[www.inewsguyana.com] – In his first official statement since allegations surfaced two weeks ago; claiming that members of the Presidential Guard Service had slapped an Amerindian Teacher who heckled President Donald Ramotar, Head of the Service, Rohan Singh has come out in defense of the accused while at the same time unleashing a stinging attack on the local daily – Stabroek News.
He accused the daily and its Reporters of being untruthful in its reportage on the issue and went at great length to defend his officers; claiming that the alleged occurrence was too farfetched.
Below is the full text of Singh’s response:
I refer to Stabroek News in particular and those of the media fraternity in general who may be inclined to daily worship at the altar of political expediency and sensationalism. It is a foregone conclusion ‘truth’ will suffer.
‘Truth’ is sacrificed on the altar of ‘political intent’ as a means of influencing minds and achieving outcomes consistent with a concocted ‘reality.’ To do so, the so called ‘fourth estate’ erects windmills of quixotic proportions which they then proceed to attack with their pens of deception and rusty armor of hypocrisy.
The quixotic flight of fantasy gives flight to something else, something much more enduring than power – Truth! Trust! Honesty and Integrity. It is in this context that I wish to address the allegations of an incident in Ishalton made by John Adams, allegedly an APNU activist, as publicized by Stabroek News.
On the day in question the Office of the Head Presidential Guard received a number of phone calls, some repeatedly, from various news agencies. An individual who stated she was from Prime News called on three occasions. She wanted to know about the allegation and Mr. Granger’s call for an investigation, the name of the Head Presidential Guard and how many security personnel comprised the President’s Security detail?
Two reporters from Stabroek news approached the Security at Bidford House and enquired about the whereabouts of Mr. Singh. Having being told I was not in, they ventured to Office of the President where they told the Security, they were sent over by the Security as Bidford House who told them Mr. Singh is at Office of the President! From the very out start Stabroek News reporters began with subterfuge and deceit! Lies were to follow.
Stabroek News claimed it spoke to a Guard on Thursday after the newspaper was unable to make contact with me. The Guard, according to Stabroek News is reported to have said Mr Adams was not slapped, but rather, ‘school boy tapped behind the head……..’ Stabroek News was setting the stage to give some credence to its concoction by inferring, if not slapped, Adams was in one way or another assaulted by Presidential Guards! But here is the catch! Our Standard Operational Procedure dictates whenever ranks are out in the ‘fields’ the Team Leader communicates only with their Officer-in-Charge and or the Head Presidential Guard. NO one else! Therefore, no other individual in the Presidential Guard would have been privy to ANY information coming out of Ishalton!
Undeterred by its loss of decency, Stabroek News crudely plowed along. It took a nasty swipe at the ‘kind of security’ offered the President because I allegedly told them, and I quote “the ranks had not returned from Region Nine”, and then they went on to state, “ and he subsequently had not been able to speak to them.” What could be clearer than this? I am stating honestly and factually that the men had not returned, therefore they could not have been paraded before me. They were not present before me so that I could have systematically dealt with the issue! Now I ask you the general, intelligent, reading public, how does this translate to the “Presidential Guard Service has no means of communicating with its men in the field,” as stated by Stabroek News?
The fact is that the ranks never reported any such incident as alleged by teacher Adams whose story was taken up by Stabroek News and leader of the PNC/APNU Mr. Granger who called for an investigation. They were not aware of any such furor over in Georgetown! And I suspect, it is simply because it never happened! Or, if teacher Adams was indeed assaulted, it was by someone in the crowd who took umbrage to his ‘disrespect’ for the President. Apparently he was too inebriated or full of himself as an APNU representative, to understand that unlike him, the two hundred odd citizens in attendance at the meeting were genuinely interested in what His Excellency, the President had to say.
When interviewed the Officer and ranks denied having any knowledge of the allegations made by teacher Adams. They did admit however, there was one individual who appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, had a beer bottle in his hand and was shouting questions at the President. Noticing the individual’s demeanor and the fact that he was armed with a potential missile, two ranks positioned themselves closer to him. Even though our responsibility is to neutralize or eliminate any threat to the life of the President in ANY GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION by all and any means necessary, regardless of which ruling party he or she may come from, there was NO verbal or physical contact with the individual. And this is simply because at the time, even though he appeared to be under the influence of alcohol, he was more of a nuisance, than a threat. Therefore, there was no need for verbal or physical intervention which does not translate to not being prepared to neutralize or intervene.
The two ranks in question are over six feet tall. They collectively weigh over four hundred pounds. They are Martial Arts specialists trained in unarmed combat – combat karate, mixed martial arts – crowd psychology and self-awareness. In fact they are trainers! Together they have over twenty eight years of experience in the Presidential Guard. Between them, they have over ten subjects at the CXC. I leave it to you, the general readers to draw your own conclusion. Had anyone of them indeed slapped teacher Adams, where he would have been today?
Lastly, at the conclusion of any Presidential engagement, our security protocol is not to distance ourselves from the President, but in fact converge around. Even if a Presidential Guard was tempted to follow and slap teacher Adams silly, he would have been violating that protocol, teacher Adam’s rights as a citizen of this country and endangering the life of the President. All of this translates to working against the intentions of the President’s visit in Region Nine. It cannot and it will not happen under my watch.
Attempting to paint the Presidential Guard with a political tar brush therefore will not pass muster. Each year around this time when police promotion comes around I am reminded of the price I paid for my independence of thoughts, principles and forthrightness. But because of my ability to differentiate between the role I am playing as Head Presidential Guard Service and who I really am, I have stayed the course professionally. Neither my role nor who I am would allow me to be a Crocodile in Arapaima’s skin. The Presidential Guard Service will always have the highest respect for the rights of ALL citizens of Guyana. We are professionals.
Senior Superintendent of Police
Head Presidential Guard Service