Jan 30, 2017 News
– Situation ‘of grave concern,’ – Crime Chief Blanhum
“It is clear that some of these policemen have turned to a life of crime, and have sought to utilize their specialized training… to aid them in their criminal activities…” Blanhum
By Michael Jordan
The Guyana Police Force is taking “immediate steps” to monitor the activities of some of its former members, amid concern over the growing number of ex-cops who are being implicated in serious crimes, Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum revealed yesterday.
“The recent arrest of three ex-GPF members, who were allegedly found with a high powered rifle, handgun and ammunition, and were placed before the court, is a trend that is of grave concern to the Guyana Police Force,” Blanhum told Kaieteur News.
“This trend has been recognised also, with the arrest of several other ex-GPF members in relation to some high–profile crimes. These ex-policemen who have been arrested have either been dismissed from the Force for corrupt transactions, breach of the Police Standing Orders, or withdrew their services from the Force.
“It is clear that some of these policemen have turned to a life of crime and have sought to utilize their specialized training in firearms, and their familiarity with the GPF’s Standard and training on what action would draw suspicion of ranks of the Force, to aid them in their criminal activities.
“They are also utilizing their knowledge of what clues and pieces of evidence investigators look for at crime scenes to effect serious crimes without being detected,” he added.
“As such, the Guyana Police Force, after careful consideration, has taken the decision to immediately commence monitoring the movements of specific ex-GPF members who have been linked to serious criminal activities.”
Blanhum’s revelation comes just days after three former police ranks were arrested following the discovery of an assault rifle, a handgun and ammunition at a house in the city.
One of the ex-policemen was charged and later freed, in connection with two murders. He was also questioned about two execution-style killings during the crime wave. Another was previously charged in connection with gun related robberies on individuals who were coming from the Cheddi Jagan International Airport.
It was particularly during the 2002 to 2008 ‘crime wave’ period that the names of several former police ranks were linked to death squads and the narco trade.
At present, a number of former members of the Force are before the court for various offences, ranging from narcotics trafficking, unlawful possession of arms and ammunition, to murder.
Last November, former Police Sergeant, Colin Bailey, was committed to stand trial for allegedly murdering his reputed wife, Sirmattie Ramnaress.
It is alleged that Bailey and Colin Grant killed Ramnaress between August 30 and August 31, 2013 at Diamond Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara.
Other ex-policemen who have been implicated in criminal activities include former Police Anti-Narcotics branch rank, Ian Michael Johnson, recently jailed for seven years on two counts of possession of Narcotics for the purpose of trafficking; Constables Bharat Shattapaul and Delroy Fraser, charged with drug trafficking.
On August 8, 2016, five policemen accused of robbing three gold miners of 15 pennyweights of gold while on patrol, were ordered to post $600,000 bail each and report to the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Headquarters, Eve Leary, Georgetown; Constable Kosi Arthur, 25, of Linden, Region 10; Constable Raphael Lowenfield, 25, of Lot 486 Section ‘D’ Block ‘X’ Diamond, Housing Scheme, East Bank Demerara; Lance Corporal Mark Fernandes, 34, of Annandale, Railway Embankment, East Coast Demerara; Constable Delroy Duncan of Lot 71 Sisters Village, West Bank Demerara; and Constable Akeem Thompson, 21, of Lot 65 Bel Air Village, Georgetown; were all arraigned before City Magistrate Judy Latchman.
It is alleged that on July 25, last, at Timehri, East Bank Demerara, they robbed Sherman Noel of five pennyweights of raw gold. It is also alleged that on July 25, at the same location, they robbed Heeralall Girdhari of four pennyweights of raw gold. They are also accused of robbing Euri Samuels of six pennyweights of raw gold.
The lawmen were each instructed to post $200,000 bail on each count.
The complainants were robbed at around 14:20hrs on the day in question at Army Base Camp Stephenson,
Just last week, Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo lauded the Guyana Police Force for moving away from the “past lawlessness and excesses,” in less than two years.
Addressing members of the Force at the opening of the Police Officers’ Conference, Nagamootoo had said that, under the new government, “Guyana has no death squads, no extra-judicial killings, no electronic support architecture for the criminal enterprise, and no agreement with the narco-syndicate to be an auxiliary of the national security apparatus”.
“It seems, not so long ago, that we experienced the gruesome episodes of torture, executions, and use of excessive force, which had impugned the professionalism of the Guyana Police Force.
That you have distanced yourself from the contamination of past lawlessness and excesses, in less than two years, must be justification to say, ‘well done, you could do better’, and better you did”.
Between January 1 and September 30, 2016, the Police Complaints Authority received 145 complaints about alleged police misconduct. Of this number, 135 have been closed. The others are pending.
The complaints included three corrupt transactions, nine unlawful arrests, two unlawful Seizure of property, nine acting in a manner likely to bring discredit on the reputation of the Force, four assault, two demanding money to prevent prosecution, six wanting in civility to members of the public, eight police misconduct, 10 abuse of power, two threats, 10 police harassment, one for conducting himself in an oppressive manner, one use of more force than necessary, and one of abuse.
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