…PPP apologises hours after
Following a recent statement by Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee, who is also General
Secretary of the PPP, labeling Shaquille Grant, the Agricola youth, who was killed in 2012, as a criminal, his mother Shonette Adams and Political and Social activist Mark Benschop has lashed out, rebutting the allegations.
Police Constable, Terrence Wallace was one of three charged for the murder of Shaquille Grant. He was committed to stand trial in the High Court. The remanded prisoner is jointly accused with Corporal Warren Blue and Special Constable Jamal Lewis for murdering Grant on September 11, 2012, but the two other policemen never made a court appearance and arrest warrants are still out for them.
It is alleged that the deceased and several other boys were sitting under a shed in a yard at Caesar Street, Agricola, when three uniformed police ranks shot Grant and also injured 20-year-old Romel Bollers.
At a press conference yesterday at Benschop’s East Street, Georgetown office, Benschop stated that “17-year-old Shaquille Grant was never convicted of any crime, he was not known to the police as a terrorist, as any major drug dealer, or a money launderer… nothing at all. On that day, he was shot and killed, the police had no reason to have done that and what the PPP wants to do, through its General Secretary, is to paint that youngster as a criminal and so it was justifiable that he was killed.”
Benschop said, since Grant cannot speak for himself, his mother will have to defend his character.
“Mr. Rohee and the PPP need to offer an immediate apology to the family… Minister Rohee didn’t know Grant was a criminal when he met with Shaquille Grant and issued him with a certificate, when he shook Shaquille Grant’s hand and hugged him… Government has to stop this nonsense where every black youth that is being slaughtered by the police force is justifiable… And to say to members of the public and their supporters that we had to kill a black youth because he was a criminal… The rude awakening is that all Guyanese, including the majority of their supporters have opened their eyes to understand the race card the government is playing.” Benschop said.
He continued: “Can we go back to the days when Rohee was collecting tickets at Metropole Cinema and when he was supposedly locked up for stealing stuff and then want to years after say he was a political prisoner? Rohee was never a political prisoner; he was involved in all sort of questionable activities. Should we now look at Rohee and say you’re a criminal?”
According to Grant’s mother, in 2012 when her son was killed, Minister Rohee had related to her that he would do all in his power to bring the perpetrators to justice.
She explained that her son was never part of anything criminal since he was a footballer, who was attached to the Rhythm Squad team, and a dancer who performed at church and other events. “My son was never known as a criminal; he was never convicted of anything and was never part of anything illegal.”
The mother further emphasised, “Minster Rohee and the PPP should do everything in their power to bring in the other policemen Warren Blue and Jamal Lewis, instead of trying to smear my son’s name and drag it through the mud and gutter. Who are they trying to convince that this child was a criminal? He was never known as a criminal.” She lamented. “The government has no power, the power comes from the creator and in my view their power has already been taken from them….As soon as some youth get gunned down in the street they pull up Shaquille’s name. What about all these Ministers who have been fingered in wrong doing and connected with all these drug dealers?”
Recently, Minister Rohee in his capacity as PPP General Secretary issued a press statement in which he alleged that the opposition has links with criminal elements in Agricola and used the A Partnership for National Unity’s past (APNU) relationship with Shaquille Grant as an example.
Meanwhile, last evening, hours after Grant’s mother went public with her demand, the People’s Progressive Party (PPP), in a public statement, said that it has noted the call for an apology “concerning a statement issued in the name of the Party in which Shaquelle Grant was wrongly deemed a “criminal”.”
The party said a clarification was sought at the Weekly Press Conference where the General Secretary, in response, had promised to ascertain the veracity of the contents of the statement.
“The Party has since done so and has determined that there is no justification in describing Shaquelle Grant as a criminal.”
“In the circumstances, the Party offers an unequivocal apology to the mother of Shaquelle Grant for this unfounded assertion and for any hurt and harm caused” the statement said.
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