Last Updated on Tuesday, 5 January 2016, 17:36 by Denis Chabrol
Amid growing concern about the role of military intelligence in civilian operations like the one mounted against the National Industrial and Commercial Investments Limited (NICIL), the Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Tuesday said Sergeant Robert Pyle was involved in a “legitimate operation” last week when he died in a vehicular collision.
“Defence Headquarters wishes to notify the public that the late Sergeant Robert Pyle, a member of the Intelligence Unit of the Guyana Defence Force, was deployed on a legitimate operation in support of the Special Organized Crime Unit, (SOCU) on Wednesday December 30, 2015.
It is normal for the Guyana Defence Force to support the Law Enforcement and Regulatory Agencies of Guyana in operational activities, especially at this time, as part of Operation Dragnet,” said the GDF in a statement.
GDF Chief of Staff, Brigadier Mark Phillips later told Demerara Waves Online News that he request by SOCU was made through the legitimate chain of command. However, Demerara Waves Online News has been told that the request by SOCU was made to an GDF Intelligence Officer who then requested that Pyle report for duty.
Phillips said it was not part of military protocol for members of one’s family to accompany a soldier on a mission. The Chief Staff said he had no knowledge about whether Pyle had been given the wrong information about the house that he was staking out for a family member of NICIL’s CEO Winston Brassington and whether Pyle had been authorized to engage in a high-speed chase. Pyle and his wife Stacy as well as a truck driver died in the accident.
Earlier Tuesday, January 5, 2016 the PSC expressed concern at the silence by Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud and the Chief of Staff of the GDF, Brigadier Mark Phillips about media reports concerning Pyle’s role in a surveillance operation targeted at civilians and was engaged in “a high speed deadly car chase through the streets of Georgetown chasing a vehicle which he believed contained the teenage daughter of Winston Brassington.”
The PSC wanted to know whether this was an authorized assignment carried out on behalf of either of these agencies. “This matter has caused immense apprehension in the business community and we believe that answers are needed not only by us but by the larger society,” said the PSC.