‘Police Force covering up wrongdoings of ranks’ – PCA Chairman says
-194 complaints made against ranks in 2022
The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) in 2022 received a total of 194 complaints against ranks of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) and the Chairman of the Police Complaints Authority, Justice (Ret’d) William Ramlal believes that the hierarchy of the Force is covering up the “wrongdoings” of ranks.
Justice Ramlal made the revelation in his 2022 annual report, where he noted that of the 194 complaints received, 52 were closed after preliminary investigations. Among these were four cases during which civilians were fatally shot by the Police.
The four cases include the killing of 23-year-old Quindon Bacchus who was f shot on June 10, 2022 at Haslington New Scheme, East Coast of Demerara during a Police operation.
Following an investigation by the Police Complaints Authority, three police ranks were criminally charged.
Lance Corporal, Kristoff DeNobrega was slapped with a murder charge while former Police Sergeant, Dameion Mclennon and former Lance Corporal, Thurston Simon were charged separately for wilfully attempting to obstruct the course of justice by giving false information to the Police during the course of the investigation into Bacchus’ death.
Out of the remaining of the 194 complaints, 36 were rejected and 106 are still pending investigation. In his report, Justice Ramlal pointed out that despite a few instances where members of the force were charged criminally, they remained on active duty rather than being interdicted in keeping with the force’s standing orders.
Three complaints were referred to the Commissioner of Police and another three were sent to the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) for advice.
“I have learnt from members of the Force that some of the ranks charged have settled the respective matter with the complainant….These ranks should face disciplinary charges,” Justice Ramlal said in the 2022 annual report.
As a matter of fact, the report stated that once a rank is charged for a criminal or disciplinary offence, the rank should almost immediately be interdicted from duty.
For 2022, Justice Ramlal said disciplinary charges were recommended against 17 members of the Police Force.
But, according to Justice Ramlal, none of these proceedings were heard by the Police Disciplinary Authority in accordance with the Police Discipline Act or the Police Complaints Authority Act.
“It is my considered option based on firm evidence that the Police Force is covering up the wrongdoing of its ranks,” Justice Ramlal concluded.
The Police Complaints Authority is responsible for receiving complaints of specific cases of misconduct by members of the Guyana Police Force.
This includes supervising the investigation of certain serious crimes alleged to have been committed by ranks. The entity is expected to foster greater public trust in the force by ensuring it is in conformity with human rights.