The Guyana Bar Association has issued a call for there to be a full Commission of Inquiry into the botched surveillance operation that resulted in the death of a GDF sergeant, his wife and a truck driver in an accident during a high speed chase.
The incident took place on December 30, 2015 as GDF sergeant Robert Pyle gave chase behind a car that was reportedly mistakenly identified as being associated with NICIL Head, Winston Brassington. The occupants of the car live next door to Brassington and it is believed that the agents of the Special Organised Crime Unit may have been staking out the wrong house.
In a statement yesterday, the Bar Association said the deaths and their surrounding circumstances are cause for the gravest concern among citizens, since it has now been confirmed that at the time of the officer’s death he was engaged “in a surveillance operation which it is now known was directed at a public servant who is on leave”.
“The Bar Association believes that an explanation is required for the use of GDF officers to engage in such activities and the legality thereof. Operational control of the Defence Force vests solely in the Chief of Staff, but subject to the general or specific directions of the President. The Defence Force is charged with the defence of and maintenance of order in Guyana and with such other duties defined by the Defence Board”, the Association said.
But during a media interview last week, President David Granger shot down suggestions that the GDF ought not to be involved in operations with the Guyana Police Force and other law enforcement agencies.
Mr. Granger reminded that there have been joint intelligence operations between law enforcement agencies for well over 60 years and he made it clear that their responsibility is the protection of the state.
The GDF sergeant who died was attached to the Military Police Intelligence Unit of the Force and worked along with the Special Organised Crime Unit.
The Bar Association also wants the Minister of Public Security to explain the details of “Operation Dragnet”, which is a joint services operation currently underway to tackle the current crime situation and any possible terrorism threat. The operation is expected to continue until June, 2016.
On Friday, former Miss Guyana Indian Worldwide and Miss Indian Worldwide, Alana Seebarran released the statement to the media about the chase by Sergeant Pyle behind a vehicle that she was in which was being driver by her brother.
In her statement, Ms. Seebarran who is married to Attorney and Member of Parliament Charles Ramson Jr., recalled leaving her Cowan Street, Kingston, home along with her brother and being chased by two cars after one of the men had identified himself as working for the Special Organised Crime Unit.
The Unit was reportedly carrying out surveillance work at the home of NICIL Chief Executive, Winston Brassington, as part of a probe into missing files and documents from the government agency.
Seebarran lives next door and it is believed that the SOCU agents mistakenly thought that she was living at Brassington’s home and that was the reason they approached her. In her statement, she said, her husband was out of the country at the time and she had gone to their home to get items for their baby who was with the grandparents.
The former beauty queen recalled that as she and her brother were leaving their home, they noticed two men observing their moments and they became scared. One of the men reportedly rushed across to them, saying that he wanted to speak with them and that he was attached to the Special Crime Unit.
According to Seebarran, he never provided no identification and so she encouraged her brother to drive off to a police station. A chase began and it was during that chase, that the GDF sergeant trailing them lost control of his car and slammed into a truck, killing himself, his wife and the truck driver.
A scared and confused Seebarran and her brother, hurried across to the Police Station, where she provided the statement.