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Guyana Bar Assoc wants Commission of Inquiry into death of GDF intel agent, civilians

The Guyana Bar Association (GBA) Saturday called for a Commission of Inquiry into a surveillance operation by the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) that resulted in the death of an army intelligence agent and two civilians including his wife in a vehicular collision during a high-speed chase.

“The deaths and their surrounding circumstances are cause for the gravest concern among citizens. It has now been confirmed that at the time of the officer’s death he was engaged in a surveillance operation which it is now known was directed at a public servant who is on leave.

The Bar Association believes that an explanation is required for the use of GDF officers to engage in such activities and the legality thereof,” the GBA said in its statement.

Sources have told Demerara Waves Online News that the GDF operatives  had been staking out the home of Alana Seebarran and her husband, Charles Ramson Jr, on Cowan Street, Kingston, Georgetown instead of the home of the Head of the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICL), Winston Brassington next door.

After Seebarran’s brother managed to escape from a road-block set up by the GDF intelligence agents’ vehicles, a high-speed chase ensued that resulted in a fatal collision with a truck on Carifesta Avenue. Dead are GDF Sergeant Robert Pyle, his wife and a truck driver. The Seebarrans immediately reported their encounter to police.

The GBA has taken umbrage at a comment by President David Granger that he did not believe that a full probe into the incident was necessary because Sergeant Pyle was on an official mission. Expressing fundamental disagreement with the Guyanese leader, the GBA said at a minimum a Coroner’s Inquest should be held. “With due respect to the President, the Bar Association fundamentally disagrees with such a position. At the very least, the law requires a Coroner’s Inquest into the death of the three citizens while the ten issues identified are so serious and fundamental to the normal functioning of a democratic state that they require a proper, independent Commission of Inquiry.”

Against the background of the President being the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and Chairman of the Defence Board, the GBA said Granger “would wish to avoid any perception of any conflict of interest, undue influence or political interference in the operations of the Disciplined Services, or of an operation that went horribly wrong.”

The GBA wants a Commission of Inquiry to consider the duty of the State to act in conformity with the law and to protect its citizens, the role and function of the Guyana Defence Force, a body established under the Defence Act to carry out its responsibilities set out in the Constitution, the role, duties and functions of the Guyana Police Force and the Commissioner of Police in these circumstances, the establishment and operation of Special Organised Crime Unit,  its legal underpinning, staffing and reporting lines, wrongful death, criminal liability, civil Liability, immunity and appropriate redress and the scope, operational procedures, reporting lines and accountability of Operation Dragnet which was announced not by the Commissioner of Police but following a meeting of the Cabinet.

Also, the GBA wants such a probe to consider the level of sanctity of human life, the extent of the right to secure protection of the law including the holding of independent inquiries into the loss of human life, the importance of  citizens being able to go about their lives and business peaceably, and the recognition and regard for the privacy and private life of an individual.

The GBA noted that the Chief of Staff is solely responsible for the operational control of the GDF but subject to the general or specific directions of the President and that only when police are unable to deal with violent crime in specific divisions the Police Commissioner asks the Chief of Staff for help.

In this case, the Guyana Bar Association said the Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud has not broken his silence on the matter. “By contrast, the nation waits to hear from the Commissioner of Police who is the statutory authority to initiate the call for assistance from the Defence Force. Similarly, since Operation Dragnet was described as a response to concerns about public security, the Bar Association considers it incumbent for the Minister of Public Security to address the nation on the matter.”

  • dezetante

    Who else is willing to support the GBA in this call for an investigation? We cannot and must not allow the disrespect of the citizens rights to escalate further. Someone must be held accountable for this craziness

    • Emile_Mervin

      We are much likelier to get a major criminal indictment for corruption against a PPP operative than to get a C.O.I for this fatal recon, and the funny thing is that, after seven months of PPP-era corruption allegations and probes, this is the biggest headline news and it is not good for the coalition.
      I really don’t want to see a Jagdeo-led PPP back in the driver’s seat of government, but Granger continues to lack that take charge leadership quality that generates public confidence in him. I can’t even say he is tired, because this laid back, aloof style has been his modus operandi since entering public politics.

      • faoud khan

        Emile, the silence from The Commissioner of Police and his clueless sidekick Ramjattan is perplexing. It does seem both of those men have lost their abilities in managing the nation’s security and as predicted, old man Granger is relying solely on his other geriatric ex army buddies who are his circle of advisers to direct security policy. I said a long while back, Guyanese must be ready to live in a country that is being run by people with no experience or abilities. This bungled surveillance is just a smokescreen for the impending gloom which will engulf Guyana when Jordan presents his budget later this month.

        • Emile_Mervin

          FAOUD, SEE MY POST ON THE ORIGIN OF S.O.C.U, AND THE PPP LINK!

          • faoud khan

            Emile, I have been following your robust comments for a while. I agree with your analyses often and have differed with a few. I believe you are candid and balanced in your views . Are you ex Central High from around 1966 /7 to 1972/3?
            Keep up your discourse as it’s the only sound critique of the past and present set of loonies that makes any sense .

          • Emile_Mervin

            Yeah, Central High on Smyth Street in 1970 in the Rudy Luck and T. Anson Sancho era.

        • Ashley Singh

          “The Commissioner of Police and his clueless sidekick” are mere rubber stamps. They are muzzled.

