Attorney General’s statement on the United States Department of State Guyana 2022 Human Rights report
The United States (US) Department of State Guyana 2022 Human Rights Report which records that as of October 2022, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) did not investigate allegations advanced by interdicted Sergeant Dion Bascom pertaining to the killing of Ricardo Fagundes called Paper Shorts, is palpably erroneous.
Section 4 of the Report titled ‘Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government’ specifically highlights an allegation made by interdicted Sergeant Dion Bascom in August 2022, claiming that a businessman bribed members of the Guyana Police Force to “foil” the investigation into the killing of Ricardo Fagundes. The Report noted that as of October 2022, police had not investigated interdicted Sergeant Bascom’s claims.
It is a matter of public record that the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) of the Guyana Police Force GPF) in August 2022 conducted an investigation into the matter which and a report of the same was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) for legal advice. Interestingly, Bascom had refused to participate in the probe or provide any evidence to support his allegations.
Additionally, the Government of Guyana requested assistance from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Regional Security System (RSS) to investigate the said allegation. The investigative team was headed by a former Detective Chief Inspector of the Metropolitan Police Service, Serious and Organised Crime Command (United Kingdom). Upon completion of the investigation, a report was issued and published in the media on September 10, 2022. The findings of the report include the following:
1. The bribery allegations made by Sergeant Bascom against the GPF, namely, that Detective Supt. Caesar and Inspector Stephens in an attempt to cover up the unlawful killing/ homicide of Fagundes were hearsay having no provenance.
2. Sgt. Bascom has alleged that the GPF has tried to cover-up the unlawful killing/homicide of Fagundes. However, there is evidence that the GPF has diligently sought Regional and International assistance in solving this case.
3. Sgt. Bascom alleged that there was a device in the possession of the police which identified Mark Richmond’s cell phone as being at the scene of the unlawful killing/homicide of Fagundes when it happened. However, the GPF’s technical officer ASP Rodwell Sarrabo has confirmed that the Police Force does not have any such technology and that Sgt. Bascom was never at the crime scene with him.
It is standard practice that the Department of State would issue questionnaires to various government agencies when conducting their research in preparation for their report. The questionnaires submitted to the State were returned in the accordance with the stipulated deadline which was September 12, 2022. Significantly the Guyana Police Force was not engaged in respect of the death of Ricardo Fagundes or interdicted Sergeant Bascom’s allegation by those who prepared the report, as is the practice.
It is unclear where the Department of State gathered its information from in relation to the allegation made by interdicted Sergeant Dion Bascom. However, what is clear is that the information published in relation thereto is patently false. The Government of Guyana will soon engage the Department of State in respect of the inaccuracies highlighted hereof as well as other matters contained in the said Report with a view of having such falsehoods corrected.