Apr 16, 2021 News
– Unit says ranks need more training when dealing with ‘civilian agitation’
Kaieteur News – A rank attached to the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) was yesterday caught on camera assaulting a Lethem businessman with a high-powered rifle, with the Unit last evening issuing a press release stating that its ranks need additional training in dealing with what it referred to as ‘civilian agitation.’
The assault incident reportedly took place sometime after 12:00 hrs. in the compound of the Guyana Revenue Authority’s (GRA) office in Lethem, Region Nine.
The businessman, Lyndon Franklin, was reportedly detained there after GRA and CANU had caught him with smuggled liquor in his home at Tabatinja, Lethem.
According to a video recording seen by Kaieteur News, the man was using his cell phone to record the armed ranks standing in the GRA compound. As he videoed the ranks one after the other he narrated, “Look them blocking we from exiting customs compound. This one hay as well, watch he right here as well.”
He then moved on to a third and narrated again whilst walking up to that rank, “This one hay is the one that pulled the trigger. This one hay like shoot. He pulled the trigger this same one hay. He pull the trigger.
He like shoot. He like to shoot. This is the one that shoot up in my yard. Get his face properly.”
As he got closer, the CANU rank being filmed took a firm grip of his rifle and started walking towards Franklin while saying, “Move from in front of me.” The rank then raised the rife and hit the businessman – this is where the video ended.
Franklin’s reference to “shooting” was in relation to the CANU team’s original raid on the businessman’s residence. In their statement issued last night, CANU stated that a round was discharged to fend off dogs, which were released on the ranks while they were conducting their duties. CANU further explained that the ranks had repeatedly requested of the businessman to secure his dogs, but he made no attempt to do so as the dogs saw them, the ranks, as a threat.
In another video that was sent to this media house, there was indeed a pack of dogs in the businessman’s yard barking at the CANU ranks and Franklin could be seen quarrelling with the ranks, while one shouted at him, “Lock up them dogs. A want yuh lock up your dogs.”
Franklin then retorted, “Yall wait yuh mudda S***T.” One of the ranks then cocked his weapon as the
businessman held on to one of the dog’s collar as he continued quarrelling with the ranks – shortly after a gunshot could clearly be heard. The businessman’s nine-year-old son who was standing on a flight of stairs with his mother, who was recording the encounter, began to cry, “Mommy me ain’t want dem shoot daddy.”
After the round was fired, the dogs were secured and CANU began their raid for the smuggled liquor – video seen by this newspaper, Franklin was seen hugging his crying son and trying to calm him down, as he continued to record the CANU ranks.
According to the CANU release, “The suspect [Franklin] was seen entering Guyana from Brazil in his lorry and was followed and was subsequently seen emptying suspected smuggled and undeclared goods in his yard when GRA and CANU Officials intercepted him and uncovered the smuggled items among other goods packed in his truck.”
The items listed in the release included 30 cases of Blackstone whiskey; nine cases of Blend Seven whiskey; four cases of Skarloff liquor; and several other bottles of alcohol found in the businessman’s truck and his residence.
The release stated that Franklin is expected to be charged, and placed before the Lethem Magistrate’s Court for breaches of the Customs Act.
Franklyn who spoke with Kaieteur News claimed that the truck with the goods came from Brazil and passed through the border checkpoint and he cannot understand why the truck was not detained right there. Although Franklin admits, “no duty was paid on the liquor” he wants to question the professionalism of the CANU ranks. He claims that instead knocking at the gate and requesting to search his truck, they chose to jump the fence and enter the yard, while cocking their weapons at the same time as if he were running from them. This move, Franklyn said, made him annoyed and he began quarrelling with the ranks about their behaviour especially when
there were young children playing in the yard. Kaieteur News was also shown a video where one rank was already in the yard while Franklin was opening the gate for others to enter.
In its release last night to the assault incident, CANU stated that it was “aware of attempts by the said suspect and his agents to agitate its officials who were performing their duties on the operation.”
“CANU is holistically reviewing the incident,” the release said, “to address the need for further training of its ranks to ensure its ranks are able to withstand civilian agitation and intimidations. Additionally, CANU is imploring civilians to desist from advancing to or attacking its Officials in any way, whilst they are executing their duties.”
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