– says presence of plainclothes ranks was also unauthorised
Acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine has conceded that police ranks should not have been in the Chambers of Parliament. He said that “important lessons” had been learnt from “that unfortunate situation.”
The Acting Top Cop appeared to be referring to last Monday’s disruptive incident in which police ranks clashed with members of the Opposition, while attempting to escort Parliamentarian Juan Edghill out of the Public Buildings.
Edghill had refused an order by Speaker of the House, Dr. Barton Scotland, to leave. The Speaker then instructed the Sergeant-at-Arms to remove Edghill from the Chamber.
“It would be good for us to contemplate that in certain circumstances necessity knows no law,” Ramnarine said.
According to Ramnarine, the “recent incidents in Parliament seem to, in very strong language, indicate that there is a deteriorating security situation regarding security of Parliament.”
“The Acting Commissioner of Police wishes to assure each and every one, in particular those attending Parliament on official business, that it is not so.”
He referred to the incident two Fridays ago, when a woman, in ‘Santa Claus’ attire, entered the top floor of the Parliament Chamber and attempted to present Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo with an Oxford Dictionary.
The apparent ease with which she had slipped into the Chambers had raised concern for the safety of individuals in Parliament. Indications are that the woman came in properly dressed and changed her clothes in the MPs bathroom.
Ramnarine stated this was “nothing near to a security breach, as the woman in question was permitted to enter the Public Viewing Gallery by security officials of Parliament Office Security.”
“It is my view, after making the requisite enquiries, that this was no more than just a prank.”
But he also referred to a third incident where two police officers found themselves “enjoying elite company” giving the distinct impression that the police had not learnt anything from the previous incident (on Monday) and further aggravated the concerns about security of Parliament being breached.
Two plainclothes policemen had sat at the press table at parliament. Some of the journalists had complained to the Clerk of the National Assembly about their presence.
“I wish to state that the two young plainclothes policemen were not properly nor thoroughly briefed and also did not follow the specific instructions given, for if they had, they would not have found themselves in the Chambers of Parliament.
“Their seniors have been admonished and reprimanded in this regard.
“The Guyana Police Force in collaboration with its senior colleagues in the Sister Services, has reviewed and enhanced security arrangements in and around Parliament and is satisfied that the security of Parliament in these times is assured.
“Regrettably, and unfortunately, law enforcement officials can sometimes find themselves between a rock and a hard place and in these situations they have to contemplate, in a matter of seconds the ‘dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t’ philosophy of preventive policing.”
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