Officer of the Guyana Power and Light, Clifford Malvin Peters was shot dead by gunmen while removing illegal electrical connections with a crew from the company in Lamaha Park.
Peters, 59, a retired Senior Superintendent of Police, was shot several times in his head and chest and died en route to the hospital close to midday.
The gunmen who fled into a bushy area aback of Lamaha Park, called Plum Park, took his licenced firearm.
At the time of the incident, Peters and three other employees of the GPL Loss Reduction Field Service team were in the area removing illegal connections.
While there is speculation that the gunmen had targeted Peters for the jewellery he normally wears, family members and GPL officials are almost convinced that he was killed because of the work he was doing.
Recalling the incident, one of the employees who witnessed the incident from the GPL vehicle that was parked some distance away, told the media that a technician had already disconnected several wires from a GPL pole and they were gathering them together when the gunmen struck.
Peters and another employee, Allan Savory, were standing near the pole when two men approached them.
One of the men ordered Savory to the ground while his accomplice confronted the burly Peters.
“… I see Savory lying down. He collar Mr. Peters and the two ah dem struggling…Mr. Peters struggling going back. Now the next thing I know I see Mr. Peters, like he foot go in one of them cow hole and he fell. The one who was standing over Savory turn and went to the assistance of the other one. From the time he go deh, I hear three shots,” the employee said.
He said that Savory then took the opportunity to run away.
“I was going in they direction but at the same time the guy point the gun at me and I turn and go back the vehicle,” the employee said.
He said that the men appeared to be struggling to get the gold rings from Peters’ fingers but encountered difficulties and eventually fled, firing several shots to ward off any attempt to pursue them.
Peters was picked up and taken to the nearby Davis Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
A women who lives nearby, said that she heard the gunshots and upon peering out saw Savory running towards her yard.
She said that he related that there was some shooting and she immediately contacted the police.
From all indications, the men were monitoring the movements of the GPL crew since they appeared to know exactly where they would stop to execute their duties.
Another resident of the area related that before the GPL crew arrived, the two gunmen were with two other persons sitting under a tree a short distance from where the disconnection took place.
“Is four ah dem but two ah dem go to de man. They come and ask a girl fuh water and by the time she go in fuh de water, we hear de bullets start firing,” the resident said.
The woman said that the men are not from the Lamaha Park area.
A tearful Eileen Peters broke down at the Lyken Funeral Home where the body was subsequently taken.
The dead man’s wife, who is a nurse at a city hospital, told reporters who had gone to her home in the wake of her husband’s death that the killing was the last thing that she expected to experience at this time.
She said that her sister-in-law telephoned her and enquired if she had heard anything about her husband.
According to Mrs. Peters, the relative told her that her husband was shot but at that time she never suspected that he was dead.
“I was saying well if he got shot, probably it was in his legs to injure him but not serious,” Mrs. Peters said.
Eventually, her worst fears were confirmed when her son-in-law informed her that her husband was dead.
“When I taking my lunch at midday, to get a message like that?
She said that she had always been fearful for her husband whose job entailed encounters with hostile persons from time to time.
Mrs. Peters explained that she sometimes enquired from her husband if he normally worked alone with the disconnection crew and he would assure her that other security personnel would accompany him.
“He would say, ‘Me, as an old policemen? I take back up’. He will carry ex-policemen with him when they are carrying out raids. But today with what I learnt, he went down there and there was nobody to go with him and he took it on his own and went with the crew,” Mrs. Peters explained.
“He told me that when people are aggressive when they are carrying out their work he would tell his guys to leave the area,” she added.
According to Mrs. Peters her husband was always doing his job even when he was not officially on duty.
She explained that last on Sunday he had passed the area where he was shot and after observing some illegal connections he had pointed out to her that he would have to do some work there.
GPL’s Senior Director of Finance, Ash Deonarine, described Peters’ killing as a despicable act of the lowest nature. He said that Peters was carrying out his duty, helping to reduce the company losses, for everybody’s benefit.
“We condemn this act to the strongest possible point. I want to say that the company will stand behind this and will not let his death go in vain and will put every cent and whatever it costs to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
He said that he expects that in the short term the staff of the Loss Reduction Unit will certainly be apprehensive in carrying out their duties.
“But I guess after they recuperate and we rethink strategies going forward, we’ll fight it even harder so that Mr. Peters’ death does not go down in vain,” the GPL Finance Director said.
Last Thursday at a press conference led by Prime Minister Samuel Hinds, the issue of electricity theft was highlighted.
At that press conference, GPL Chairman, Winston Brassington, reported that for last year more than 23,000 illegal connections were identified and removed by the GPL Loss reduction crew during raids.
A release from the power company said that during the same period more than 370 raids were carried out.
It said that yesterday’s raid during which Peters was killed in the line of duty, was one of the many raids he led.
Investigators have questioned several persons in connection with the murder but no arrests have been made so far.
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