Inquiries into massacres of 2000s will guide reform process -President Granger

Georgetown, Guyana – (February 15, 2018) President David Granger said that it is incomprehensible that no inquiries or inquests have been conducted into the killings of so many Guyanese citizens, including police officers, during the 2002-2010 era. Making reference to a Motion he tabled as Opposition Leader, in the National Assembly in five years ago, the Head of State reaffirmed that his intention is unchanged. “This Government will launch inquiries into the worst massacres, which took place during the ‘Troubles’,” he said today at the opening of the Police Officers’ Conference.

President David Granger.

“The ‘Troubles’ occurred during the darkest period in our country’s post-colonial history. The inability of the Police Force to curtail the criminal violence led to the emergence of a counterforce and assorted death squads. It revealed complicity between security services and drug lords and the infiltration of rogue elements into the Force. It rendered the security services vulnerable, exposing their deficiencies,” the President said.

He informed that the Lindo Creek Commission of Inquiry (CoI), which was appointed on January 31 and which is scheduled to commence work shortly, is the first of several to be conducted with the aim of bringing much-needed closure to a very painful and disturbing period. The Head of State named the massacres that occurred in Kitty; September 2002, Lamaha Garden; October 2002, Bourda; November 2002, Buxton-Friendship; June 2003, Prashad Nagar; June 2003, Agricola-Eccles; February 2006, La Bonne Intention; April 2006, Bagotstown-Eccles; August 2006, Black Bush Polder; August 2006, Bartica; February 2008 and Lusignan; June 2008 as incidents for which there has been no resolution and which require investigation.

“The lessons of the ‘Troubles’ must guide security sector reform. The Inquiry into the Lindo Creek massacre and the CoIs, which will eventually be commissioned are intended to improve the Force’s administration and operations. They are not intended to demoralise or destabilise the Force,” President Granger said.

The Head of State also spoke of the link between the upsurge of corruption of the security forces and the upsurge in criminal violence, execution killings and the failure to eradicate narco-trafficking as interrelated and lamented the attempts of those in authority, to conceal what was happening rather than addressing it frontally and condignly. He noted, too, that of the necessary reform initiatives and recommendations, which have been implemented, the deaths of many civilians and policemen during the ‘Troubles’ could have been avoided.

The President also called for a change at the level of citizens; particularly in terms to the relationship between the police and citizens. “It is apparent that trust between the public and the Police was damaged during the ‘Troubles’. Never before, and never since, in the 179-year history of this proud Force have so many policemen been slaughtered. Efforts must be made to rebuild public trust,” he said.

During an interview with the media last month, President Granger said that the Lindo Creek massacre, which claimed the lives of eight miners in 2008, will lead to the unravelling of the criminal network and exposure of operatives, who were responsible for the reign of terror, during the most deadly decade in Guyana’s history, while also ensuring that justice is served for the affected families.

Between 2000 and 2008, Guyana witnessed its most intense sustained wave of criminal violence since Independence, which resulted in the death of 1,431 Guyanese.

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