Bar Association slams Police Force for maladministration; says oversight bodies have failed

The injured Colwyn Harding.
The injured Colwyn Harding.

[] – The Guyana Bar Association has condemned all forms of police brutality in light of the alleged attack and egregious violations of the dignity and rights of Colwyn Harding.

It is alleged that these violations were committed by one or more members of the Guyana Police Force who forced a condom laden baton up Harding’s anus while he was in custody. Harding is now in hospital awaiting a third surgical operation to treat the injuries he suffered.

The Guyana Bar Association in wake of these developments says it notes that up to the time of writing, the Guyana Police Force has not challenged the veracity of these allegations of police brutality.

“The severity and frequency of these allegations of police abuse suggest that there is maladministration within the Police and a systemic failure on the oversight from the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Police Complaints Authority.”

The Association reminded that in 2009, police officers at the La Grange Police Station beat 14 – year – old Twyon Thomas and set fire to his genitals. In awarding damages against the Attorney-General and the Commissioner of Police, Justice Roxane George described the police behavior as torture and as cruel and inhuman treatment contrary to Article 141 of the Constitution.

“Of course, one does not need judicial pronouncements to conclude that constitutional proscriptions against cruel and inhuman punishment are commonly ignored by the Guyana Police Force.”

The Guyana Bar Association said it is also deeply concerned at the failure of the authorities to take any action to change the culture of law enforcement and to ensure that in carrying out its mandate, the persons charged with protecting citizens do not violate the rights and abuse the said citizens.

As such the Association has called on the Minister of Home Affairs and other authorities to:

1.     Ensure appropriate medical treatment is rendered to address the health and well-being of Mr. Harding immediately,

2.     Launch an immediate, impartial and independent investigation into the attack on Mr Harding. It would be appropriate to invite civilian or other external participation in the investigative process.




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