Prominent Attorney-at-Law, Nigel Hughes, who campaigned for the APNU+AFC coalition to come to power, indicated that he was not surprised that government was silent about the police gunning down of three suspected bank-related robbers.
“At the end of the day, governments tend to want to protect their State agents so whenever they get into office, despite whatever protestations are before they get into office, they then start to protect the people who are there to protect them in office and carry out the law so I don’t believe the conduct of this government is any different from its predecessor,” he said.
Hughes’ comments were made at a news briefing that was shared by a man who claimed that he witnessed the incident that occurred on the Georgetown Seawall on Monday, March 15, 2018. Those killed are 46-year old Dextroy “Dutty” Cordis of Grove, East Bank Demerara , Kwame Assanah, age unknown, of Buxton, East Coast Demerara and 57-year old Errol “Dynamite” Adams of Dartmouth, Essequibo Coast and Buxton, East Coast Demerara.
Hughes, a former Chairman of the Alliance For Change, has been a consistent advocate and campaigner against extra-judicial killings and other human rights violations.
The Attorney said the issue of the apparent “unjustified killing” of unarmed men who did not resist or refuse to comply with lawful orders or direction was the key issue instead of whether he supported the coalition.
“This is an execution and it doesn’t matter who the President is or which party is in power, the citizen at the end of the day needs to be protected from arbitrary actions by agents of the State,” he said.
A Partnership for National Unity and the Alliance For Change, either separately, jointly or as a government, has not issued any statement on the police shooting of the men, in contrast to when they were very vocal against extra-judicial killings while they were in opposition.
Post mortem reports show that the men were shot multiple times. Police Commissioner, David Ramnarine has justified the action by a specially trained unit of the Guyana Police Force, saying that the evidence shows that they were part of a criminal enterprise and were part an arrangement to commit a serious crime.
A man, who said he was an eyewitness of the police killing of three men at the Georgetown Seawall road while he was working on the rooftop of the Georgetown Softball Cricket Club pavillion, has since filed a statement with the Guyana Police Force. Police said Devon Lyte agreed to return Tuesday to be interviewed by a Senior Detective in the presence of Attorney-at-Law Hughes.
From Lyte’s account, a silver car was travelling behind the black car in which the men were travelling. He said when the black car stopped and the driver exited, someone emerged from the silver car and assaulted the driver for several minutes.
He said he then heard rapid gunfire. “At the time when I heard the rapid gunfire, there was one person standing over the same person who was lying on the ground,” he said.
The Attorney-at-Law added that he was advised that there was no pillion rider and no one escaped on a motorcycle in stark contrast to the account by the Guyana Police Force.e car.
The Police Commissioner has said that lawmen trailed the car in which the men were travelling after it was observed that the suspects had been following a car which was boarded by a customer from Scotiabank, Robb Street, Georgetown. They all ended up at the Georgetown Seawall where the incident occurred.
The Police Commissioner has said that the person, who exited the bank, was a genuine customer and not a police decoy. At the same time, he has stated categorically that the interception of the men was deliberately done at the Seawall instead of Robb Street. ““I want to tell the citizens of this country, if the Guyana Police Force had not taken that course of action a few days ago and that would have happened there, a lot of collateral damage would have happened on Robb Street based on the information that we received and it is good that it ended up at the seawall at a more desolate location,” he said.
The Attorney-at-Law hinted that private criminal action would be taken after sufficient evidence has been gathered and if the State does not file criminal proceedings.