THE theory pedalled by the political Opposition that Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee gave instructions to the police in respect of the shootings at Linden was yesterday debunked by the telephone records which showed that calls were made from a cell phone, registered to Minister Rohee, some ‘two hours after’ the shooting was reported to have occurred.
The Commission of Inquiry into the
Linden shooting yesterday saw the records submitted by the telephone companies Digicel, through the Chief Executive Officer, Gregory Deen, and Guyana Telephone & Telegraph Company (GT&T) through Security Manager Edgar Blackman, at the Supreme High Court Library.
Deen, the first to take the witness stand, outlined the numbers requested by the commission and stated the time, date and duration of calls made. Deen noted that his network stores information on customers and could not present detailed information of calls made from the GT&T network.
Deen was then released as GT&T Security Manager Blackman presented his records as requested to the commission. The numbers in question as requested by the commission were tendered and information was provided to the commission on numbers 592-622-6592, 62309980, 225-3073, 225- 7270.
Blackman outlined the details of the document tendered and explained to the commission and attorneys the various times and calls, and duration.
Asked about the number of calls made and time, as the document outlined the information stating that calls to the minister’s telephone during the period in question were five, as against only one made from Senior Superintendent Hicken.
Sergeant Roderick English returned to the stand to be cross-examined by attorney for the APNU, Mr. Basil Williams who questioned duties and operation of the unit headed by English.
Sergeant English detailed his unit’s duties and operation as he made mention of their purpose on the day in question, their stores and patrol movements, with instructions from the divisional commander.
Asked about the ranks assigned and the stores they returned, entries in the respective books and the presentation of those respective books to the commission, Sergeant English indicated that those books can be presented to the commission.
Commission members K.D. Knights and Cecil Kennard sought the information of the units under the anti-crime body and the number of ranks on the day in question under Sergeant English command, as detail information was given.
English give details of the commencement of his operation on the day in question and gave details of all the movements of himself and others who formed part of his unit, in answer to Attorney Williams.
He went on to detail the stores returned, and justified as the commanding officer the use of the unaccounted stores, as he was asked if he had fired any rounds.
Attorney for the deceased, Nigel Hughes sought from English the awareness of the rules of engagement in riot before firing a round, as English indicated to the commission that he had no prior training in that field and was not aware of any rules.
He further sought to seek information on the presentation of the firearms used for ballistic testing and if the swopping of hands was done to himself or any member of his team. English indicated no.
He was again asked of his position and detailed the proceedings from the time his unit was summoned to the bridge in the afternoon behind the TSU squad, and the diversion that he made, in responding after consultations with Commander Hicken, to the GRA building, Linmine Secretariat and the PPP/C office in linden, where all these properties were under fire periodically.
Asked if he heard any explosion during his time at the bridge, he said that other than what was fired by ASP Todd, he recalled hearing, about 20 minutes before ASP Todd fired the shot, an explosion in the area of the bridge, but he could not identify who or where it came from.
The familiar question was asked by commission member K.D. Knights about the size of cartridges and the sergeant indicated that he never knew about those mentioned.
Attorney for the police Mr. Hukkumchand then tendered his questions seeking the direction after the proclamation was being read, where the protesters went as he was told some went in an eastern direction, some to the north in the Linmine compound, and others remained at the entrance of the bridge.
Assistant Superintendent Walter Stanton, who was at the time acting deputy commander, was brought to the stand and gave evidence about his activities on the 11th of July, moving to the 18th of July.
Stanton gave details from the application of permission by Regional Chairman, Region 10, Sharma Solomon and the conditions of such an activity were given in writing. The document was tendered and ASP Stanton confirmed to the commission that the said document was the issued copy.
Asked about his dress on the day of the march, and if he was armed, he said he was armed with a 9mm pistol which was concealed and the other ranks were unarmed.
He stated that the march commenced at Christiansburg and moved to the McKenzie Bridge en route to the Kara Kara Call Centre, with about 450 commencing the march and the number growing as they approached the bridge.
He indicated that they were chanting with the aid of musical instruments, shouting that they were not paying the increase in the electricity bill and that they were going to block the bridge.
He noted that on arrival at the bridge, the protesters stopped and proceeded to set up tents, camping and cooking as he tried to have them move on, by indicating to them that their actions were illegal. He noted that he contacted the divisional commander informing him of the actions, and sought instruction as the commander came to the scene minutes later.
Both he and Commander Hicken then spoke to the persons at the bridge as they commenced blocking it with stones and other materials. He indicated that he saw notable political figures, including Aubrey Norton, David Hinds and Vanessa Kissoon as he engaged then in assisting them to have the protesters removed.
He noted that at about 18:00hrs a half unit, under the command of ASP Todd from the tactical Service Unit (TSU) arrived at the McKenzie end of the bridge, and ASP Todd began with the aid of the loud hailer to announce that the proclamation asking that they disperse; and for over a period of 20 minutes about 40 persons moved to the east and another 150 to the north, into the Linmine compound, as the rest of the crowd remained.
ASP Todd then continued with the loud hailer and then reverted to tear smoke, and the unit advanced, clearing the bridge.
ASP Stanton stated that he then moved toward the eastern direction where he was attacked by about 80 protesters, shouting ‘Kill the lone police’. He ran toward the parked police car which took him in a southern direction of Watooka Drive and through Washing Pan Road where he met Commander Hicken and other police ranks.
He reported what had transpired to the commander and then reported to the McKenzie Police Station.