Apr 30, 2013 News Comments Off on Solving cop’s murder is a stern test for police investigators
By Dale Andrews
The murder of Corporal Romain Cleto will certainly test the ability of the Guyana Police Force to finally crack a high-profile killing that has taken place in the city.
Over the past year or so, the Guyana Police Force has been coming up blank when it comes to solving similar type killings, although they have occurred in the public domain.
And although they have the services of Closed Circuit Television cameras and countless armed mobile patrols, they continue to be embarrassed, with carloads of gunmen vanishing into thin air.
Corporal Cleto was gunned down on Saturday night by the occupants of a suspicious car that he was approaching at the busy Regent Street and Avenue of the Republic junction.
Two of his colleagues were also injured in the attack.
Now all eyes are on the crime sleuths in the force to bring to justice those responsible for the brazen slaughter of one of their own.
Police have detained several persons, but although there are reports that among those arrested are prime suspects, there is the strong possibility that they may not have enough evidence to ensure that justice is served.
And with several senior officers making some very interesting utterances, this case has all the markings of those that preceded it.
It is no secret that Corporal Cleto and his colleagues on the patrol made some mistakes when they tried to apprehend the suspects whom they had trailed through a section of the busy Stabroek area.
“Although they were highly suspicious of the men in the suspicious car, they did not alert other patrols, they did not call for back-up. They decided to do it alone. They threw all the training through the window,” a patrol colleague of the dead cop told this newspaper last night.
Nevertheless, he said, despite the fact that the actions of Cleto and his colleagues have raised serious questions about their adherence to the Force’s standard operating procedure, the Corporal’s death and other aspects of the organisation’s operations as a whole should also be examined.
According to a former senior police officer who has vast experience in tactical operations, the force did not do enough to track down the killers immediately after the shooting.
“Normally when something like this happens, the police operations room contacts all the patrols to lock off the city. That is a special drill – a standard operations procedure. Was this done? I don’t think so,” the former officer stated.
A check of the surveillance cameras in the area revealed no solid clue about the shooting.
There has been no reported sighting of the car used by the gunmen.
“The police are not doing enough or they don’t know what to do. This is a test of the ability of the Guyana Police Force,” the former cop declared.
Saturday’s killing raises concern that a high level criminal gang is roaming the city. This is despite Commissioner of Police (ag) Leroy Brumell boasting that the force had dismantled criminal gangs.
Brumell’s assertion surprised many since it was made at a time when there were several execution-style killings in the city (by individuals who many described as expert gunmen armed with AK-47 assault rifles), none of which have been solved.
Meanwhile, the deafening silence of those expected to condemn the killing is not going unnoticed.
So far there has been no public condemnation of Cleto’s killing.
“In previous years the Police Officers’ Association and the Police Association would have been issuing statements,” a serving senior officer told this newspaper.
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