TSU ranks detained now under open arrest – Crime Chief
Missing 150 guns
…probe, further audit continue
The investigation into the more than 150 guns that were discovered missing from the possession of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) during an audit last year continues even as the ranks arrested last year remain under open arrest.
This was confirmed when Guyana Times made contact with Crime Chief, Senior Superintendent of Police, Wendell Blanhum, on Wednesday. Blanhum explained that while the investigation continues into the disappearance of the guns, some additional work is being done by auditors.
“The investigations are continuing, but the auditors are doing a further and more comprehensive audit,” Blanhum explained, in a brief interview with this publication.
It was reported last year that six Tactical Special Unit (TSU) ranks were in custody over the disappearance of the weapons. When asked, Blanhum noted that the ranks were currently under open arrest and reporting to their superiors.
“Open arrest, when the 72 hours expired, we usually accommodate (the Police) at the TSU and we have them reporting to the investigators whenever the need arises until the investigation is completed,” he said.
An audit last year into the GPF had revealed that in excess of 150 firearms had vanished over the past few years during the tenure of the former Government. It is understood that these weapons were either seized from criminals and were to be exhibits in cases, or were firearms lodged by private citizens.
Under the previous A Partnership for National Unity/Alliance For Change (APNU/AFC) Government, Khemraj Ramjattan – who served as Public Security Minister – had had oversight of the GPF. Efforts to contact him on the matter have proved futile.
In the past, guns that have gone missing from the hands of the Joint Services have subsequently been linked to criminal activities. During the 2018 Commission of Inquiry (CoI) into the Lindo Creek Massacre, it was revealed that a number of weapons and ammunition which were stolen in February 2006 were later used in the commission of various crimes.
The 2019 audit into the Special Organised Crime Unit (SOCU) is the last time an audit was conducted into the operations of the Police Force. That audit had turned up a heap of financial irregularities, and ultimately resulted in the removal of the then SOCU Head, Sydney James.
The probe into the operations of the white-collar crime-fighting unit was triggered when the former British adviser to SOCU, Dr Sam Sittlington, made a number of startling allegations against the Unit.
James was subsequently subjected to questioning over allegations of improper spending, as part of the investigation and audit, which stemmed from the termination of the services of the British adviser.
In February 2018, during his address at the opening of the Annual Police Officers’ Conference, then President David Granger had called for an incorruptible Police Force. He had said that security sector reform, which his administration was committed to and was working on implementing, would seek to tackle this issue that is plaguing the country’s premier law enforcement agency. (G3)