  • KassemB

    Hope Rawle Lewis is sent on leave to allow proper investigation

  • Emile_Mervin

    In early September 2014, former Guyana Defence Force Lieutenant Colonel Sydney James was appointed Assistant Commissioner of Police and Head of the Special Organised Crime Unit of the Guyana Police Force. The Special Organized Crime Unit is supposed to deal primarily with investigating suspected cases of money laundering and financing of terrorist activities, to act as an intermediary between the FIU and the Director of Public Prosecutions, and would comprise skilled investigators trained by an external investigator. Former Attorney-General Anil Nandlall said that SOCU’s investigators would come from law enforcement as well as strong financial working backgrounds (Stabroek News, September 7, 2014).

    THOSE WHO NOW QUESTION WHY SOCU USED PYLE IN THIS CONTROVERSIAL EXERCISE MUST REVISIT A DECISION TAKEN BY THE RAMOTAR ADMINISTRATION THAT RAISED QUESTIONS ABOUT USING AN ARMY OFFICER FOR A SERIOUS CRIMES FIGHTING UNIT IN THE POLICE FORCE.

    SOCU IS A PPP BRAINCHILD! DEAL WITH THE FALLOUT!

    • Col123

      Emile…We cannot go forward and make excuses for our inability/poor planning to tackle the challenges of our society..and blame it on others….yes …it is true that it is only a few months for our govt to address the issues….but that is no excuse for us not having several courses of action to address the issues we have identified. Our President is a Military General…I am sure he was schooled in having plans, course and alternate courses of action to address issues. After all, it was this government that initiated all the levels of investigations that are in progress…Are you saying that this Government is so incompetent that they are exercising the same MO as the previous…What a cop out and lazy response to their current challenges…You are saying that the fallout is from using the PPP corrupted approach to address our current problems….

      • Emile_Mervin

        I am showing the nexus between a PPP-appointed former Lt. Col. to the post of Assistant Police Commissioner responsible for SOCU with access to intelligence officers in helping execute SOCU’s mandate, and how GDF Intelligence Officer Robert Pyle got involved and met his demise. The army involvement in law enforcement started with the PPP. Maybe the mess is bigger than we first imagined?

        • Col123

          Emile…got your point….the loss of life was unwarranted, period….it is a mess because of the way this operation was managed….and we need to go back a little further than the PPP tenure with the army involvement in law enforcement in our country…I really do not wish to dig dirt beyond the PPP time in government,under any circumstance….I do not have a dog in this fight….the future holds better for all of us…and our clear conscience, health,happiness and goodwill should be our goals in life…

          • Sean Ori

            Well said. We cannot keep blaming the past for our current situation.

      • Sean Ori

        AND, the WPA testified extensively during the Rodney COI. Yet they are in bed with the PNC. So, what is Emile Mervin point?

    • Sean Ori

      Blaming the PPP/C for this one even though the operation occurred under the President David Granger APNU+AFC Government.

      I bet he does not find it shocking at all that the wife of a PPP/C Parliamentarian was chased down the streets of Georgetown by an Army Sergeant who mistakenly identified her as someone else.

      I bet he does not find it shocking at all that the army, under the APNU+AFC Government is being used to investigate financial crimes when they have no expertise in this area.
      This operation occurred because the SOCU is under pressure to find the evidence of widespread corruption in Guyana that the APNU+AFC claimed was occurring under the PPP/C that is why they were on stake out of the area. They allegedly were staking out Brassington children (who do not live in the country) and Brassington was out of the country.
      This operation was/is allegedly part of Operation Dragnet a APNU+AFC Brainchild to curtail the out of control crime situation in Guyana.
      I refer you to the Editorial “SOCU and the military” (SN, 10 January 2016)

    • Sean Ori

      AND, the WPA testified extensively during the Rodney COI. Yet they are in bed with the PNC. So, what is your point?

  • SYL

    Guys its a country to govern , more things shall go amiss, so this is only one incident. Once the country is developing, mistakes would occur .Again I reiterate , that cleaning a house takes time,” don’t rush the brush” If the security minister says for example “hang them high, and seeks permission to do so people will criticize, if he’s doing consultation to find a great solution , he’s criticized, Do the members of GBA HAVE A SOLUTION FOR THE CRIMES? Any one can shoot hot air but find the solution .Every law enforcement in all the countries in the world makes errors.and that’s one of the ways humans learn. Put some of the bloggers, and lawyers in that capacity , a month would be long if you survive, even if you have training.

    • Col123

      SYL…We have politicians with experience and knowledge on how to manage a country….besides…they are paid very well…the issue is that they should not be making unenforced errors in managing the challenges we face.You may want to stop making excuses for them…We should hold their feet to the fire …Darn…lives were lost because of some silly operational mistake…get a grip my friend…we need to have change and we do not need any excuses…

      • SYL

        After viewing all the discussions on this site, I conclude, that more mistakes are going to be made, its human to err, again in European, USA, UK, Russia, etc. daily mistakes occur . Should it be this way, NO, would issues like this re-occur, YES, in a different manner, because no one is God.
        However, I conclude that its only the deceased can really say what occurred and why he did what he did at that point in time. May he RIP. Keep optimism alive for a brighter future.

  • ExPPP_Man

    These old senile ex-military fools.

    • rs dasai

      Senile,maybe, but not dysfunctional.