GEORGETOWN, Guyana: Describing the recent torture of a 14-year-old detainee as a “terrible stain” on the nation’s police force, President Bharrat Jagdeo has announced that he has given police two weeks to complete a full, open investigation and promising that anyone involved in the act would feel the full weight of the law.
Jagdeo said the burning of the boy’s genitals, as alleged, was “outrageous, horrible and inhuman” and must be unequivocally condemned.
“I will allow for the probe to be done by the Police Force, which will be made public, and to take place early,” Jagdeo said last week, adding that the lawmen had “a maximum of two weeks” to do so and present a proper report. “If I find it wanting, then I’m prepared to look at examining any other option outside of the police themselves.”
Jagdeo said he has requested police training on human rights issues to be enhanced and also considered foreign assistance to further promote training of security forces on the matter of human rights.
Jagdeo said he was also concerned about the disparaging effect which such torture would have on Guyana’s policemen and soldiers.
“Hundreds of them every day, they are the frontline against criminals. These are the people we call on when something happens and many of them in spite of very difficult situations, remuneration not great, sometimes the conditions of service are not great, but they go out there and put their lives on the line for all of us and the recent incident where they were targeted would show that,” he said, referring to last week’s attack in which gunmen opened fire on two police stations and attempted to burn down the Supreme Court registry and a secondary school.
As a result of the attack, in which one person was killed, Jagdeo said the security forces are going after criminals who are operating with high powered weapons and have links to masterminds locally and in the United States of America.