– Khemraj Ramjattan
The treatment meted out to the officials of the Guyana Elections Commission (GECOM) by investigators in connection with the probe into the protracted March 2nd elections will only seek to anger the public and result in a loss of community police relations.
Sharing this view was former Public Security Minister, Khemraj Ramjattan.
He explained that the members within the new leadership of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arm of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) have “completely somersaulted” on the well-known best practices and legal positions regarding the arrest and detention of suspects, with particular emphasis on the GECOM officials.
Clairmont Mingo’s arrest was one of main contention.
The controversial Returning Officer was nabbed at his West Coast Berbice home and immediately taken into police custody but his arrest came with a string of allegations from his legal counsel – that he was questioned without his lawyer present and held in police custody for longer than lawfully required.
His arrest sparked protest actions by supporters from his hometown at Belladrum, West Coast Berbice who were outraged at the alleged abuse and demanded his release.
Other GECOM officials including three of Mingo’s assistants- IT Technician Enrique Livan who was involved in the infamous March 4th
“flashdrive” scandal along with Duarte Hetsburger, Personal Assistant of Chief Elections Officer, Keith Lowenfield, were also arrested in connection with the probe.
And with each arrest, came the same allegations.
To this, the former Security Minister said: “This is against the grain of what was spelt out to them by the several training courses they opted for and for which were provided by the Coalition government through the auspices of the British, the Canadians, the Americans and CARICOM. The treatment meted out to those GECOM officials are especially sordid.”
Further, he added that the allegations are that the officials are being held for unduly long hours for alleged offenses which are all bailable; that there wereno presence of their attorneys-at-law and being held in “very oppressive circumstances”- this shifts away from the professionalism the last administration attempted to input.
“This kind of conduct or misconduct preferably will only anger the public and deteriorate community police relations which we had striven hard for to realize,” he said.
Ramjattan made on the call for the excessive actions being used by the GPF to be halted forthwith.
The force had denied any wrongdoings in relation to the arrest of Clairmont Mingo and had accused his attorneys of being unprofessional. They have not issued any other responses in connection with the other allegations.
Ramjattan is also the current leader of the Alliance For Change, which makes up the Coalition which recently lost the general elections and were accused of gross elections maneuverings to stay in power.
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