Dec 19, 2011 News
– dubs them “utter nonsense”
Former Commissioner of Police Winston Felix who is set to be entering the National Assembly for the first time as a parliamentarian says that the recent explanations by Commissioner of Police Henry Greene about the shooting by police ranks of civilian protesters is “utter nonsense.”
Felix, in a recent interview with this newspaper, says that Greene who has now stepped down to facilitate a rape investigation but was still at the helm of the force at the time of the shooting was trained as he was “to use minimum force.”
The condemnation of Greene’s statements stems from their reactions to a post election street march by the youth arm of A Partnership for National Unity which ended in the Police Riot Squad shooting at least a dozen of the protesters with rubber pellets.
Among those wounded were former Guyana Defence Force Brigadier General (rtd) Edward Collins, Attorney-at-Law James Bond and Former Member of Parliament Joan Bhaveghems among others.
Felix told this publication that when referring to the “use of minimum force” it is in reference to the degree of force necessary to deal “effectively with the instant situation.”
He stressed that the protesters/demonstrators were all unarmed hence there was no need for the use of firearms on the part of the police.
“They ought to have been warned and every effort made to arrest them…that is Standard Procedure,” he charged.
The Former Commissioner of Police drew reference to the Soviet Union/Russia where there were recent elections and a similar reaction to the results declared there, where persons took to the streets to demonstrate.
“After an election just like ours, there were allegations of rigging just like us, there were protests just like us.”
Felix said that the world witnessed on television the protests and how the police there dealt with the demonstrations.
“We saw policemen battling with the unarmed crowd, not shooting them, not even tear-smoke…and that is the practice we expect from our police.”
Felix posited that this is the kind of practice that is expected of the Guyana Police Force adding that in the present day situations, “they are too quick to shoot…I think they are too quick now to shoot without recognizing that they are not an army in occupation.”
The retired Police Commissioner explained that an “army in occupation” would shoot while in another person’s country and then return to where they came from.
“We as members of the force must consider that we remain here with our people and as such we must at all times seek to respond to the evidence of disorder by taking the prescribed steps.”
In validating his position that the explanations of both Greene and Rohee are “utter nonsense,” Felix told this publication that the Commissioner cannot give a commander of a Riot Squad in a situation of public disorder “the responsibility of quelling that disorder without the requisite authority.”
Felix explained that if the Riot Squad Unit were to come under attack while seeking to quell an instance of public disorder by possibly a hail of missiles emanating from various sources, “he must have the facility through his instructions and training for when to use various levels of force.”
The Former Police Commissioner says that the Commander of that Riot Squad must not be left in a position while under attack to be calling his Commissioner or Superior Commander “to find out what force to use and if he should shoot or not shoot.”
Felix repeated his condemnations of the Home Affairs Minister and Greene’s comment as “utter nonsense” while also repeating that “we were all trained…the Commissioner, myself and others, to use force in a graduated way.”
He did concede that there is room in place to skip steps in the use of incremental force “if the situation so requires.”
Felix also reiterated that the Commander on the ground must have the requisite authority “to use that level of force which in his view is adequate to deal with that situation.”
Following the shooting incident, Rohee had laid the blame with the Guyana Police Force for what he described as the inexplicable and unacceptable shooting of protesters in the back last Tuesday.
The Minister had conveyed his displeasure at the actions of the police during a subsequent meeting with Commissioner of Police, Henry Greene; Assistant Commissioner, George Vyphius, Commander “A” Division; Senior Superintendent Linden Alves, 2nd in command of “A” Division; Superintendent Errol Watts 3rd in command of the same division; Senior Superintendent Clifton Hicken, officer in charge of the Tactical Services Unit and Assistant Superintendent Patrick Todd, Unit Commander.
Following that meeting it was deemed that a Junior Officer was to blame for giving the command to open fire.
The Minister had said that the actions of the police were another manifestation of bad judgment by the ranks on the ground and must never be repeated.
The Guyana Police Force had also expressed some remorse for the injuries sustained but maintained that the Force’s intention is always to maintain law and order.
“Our actions are usually in the interest of the maintenance of law and order and in support of the safety, security and well-being of all Guyanese,” the police said in its statement.
Oct 28, 2021Kaieteur News – Gary Ragnauth hit an attractive 64 to spur Caribbean Sports Club to comfortable 30-run win over Sunrisers last Sunday at Cullen Beach where action continued in the inaugural...
Kaieteur News -I thought that David Granger was strategising by not announcing his candidacy then doing it at the last moment.... more
By Sir Ronald Sanders Kaieteur News – It is nothing short of shocking to learn that, despite the fact that the world... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, 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]