Sep 20, 2021 Letters
The news of the death of Orin Boston disrupted the tranquility of the quiet Cinderella County on the morning of Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Mr. Orin Boston, a 29-year-old businessman, was shot dead by law enforcement officers after storming his home in the wee hours of the morning.
Family members reported that Mr. Boston was shot dead while in his bed with his wife, and being unarmed. They also indicated that the couple’s children were in the home when the law enforcement officers forcefully gained entry into the house.
Editor, as a Guyanese, I am concerned! Guyana is slowly slipping into a state of despair. It is incomprehensible how an unarmed man can be shot in his bed by a law enforcement officer. Evidently, those who sit in the seat of government have failed the people in this country. After the August 2, 2020, declarations of the highly contentious General and Regional Elections, there is no leadership from Mr. Irfaan Ali and his team. The PPP/C regime has yet to produce a holistic plan for public safety, crime fighting, and police overreach that have spiralled out of control.
Guyanese will recall the many murders, whether execution style or otherwise, since August 2, 2020. The regime is on record claiming, “crime has reduced since August 2, 2020.” However, as the good book says, “those who have eyes to see let them see and ears to hear, let them hear.” The crime statistics is, indeed, alarming! Daily reports on the various media platforms inform us of the steady rise in crime. Unfortunately, the average person can judge the upsurge in crime without the Guyana Police Force’s data. Equally disturbing within the year of the PPP/C regime in office, Guyanese have seen the execution of Peter Headley, Ricardo Fagundes, Erian DaSilva, Dale Christopher, and Darren Harris, amongst others, whether at the hands of police officers or unknown characters. To date, many, if not all, of the families of the bereaved await justice.
In April 2021, Kaieteur News published reports from the Guyana Police Force that eighty-one percent (81%) of persons murdered for the year 2021 were males. In a small society like Guyana, where the female outnumbered the male, concerns must be shown to the constant loss of life and the lives of predominately male afro-Guyanese. The senseless killing of Mr. Orin Boston must not be added to the lengthy list of unsolved murders by the hands of the police or unknown characters; become a cold case. Guyanese have lost confidence in the Guyana Police Force and its handling of criminal matters.
Information regarding the death of Mr. Boston suggested that a S.W.A.T team from Georgetown travelled to Essequibo. Accounts from the Force indicated a breakdown in communication between Mr. Nigel Hoppie, who is performing the functions of Commissioner of Police and Senior Officers below him. How can this be? Subsequent reports from the hierarchy of the Guyana Police Force revealed that they are oblivious of the instructions given for the execution of such operations. What an absurdity! Editor, are Guyanese to assume that subordinates within the Force are taking instruction(s) from a parallel authority? There are several unanswered questions in my mind, which an independent and impartial investigation can only answer.
I would like to ascertain the following questions from the hierarchy of the Guyana Police Force:
1. Was there a breach in the Standard Operations Procedure of the Force?
2. For a S.W.A.T operation to be conducted, what are the steps or procedures to be complied with?
3. Since the hierarchy of the Force is unaware of the operations, then who gave the instructions?
4. Was the Commander in the Pomeroon-Supenaam Region given prior notification of the operations?
From 2000 to 2010, Guyana descended into a state where human lives were treated like wild animals. Practically, everyday motionless bloodied bodies were found in the streets, burial grounds, dumpsites and other places. During that decade, commonly called, “the troubled era,” many families, including those of Ronald Waddell, former Minister Satyadeow Sawh and Courtney Crum-Ewing in March 2015, to name a few; are still grieving, looking and hoping for answers. We also witnessed the phantom squad and death squad wreak havoc in many communities. Are we back in those days?
During the APNU+AFC government’s term in office, the Guyana Police Force exhibited a high degree of professionalism. There was confidence and building of trust between “citizens and Police.” Can we say same is being demonstrated since August 2, 2020? We recall in March 2021, during the anniversary celebrations of the annual Police Officer’s Conference, persons within the Force took offence to the prayers cited by the Force’s Chaplin, Pastor Patrick Doolichand. He was eventually removed as Chaplin and later the decision was rescinded. Well, several months after, Guyanese have seen for themselves what the Right Rev. Doolichand was praying against.
Is the installed government serious about its respect for human rights? The deafening silence from the regime tells a different story. Mr. Boston’s family, wife and children are traumatised. The incident will have long-term psychological impacts on their lives. I have not seen or read of any advisory, whether from the regime, as a collective, or through the Ministry of Human Services and Social Security, on the mechanisms in place to offer psychological support to the family, while coping with this situation.
Guyanese, we must be our brothers’ and sisters’ keepers. We should use the late George Floyd’s killing in the United States of America as a classical example. It revealed to the world, who are Americans. They stood as ONE and UNITED, until JUSTICE was served for the late George Floyd! Why? Simply put, Mr. Floyd’s death was senseless and inhumane. Guyanese, it is time we wakeup. “Enough is Enough! No to Police Brutality!” Let us UNITE against this dastardly act.
I close by extending my commiseration to the bereaved families and friends of the late Orin Boston and pray that JUSTICE be served in reasonable time.
Yours in service,
Ms. Annette Ferguson
Member of Parliament – APNU+AFC
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