Pres. Ali not against witness protection; wants to review content of Bascom’s letter


In the aftermath of some damning allegations against the Guyana Police Force (GPF) from Police Sergeant Dion Bascom, President Dr. Irfaan Ali says he is not against witness protection but first needs to understand the nature of the issue.

Bascom’s lawyer Nigel Hughes wrote to President Ali earlier this week, requesting protection for him under Guyana’s Protected Disclosures Act.

Bascom implicated several high-ranking policemen in the cover-up of the murder of Ricardo Fagundes known as ‘Paper Shorts.’ But Police Commissioner (ag) Clifton Hicken has regarded the claims as unsubstantiated and a breach of the code of conduct of the Guyana Police Force.

The Head-of-State, on Wednesday, said he did not have the opportunity to peruse the lawyer’s letter as yet but underscored that he wants to ensure that each citizen benefits from a just society.

“I won’t say that I am against it [witness protection] because I have to see the content of the letter.

“I have to see the nature of what is being asked for,” President Ali told reporters at the sidelines of an event on Wednesday.

Assuring Guyanese that he doesn’t “shy away” from issues, the President promised to direct his efforts towards strengthening the institutions that deal with justice and crime-fighting in Guyana.

“… this system and this country that I am governing, must provide an even platform for everyone, (it) must provide a socially just platform for everyone,” Dr. Ali underscored.

For this particular case, however, the President said that he has made it very clear that the investigations must be done professionally.

And based on updates from the Police Force thus far, he related that some international support has been sought on a “specific aspect of the case”. Because police investigations continue, he could not disclose further details.

President Ali also noted that the Police Force will soon engage the media to present what it has gathered thus far.

The News Room previously reported that the GPF’s  Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) completed its investigation into the damning allegations made on social media by Bascom.

Police Commissioner (ag) Clifton Hicken, in a statement on Tuesday night, said that the OPR has since submitted its findings and recommendations to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice.

Hicken also described Bascom’s allegations as “wholly unsubstantiated.”

Bascom, 33, was among five persons arrested on August 8 by ranks of the Customs Anti Narcotic Unit (CANU) after three pounds of cocaine were found in a Norton Street, Georgetown, residence.

Though arrested, Bascom was not charged and was released by CANU but he went live on his Facebook page and made several damning allegations of corruption against the hierarchy of the Police Force as it relates to Fagundes’ murder.

Fagundes, a popular gold dealer and biker, was riddled with bullets on March 21, 2021, on Main Street, Georgetown, moments after he exited a nightclub on Main Street, Georgetown.

Bascom has since deleted the live video over fears about his family’s life.

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