Top Cop dodges questions on Joint Operations that led to deaths of prison escapee and accomplice

Top Cop dodges questions on Joint Operations that led to deaths of prison escapee and accomplice

by Svetlana Marshall

One day after the Police Force announced the death of prison escapee Royden Williams and his accomplice Odel Roberts in a Joint Services operation, Acting Commissioner of Police, Clifton Hicken has been dodging questions on the operation that took place at 33 miles Bartica Potaro on Thursday morning.

This morning, Mr. Hicken was questioned about the operation, as he spoke to members of the press just after casting his ballot for the local government polls.

He refused to provide answers to questions surrounding the joint operation, instead saying that he wanted to focus on voting for the Disciplined Forces.

“You can’t mix other things with voting; you can’t do that…Please let’s deal with voting. I am going to talk to you, on everything you need to know but let’s deal with  voting for now,” the Police Commissioner told reporters.

Contacted later by News Source, the Commissioner said he was out of town and could not offer any other comment at the time.

In a statement late last night, the Police reported that the escapee and his accomplice were killed in a confrontation with a team of highly trained members of the Joint Services, at 33 Miles, Bartica on Thursday. A single M70 rifle with 79 rounds of ammunition were discovered at the scene, according to the Police.

No other weapon was found, but other small items were found.

Head of the Joint Services, GDF Chief of Staff Brigadier Omar Khan when contacted today said the operation that saw the death of the prison escapee and his accomplice was led by the Police.

“I don’t support the use of the words kill, execute but for that particular operation, it was a joint operation, and in any joint operation of this nature or of that nature, the police would take the lead, and the GDF would play a supporting role,” the Chief of Staff said.

He said more than 100 ranks from the GDF supported the operation.

“The area is a vast area. It’s a jungle terrain, and we are more trained and equipped to operate in the jungle, so we would have had the majority of ranks in that area being military ranks,” he explained.

While noting that the criminals had military grade type ammunition, Brigadier Khan declined to offer further details on the outcome of the operation, referring the press to the police.

“We are obligated to give the information so that you can notify the public but I would say, we playing a supporting role, I would not want to comment on an operation that the police have taken the lead,” the Chief of Staff said.

Khan said the police investigation is still ongoing, and its conclusion would provide greater details.

Two weeks ago, the death row inmate made a daring escape from the Mazaruni Prison even as the prison came under attack from a boatload of armed gunmen.

His escape resulted in six persons, including four Prison Officers being charged in connection with his escape and another man, who was named as an accomplice being shot dead by the Joint Services. A $10 million reward for information leading to his recapture was also offered by the state.

In 2017, the notorious criminal had also escaped from the Camp Street jail after fire was set to the building. He was caught a few months after.

He was charged and found guilty in connection with the February 2008 Bartica Massacre. He was also charged and found guilty in connection with the murder of a member of the Guyana Defence Force.

Williams was facing the death penalty in connection with those convictions.

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