Guyana’s Ambassador to Suriname assaulted by Surinamese Police

Guyana registers deep concern over the assault of the Guyana Ambassador to Suriname by Surinamese Police on the premises of the Guyana Embassy in Paramaribo.

Guyana’s Ambassador to Suriname assaulted by Surinamese Police

The Government of Guyana wants a full and thorough investigation into the assault of the Guyana Ambassador to Suriname, Keith George on Guyana embassy grounds in Paramaribo.

The incident took place last Wednesday and reportedly occurred as the Ambassador was blocking the arrest of one of his drivers on embassy grounds in keeping with the Vienna Convention.

In a statement, the Guyana Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the incident all started when a man parked his car on a no parking zone in front of the embassy and refused to move the vehicle despite the pleadings of the security personnel.

The man reportedly became angry at that request, exited his vehicle and assaulted the security guard on duty. The Ambassador’s Chauffeur intervened to rescue the security guard and he was the subject of verbal abuse from the driver of the parked vehicle, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Surinamese police were called in on the instructions of the Ambassador and two uniformed ranks who arrived attempted to arrest the embassy’s driver after speaking to the man who was blocking the entrance.

“The Ambassador and two other staff members briefed the policemen on what had transpired and caused the request for assistance – also in keeping with the provisions of the Vienna Conventions.
The two officers proceeded beyond the gate of the Embassy, it is assumed, to address the matter for which they were called. After speaking with the man who had been behaving in a disorderly manner and who had publicly exposed himself while facing the Embassy, the policemen reentered the premises and declared that they had to arrest the Ambassador’s Chauffeur”.

According to the report, the ranks told the Ambassador that his driver would have to be arrested since the man who had blocked the gate had filed a complaint against him.

The Ambassador informed both ranks that they could not effect an arrest on the premises of an embassy and if there is an issue it must be addressed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Policemen declared that it was Surinamese territory and that the Ambassador was obstructing police work. “The Ambassador stood his ground by standing in front of the officers who, in clear violation of the Vienna Conventions sought to effect the arrest and in the process, again in clear violation of the Vienna Conventions, grabbed on the Ambassador’s clothing ripping his shirt”, the statement said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the policemen “continued with their effort to effect an arrest, on the premises of an embassy that is inviolable under international law, in spite of the physical assault on the person of the Ambassador, also in contravention of international law and admonitions from the Staff of the Guyana Embassy and officers from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Suriname who later arrived at the Embassy.”

The Government of Guyana has registered its “deep concern over this unprecedented act and expects that measures will be taken to not only ensure that there is no recurrence of these gross violations of international law, but that the proper action will be taken by the Government of Suriname against those who violated the principles laid down in the Vienna Conventions.”

The Guyana Government said it hopes that because of the fact that the relations between Guyana and Suriname are exceptionally good, the Government of Suriname will provide an expeditious explanation for this incident. The Acting Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is expected to travel to Suriname in the new week to begin a full probe on the issue and compile a detailed report for the Government of Guyana.


Filed: 4th April, 2015

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