Minister of Public Security, Khemraj Ramjattan
September 18 2018
Although random stop and search exercises by the police have netted about 30 cases of persons being caught with illegal firearms so far for this year, Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan has admitted that they can be deemed illegal without sufficient suspicion.
He was at the time addressing reporters about the video of a recent outburst by attorney Ryan Crawford during a stop by a policeman.
The video recording, which has gone viral on Facebook, shows the policeman asking Crawford to produce his documents and to wind up the driver-side window so that the darkness of the tint could be tested.
The attorney refused and in an expletive-laced tirade insisted that he did not break any law and had a right to traverse the roadway freely.
At one point, the video was muted. It is unclear how the encounter ended.
“In this case, from looking at the video as the Minister, I thought that the policeman was saying that ‘Your tint is too dark,’ or some such thing, ‘just wind down for let me see the tint or see yuh face because the tint was too dark.’ Now I suppose the next question he (the policeman) coulda ask was, ‘Do you have a tint permission?’ But before he coulda even asked that, the tirade happened,” Ramjattan explained yesterday.
He said while he is not sure whether the police officer was “wrong,” it has already been related to members of the Guyana Police Force that they must generally stop motorists based on some formation in their minds of suspicious activities.
“…And if a policeman were to stop a vehicle and ask for the tint permit, whether they got because a lot of people don’t have the tint permit and they are driving around cars and vehicles and minibuses with tints,” Ramjattan added.
He noted that the policy requires reasonable suspicion before a policeman stops any motorist.
“…And you know we have done a lot of random searches that have caught people with guns and all of that when we do the random searches, nighttime especially,” Ramjattan said, while noting that about 30 persons have been caught this year with illegal firearms as a result of such exercises.
Nonetheless, he urged members of the public who are subject to this activity without cause to lodge their complaints to the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) so that they can be investigated. “Send in a written complaint and we have the telephone lines and so on, the [OPR] and a lot of people have complained about other things, about the police not taking their statements and so on, and we have solved that,” he said.
He added that hundreds of complaints have been made at the OPR, all of which have been addressed. In some cases, some ranks were dismissed, he said.