Alleged coverup of “Paper Shorts” execution: Min Benn has “full confidence” in OPR to investigate

…Bascom wants “outside” investigators

Days after Police Sergeant Dion Bascom, who is being invested by the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) through his lawyer had written to President Dr Irfaan Ali requesting witness protection, Minister of Home Affairs Robeson Benn stated that the matter is being discussed at the highest level.
“We’re looking at what practical and legal and appropriate responses that we have to make in respect of the matter,” Benn stated on Tuesday.

Home Affairs Minister Robeson Benn

Bascom is currently under investigation for damning allegations in connection with the gunning down of Ricardo “Paper Shorts” Fagundes outside a popular Main Street, Georgetown night spot more than a year ago.
The Minister also noted that is not for the Police Sergeant to decide who will investigate the matter. Previously, Bascom claimed that the OPR cannot properly investigate the matter and as such, called for an independent probe to be conducted.
“It is not for him to investigate who will decide the matter, he can believe what he wants, there is laid down procedure where the OPR will look at these issues. If he or a citizen has a complaint, they can go to the Police Complaint Authority or else go to the court if they feel that they are being discriminated or wrongly treated or they are not getting the justice he speaks of in respect of different matters,” Benn added.

Police Sergeant Dion Bascom

Minister Benn further reiterated his confidence in the OPR having the capacity and professionality to investigate Bascom and the issues surrounding him.
“We have an OPR and it has to do its job. If it finds one thing, in doing its investigation, there will be consequences but we cannot set out to prejudge them. They’ve been doing investigations all the time. Anyone could have believed or whatever issues or questioning of what may result from an investigation which may affect them,” he further explained.
“So, I don’t want to talk about an investigation for a situation where one is a serving policeman… still then, going off on a public rant about matters which are pretty significant and of concern to the public and ourselves too,” the Minister added.

Last week, Bascom was among five people who were arrested after the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) swooped down on a Norton Street, Georgetown house and found cocaine.
Following his arrest, the Police Sergeant took to Facebook where he made several allegations against several top-ranking officers within the Guyana Police Force along with a prominent businessman, and one of his security details.
Subsequently, the OPR said it had been instructed to commence an investigation. The public revelations resulted in threats of lawsuits from every direction.
Nevertheless, through his attorney Nigel Hughes, Bascom requested witness protection and had written the law firm representing the three men whom he had implicated in his social media post.
In the letter to President Ali, Bascom claimed that even though he was directed to arrest a person of interest in the case, he claimed that the person had advanced warning and subsequently called to threaten him.
“After the public disclosures made by our client, he has received threats on his life and is extremely fearful…the aforementioned incidents are matters which may prejudice the national security of the State given the seniority of the Police officers who are involved, their relationship with one of the principal persons of interest in the investigation, the proximity of the incident to the President’s residence and the notoriety of the parties who are involved.”
“We are instructed to request, as we hereby do, that pursuant to the powers vested in you by virtue of Section 9(2) of the Protected Disclosures Act 2018 that you establish an independent investigation peopled by regional or international Police officers into the allegations of our client and the murder of Ricardo Fegundes,” his attorney, Nigel Hughes had stated in the letter to the President.
On this note, the Protected Disclosure Act of 2018, states “(1) Where a person seeks to make a disclosure in pursuance of this Act, in relation to a matter that would prejudice the national security, defence, or international relations of Guyana, the closure shall be made to the President, the Minster or the Ministers responsible for National Security. (2) The President, the Minister and the Ministers responsible for public security shall establish and cause to be operated procedures for receiving, investigating or otherwise dealing with disclosures made under subsection (1).”
Ricardo “Paper Shorts” Fagundes was killed execution-style in March 2021 outside a popular Main Street, Georgetown night spot. Reports are the man was partying with a group of friends at the bar when his phone rang and he exited the club to take the call, but soon after, was shot and killed.