– Anil Nandlall says bizarre charges would be strenuously challenged
Just one year after the 2015 Election Day violence in C Field Sophia, Greater Georgetown, the two victims are again faced with another ordeal as they are being placed before the courts for possession of illegal firearms.
Bibi Farida Prasad, of Lot 589 Section C, South Turkeyen, and Narine Khublall, along with his wife, of Lot 588 Section C South Turkeyen, were informed on Tuesday that based on advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), they would be charged with the offence of unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition as of May 11, 2015 and would have to appear before the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court today.
The homes of these two neighbours were stormed, vandalised, looted and their vehicles burnt by a large unruly mob of persons who claimed to be supporters of the A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) coalition on the night of May 11, 2015.
According to their lawyer, Anil Nandlall, Prasad is and has been licensed to possess a .32 handgun since 1998, while Khublall is a member of South Turkeyen Community Policing Group (CPG), the Chairman of Division C “2” Community Policing Group and the Vice Chairman of the National Community Policing Group of Guyana.
Nandlall noted that on the night of May 11 last year during the unrest, the Police requested that Prasad and Khublall surrender their respective firearms and ammunition as well as copies of their firearm licences which were handed to the Police, duly examined and handed back to them. However, while the Police returned Prasad’s weapon the following day, Khublall’s CPG weapon was kept by the State.
Nandlall pointed out that it was extraordinarily difficult to understand the basis of the criminal charges which his clients now have to face, noting that he was suspicious given the fact that these charges come exactly one year after the incident.
“My clients have been the victims of both political mayhem, as well as gross violation of their statutory duties and incompetence at the hands of the Guyana Police Force. They now feel that they are being persecuted and the criminal justice system is being used as an instrument of oppression against them. They do not discount the possibility of political interference as well,” he added.
The Attorney further noted that these bizarre charges would strenuously be challenged and when dismissed, malicious prosecution proceedings would be filed against those who instituted them as well as their superiors.
He also indicated his intention to sue the State for the damage and losses which his clients suffered on May 11, 2015, owing to the negligence of the Guyana Police Force since his clients were taken into Police custody that night and were told that their properties were under “Police protection”. However, upon their return home several days later, they found that their homes were burglarised.
Following is the full text of a statement issued on the matter by Attorney-at-Law, Mohabir Anil Nandlall
I act on behalf of Bibi Farida Prasad, of 589 Section C South Turkeyen Sophia, Greater Georgetown, and Narine Khublall and Poonadai Khublall both of 588 Section C South Turkeyen Sophia, Greater Georgetown. On the 10th May 2016, my clients were informed by a Sergeant Flatts, of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Turkeyen Police Station, that they will be charged with the offence of unlawful possession of firearm and ammunition for which they do not hold a license in respect of May 11th, 2015.
You may recall that my clients received national prominence after their properties at the aforementioned locations, which were used by the People’s Progressive Party Civic (PPP/C) as a Command Center for electoral activities in respect of May11th, 2015, National and Regional elections, were stormed, vandalized, looted and eventually burnt to the ground by a large unruly mob of persons who claimed to be supporters of the APNU- AFC on the night of May 11th, 2015.
As a result my clients jointly suffered over $30 Million in losses and damages. They wrote to His Excellency President David Granger requesting compensation. To date no satisfactory response has been received in respect of their request.
Additionally, my clients lodged a complaint with the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR), Guyana Police Force (GPF), because when the mob gathered outside of the said premises, the police arrested my clients, handcuffed them and took them away to Turkeyen Police Station, informing my clients that their premises are now under “Police Protection”. The premises were only handed back to my clients on May 18th, 2015. It was during the period that the Police had possession of the premises, eyewitnesses confirmed that in the presence of the Police, the mobs stormed my clients’ properties, looted, destroyed and burnt same to the ground. Several vehicles, some owned by my clients, and which were parked in front of their premises, were also vandalized and burnt. Eyewitnesses’ statements were submitted to the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) detailing that the Police did nothing while the mobs were removing my clients’ properties, including household appliances, motor cycles; fire was set to my clients’ premises, Molotov cocktails, bricks, bottles and other missiles were launched openly – all in the full view of the Police with no actions taken by the Police against the mobsters.
Bibi Farida Prasad is and has been licensed to possess a .32 firearm handgun since 1998. Narine Khublall is a member of South Turkeyen Community Policing Group, is the Chairman of Division C “2”of Community Policing and is also the Vice- Chairman of the National Community Policing of Guyana. Mr. Khublall has held these positions for a number of years. By virtue of these positions Mr. Khublall is authorized and licenced to possess a Shotgun.
On May 11, 2015, prior to taking my clients into custody, the Police requested that my clients surrender to them possession of their respective firearms and ammunition. The Police requested copies of my clients’ firearm licences which were handed to the Police, duly examined and handed back to my clients. Both of my clients’ firearm licences were valid and in force. In fact, at no time whatsoever over the last year, until May 10th, 2016, did anyone make any allegation that my clients had in their possession, firearms and ammunition without licences. Indeed, since May 12th, 2015, Bibi Farida Prasad’s .32 Taurus pistol was returned to her but without the ammunition. However, the weapon assigned to Narine Khublall, which is the property of the State was never returned to him.
Based upon the facts and circumstances outlined above, it is extraordinarily difficult for one to understand the basis of the criminal charges which my clients now have to face. The fact that they have come exactly one year after the incident excites even greater suspicion. My clients have been the victims of both political mayhem as well as gross violation of their statutory duties and incompetence at the hands of the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
They now feel that they are being persecuted and the criminal justice system is being used as an instrument of oppression against them. They do not discount the possibility of political interference as well. Needless to say, that these bizarre charges will strenuously be challenged and when dismissed, malicious prosecution proceedings will be filed against those who instituted them as well as their superiors. The State will also be sued for the damage and losses which my clients suffered on May 11th, 2015, due to the negligence of the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
May 11, 2016