Planned ‘day of protest’ on Caricom Day at Buxton illegal – GPF warns

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Acting Top Cop, Clifton Hicken

With the chaotic looting, robbery and violence that occurred last week on the East Coast of Demerara (ECD) corridor and the circulation of a flyer calling for a further protest on Monday, July 4, the Guyana Police Force (GPF) has issued a stern warning against unauthorised protest action.

According to the GPF on Saturday, the flyer in question identified Buxton as the proposed location for the protest, however, it warned potential protesters that permission has neither been sought nor granted for this ‘protest’.

“Relative to a flyer/poster being circulated on social media about a Day of Protest to be held on the Buxton public road on Monday 4th July, 2022, the Guyana Police Force would like to make it clear that no application was made or permission granted to hold such a protest.”

Members of the public, the GPF said, as well as the “purported organisers of such a protest are asked to be guided accordingly and obey the law”. It added that the statement, which comes only days after a protest over the killing of Quindon Bacchus devolved into looting and mayhem.

It was only a few days ago that sixteen persons were slapped with riotous behaviour charges under Section 136 (b) of the Summary Jurisdiction (Offences) Act, Chapter 8:02, in relation to these very protests.

The 16 accused all appeared at the Cove and John Magistrate’s Court before Magistrate Fabayo Azore on Wednesday when the charges were read to them. Fifteen of the 16 persons pleaded not guilty while one pleaded guilty.

Those charged were Rondolph Murphy, 50, of Belfield Housing Scheme, East Coast Demerara (ECD); Jawonza Fowler, 18, of Hackett Street, Golden Grove, ECD; Michael Moore, 23, of Victoria, ECD; Rawl Griffith, 45, of Haslington, ECD; George Teixy, 31, of Haslington, ECD; Daniel Thomas, 19, of Haslington, ECD; Legendi Pompey, 33, of Haslington, ECD; Seon Austin, 31, of Golden Grove, ECD; Quice Lawrence, 40, of Golden Grove, ECD; Winston James, 23, of Victoria, ECD; Andrew Sumner, 59, of Victoria, ECD; Shentel Caesar, 25, of Melanie, ECD; Rondel Clarke, 21, of Ann’s Grove, ECD; Shamar Payne, 23, of Bachelor’s Adventure, ECD; Kevon Nicholas, 18, of Haslington, ECD, and Kester Paul, 24, of Haslington, ECD.

The 15 persons who pleaded not guilty to the charges were placed on $15,000 bail each, while Sumner, who pleaded guilty, was fined $20,000. The cases will continue on October 19, 2022.

The persons were charged following the chaos that unfolded on the East Coast of Demerara on Tuesday which started as a protest at Golden Grove calling for justice for the slain Quindon Bacchus.

However, the protest escalated into terror along the ECD corridor with several vendors at the Mon Repos Market being robbed, beaten and terrorised while their stalls were vandalised and goods looted.

Armed with cutlasses, knives, iron bars, and other handy weapons, looters stormed Mon Repos Market just after 10:00h.

Claiming that they were avenging the shooting death of Bacchus, which took place on June 10, the rioters proceeded to destroy goods, burn stalls and vehicles, shatter windscreens, and even assault vendors who were forced to run into the adjoining streets in fear for their lives.

After the looters made off with fruits, vegetables, clothing, shoes, and other articles which were being sold in the makeshift market, vendors were left counting their losses, which in some cases amounted to millions of dollars.

The Police Complaints Authority (PCA) is investigation Bacchus’ killing.

Bacchus, a father of one and late resident of Golden Grove, ECD, was allegedly shot six times about his body following an encounter with Police ranks. It was reported that, on June 10, ranks were conducting an intelligence-led operation in the Haslington New Scheme area of the ECD after receiving some information earlier in the day. While there, the ranks said, they contacted a 22-year-old construction worker, who provided them with certain information.

As a result of the information, a plainclothes rank who was armed made arrangements to purchase a firearm from Bacchus, who left and returned with the firearm. In the process of handing over the firearm to the rank, an alarm was raised. As a result, Bacchus ran in a southerly direction and discharged a round in the rank’s direction, and the rank drew his service pistol and returned fire.

Police said Bacchus then ran further south and jumped into a yard, and the rank gave chase. While the rank was in close proximity to Bacchus, Bacchus allegedly discharged several other rounds at the rank, and the rank took cover and returned fire, hitting the now-deceased man about his body.

Bacchus reportedly fell to the ground, along with the firearm, which was later identified as a .380 pistol with a magazine that still had one round. Police said Bacchus was picked up in a conscious state and escorted to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where he was seen and examined, but subsequently died.