Broomes fiasco: GAPSO calls out Crime Chief over remarks on security guards

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Crime Chief, Paul Williams

On the heels of comments made by the Crime Chief, Paul Williams regarding the security officers who were involved in the fiasco involving Government Minister, Simona Broomes on Sunday last at the Massy parking lot in Providence, East Bank Demerara, the Guyana Association of Private Security Organizations (GAPSO) has called him out, deeming his response “reckless.”

“It is unfortunate that a significant Law Enforcement Officer, would state publicly, that after the Minister’s driver attempted to breach a secure area of a facility, without seeking permission, and the Minister herself throwing several signs on the ground, which constitutes to damage of property, the security personnel should apologise. Would the same be required if a Police officer was stationed there?” the entity questioned in a press statement released on Thursday.

Moreover, GAPSO is calling on the Commissioner of Police (Ag), David Ramnarine to clarify to the public whether the “reckless comments made by Mr Williams represents the position of the Guyana Police Force.”

The Association also stated that the main questions left unanswered following the incident on July 8 2018, are whether the security officers’ acted consistent with their Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs) and whether the Ministerial Code of Conduct was breached by the Junior Minister of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes.

Minister within the Ministry of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes

“The Guyana Association of Private Security Organizations is calling on [Junior] Minister of Natural Resources, Simona Broomes, an elected official who has a responsibility to act appropriately, to explain to the public her actions [as recorded] on the CCTV Video that is in the public domain,” the statement said.

GAPSO also noted that should Broomes fail to provide an explanation, she must be held accountable for her actions.

To this end, the Security Organisation is “urging all Security Officers to not allow agitators to seize this moment to advance their often self-serving beliefs of what is erroneous. Do not allow them to bemoan the lack of trust in the private security industry. Do not allow them to beat down the hard working men and women who are security officers.”

INews had reported that according to the Minister’s version of what transpired on Sunday last, she and her driver, whose name has not been officially released to the media to date, were the victims of verbal assaults and threats by the security guards attached to Massy following their [Minister and driver’s] attempts to park.

Broomes- who is no stranger to controversy- had even alleged that one of the guards had pointed and “cocked” a firearm at her and the driver of her SUV vehicle at some point during the incident.

She claimed that she was fearful for her life and safety as a result of the actions of the guards, who were arrested and detained by Police ranks following the incident for close to 16 hours before being released on their own recognisance.

However, following the release of CCTV footage, it became clear that the Government official’s version of the incident was distorted.

Speaking to INews on Wednesday, Williams said that the probe was still ongoing and that the Police were reviewing other portions of CCTV footage available from nearby and surrounding establishments.

Moreover, adding his take on the matter, Williams told sections of the media that he would recommend that security guards working in public places like the supermarket be properly trained, especially those carrying firearms.

“It is within your own judgement and sense, if you see a vehicle of a certain standard or class right there and then it speaks out to somebody. Even if you want to rate the person for whatever it is, whether the person is a drug lord, Minister or businessman, as soon as you see a vehicle of a certain standard, it supposed to arouse your attention and alertness,” he explained.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Dr Bharrat Jagdeo believes that the Minister’s behaviour if true was atrocious and should not be allowed to continue.

He said that the incident also pointed to the fact that sometimes people rush to judgement, referring to the unwarranted arrests of the two security guards at the Massey Store over the incident without properly investigating the issue thoroughly.

He believes that the Police should also be held responsible, citing that they acted unprofessionally.

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