Guyana – Opposition protests police killings

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Opposition protests police killings; Belgrave’s cause of death revealed

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Written by Kwesi Isles   Demerara Waves
Monday, 08 October 2012 12:10
rohee_protest

“How many more, Rohee?” was written on this coffin outside Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee’s office during an opposition-organised protest against recent police killings.
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Several dozen protesters Monday morning took to the street outside the office of Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee demanding that he resign shortly after an autopsy was conducted on a youth killed allegedly by the police last Friday night.

The APNU-organised protest comes in the wake of the killing of 21-year old Dameon Belgrave outside White Castle Fish Shop.     

Placards read “Rohee Must Go,” “Justice for Shaquille, Justice for Dameon,” and “No more police killing.”

APNU Chairman and PNCR Leader David Granger was on the picket line along with party executives Basil Williams and Volda Lawrence.

“It seems the police are out of control, that’s why we’re here this morning. Our main objective is to stop the police from killing our young people and we feel that one of the ways to get this is to have a new Minister of Home Affairs because for six years Mr. Rohee has not been able to control murder, control extra-judicial killings in this country. In order to achieve a safer society that’s what we want,” Granger told reporters.

Responding to a question on the disappearance of two police ranks implicated in the shooting of Agricola youth Shaquille Grant last month Granger stated that that was a “direct result” of the way the police force and the home affairs ministry were being administered.

“As soon as the shooting occurred those officers should have been interdicted from duty and placed under arrest and now they can’t account for two of them it is a failing on the part of the Ministry of Home Affairs,” he declared.

The protest is expected to continue outside Office of the President on Tuesday when Cabinet is scheduled to hold its statutory meeting.

APNU parliamentary front-bencher, Attorney-at-Law, Joseph Harmon who witnessed Belgrave’s autopsy along with AFC Chairman Nigel Hughes, said the cause of death was given as a single gunshot wound with the bullet entering the body at the left 4th rib; the bullet shattered the spine, the 9th and 10th vertebrae and exited in the area of the right shoulder blade. The trajectory of the bullet was upwards, with a clean entrance and exit wound. There was no fragment or warhead lodged in the body.

An APNU statement also quoted Yonette Sulker as saying that she wanted justice for her son. “Ms. Sulker said that her son’s death was no accident, because the police fired their weapon with the intention to harm or kill; this was no stray bullet,”  Harmon said in his statement.

Three policemen have been since placed under close arrest and two AK-47 assault rifles and one 9 MM handgun lodged for ballistic tests. Their hands have been already swabbed for gun residue.

Harmon urged all Guyanese regardless of political affiliation to take a stand against police shootings. He said that young black men are being shot by police ranks at an alarming rate and it was time for this to end.

Belgrave’s death came less than one month after 17-year old Shaquille Grant was shot dead by police in Agricola. 20-year old Romel Bollers was also injured. That incident came in the wake of the July 18 shooting to death of three protesters at Linden during clashes with the police which is being probed by a Commission of Inquiry.

Two of three policemen charged with Grant’s murder have vanished. The other one is on remand awaiting the start of a preliminary iniquiry.

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