Ramjattan supports Police’s version of deadly seawall shooting
By Fareeza Haniff
Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan says he believes the police’s version of the deadly seawall shooting on March 15 which left three suspected bandits dead, is the “truthful version,” and he intends to stand in solidarity with the Police Force based on its “credibility and reliability.”
“I am going to support my policemen until such time as they are proven to have done something wrong. Just like how all suspects and criminals and accused [have] presumption of innocence on their side. Why are we behaving like this with our police by saying that they executed and the murdered?” the Vice President told reporters on the sidelines of a CARICOM event held at the Ramada Princess Hotel this morning.
The three men shot dead were: 46-year old Dextroy “Dutty” Cordis of Grove, East Bank Demerara; 37-year-old Kwame Assanah; and 57-year old Errol “Dynamite” Adams.
Since then, there have been varying accounts of what really transpired with eyewitnesses providing different versions from that of the Police Force.
Prominent Attorney, Nigel Hughes is representing the young labourer, who is yet to give the police a statement on the grounds that he is fearful for this life.
Hughes is also representing the interest of Cordis’ family.
President David Granger has since ordered an inquest into the shooting and according to Ramjattan, he will ensure that the investigation is thorough.
“I think we are awaiting the three statements from Mr Nigel Hughes. He called me and indicated that they are very fearful and to that extent then, I don’t know. But we’ll like to complete the file and send it to the DPP in accordance with the regular procedures and I rather suspect, knowing what happens having been in the DPP for a number of years, that a Coroner’s inquest is going to be ordered,” the Public Security Minister said.
When questioned, Ramjattan told reporters that he is leaning on the side of the Police based on their credibility and reliability “and the fact that there were some questions to be asked of the guy on the roof.”
“I don’t want to go further but these matters can have a way with them and so on but the trouble is the Coroner’s Inquest is going to find out even better because there can be the witnesses being called there and I hope that the Coroner being the kind of investigator, they’re not going to be afraid to come forward- all of those who are eyewitnesses to the actual incident,” Ramjattan expressed.
When asked to explain throwing his support behind the Police before the Inquest, the Security Minister said: “Simply because that’s what you normally do. When there is an investigation as to a murder, what do you expect me to do? You question the police investigation? You do not.
“The majority of the cases, any good responsible Government would attach some credibility and reliability on police investigators and that’s how it is. That’s the routine thing unless there’s something so badly done or so egregious that you’re going to question the police immediately.”
Attorney Hughes had noted that two of the alleged bandits were shot 10 and six times and when questioned about this, Ramjattan said: “Well we were told that they were firing at the policemen and there was shots fired at the policemen and they had to shoot back and that’s what caused the police to shoot probably as many times as possible.”
Hughes has since released statements of two more witnesses who claimed they saw what occurred on the day in question, but he made it clear that these individuals are terrified for their safety and have no confidence in the Guyana Police Force to provide protection.