Leader of the People’s National Congress Reform, Brigadier David Granger has condemned the People’s Progressive Party/Civic administration, the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Guyana Police for their responsibility for the deaths of over 288 persons in the past 17 years. This number meant that the Police had been killing young men consistently at a rate of more than one person per month through most of the PPP/C’s term in office.

Brigadier Granger, speaking at a mass rally organised by the Guyana Youth and Students Movement (GYSM) at the Stabroek Market square, called on citizens to speak out against Police killings and to exert pressure on the Government to bring Police killings to a halt.

The GYSM rally was the culmination of a week of peaceful protests by the PNCR against the killing by the Police of Shaquille Grant in Agricola and Dameon Belgrave in Georgetown, in particular. It also focused on the public security situation in the country and the failure of Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee to demonstrate the ability to protect citizens from criminal violence, in general.

The week started with orderly picketing demonstrations at the offices of the President and the Minister of Home Affairs. Several ‘whistle-stop’ meetings were held by PNCR parliamentarians in rural villages to keep residents informed.

The PNCR rejected the usual excuses uttered by the Police that they “shot the victims while attempting to arrest them” or while a crime was being committed. The Police tried to make a similar excuse in the case of the shooting of Shaquille Grant in Agricola but this was refuted by neighbours and observers who actually witnessed the crime.

PNCR speakers at the rally pointed out that non-governmental, human rights activists have admitted that the PPP/C administration has taken a lax attitude toward investigation of police abuses during its 20-year tenure of office. Policemen have not usually been punished for extra-judicial killings. Inquests by Coroners and District Magistrates or independent judicial inquiries have rarely been convened into fatal shootings by Police. Documents required to prosecute the Police have occasionally disappeared from the responsible magistrate's office.

The PNCR maintained that the PPP/C administration continues to refuse to recognize the 288 police killings as a problem. The PPP/C also refuses to conduct investigations into Police killings unless brought under public pressure to do so. The PNCR repeated its call for the Government to dismiss the Minister of Home Affairs so that Police reform can begin and the killings can be brought to an end.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana
Tuesday 16th October 2012

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