WPA Media Release to Press and Public
September 17, 2001
WPA is outraged at the brutal slaying of Orin Boston of Dartmouth by a SWAT team which according to the high command of the police force was sent to the Essequibo coast in search of prohibited goods. . Our first reaction is to ask how such an operation quickly deteriorated and ended with the execution of a citizen. WPA also asks whether the stated objective of searching for and recovering prohibited items necessitated the use of the SWAT team. Having reflected on those questions, we must say that Guyanese should not be comforted by the initial police account of what happened in Boston’s home on that fateful morning. The explanation that Mr. Boston reached for a weapon and a confrontation ensued is standard police rhetoric that is all too familiar to the public. The statement from Ms. Fiona Boston, the victim’s wife and witness to what occurred, contradicts the police statement and appears more believable.
While WPA respects the quick decision by the police high command to announce an investigation through its Office of Professional Responsibility, we think that would not suffice. We have no confidence in the police investigating itself in these circumstances. We therefore lend our voice to those who have already called for an independent investigation. Of course, such an investigation is expected to tell us what happened and serve as the basis for prosecution of the accused.
But WPA strongly feels that it is time our country finds a way to end this culture of extra-judicial killings. While this scourge has bedeviled Guyana from the Middle Passage to the present, it has become more pronounced over the last three decades under PPP governments. The value of the lives of predominantly African Guyanese males has been devalued by a police force which seems to become more trigger-happy under the PPP’s stewardship of the country. The instances are too many to enumerate in this press release, but the political linkage is inescapable.
No modern society should have to experience this fascist behavior by the State. The savagery of kicking down doors in the dark of night and executing citizens in the presence of their women and children speaks volumes of how compromised the rule of law and respect for human rights have become in Guyana. WPA notes that another citizen has come forward claiming similar treatment by the SWAT team on that very night. He has revealed the shocking tale of being tied up while the team carried out its search. What kind of police force and political regime facilitate such barbaric behavior by lawmen who took the oath to protect and serve?
Finally, WPA stands in solidarity with the people of Dartmouth and the broader Essequibo community in their acts of public outrage. They are obviously familiar with the script. Coming on the heels of the still unsolved executions of the Henry cousins and Haresh Singh and the case of Peter Headley who was killed while in police custody, the wounds are still fresh on the collective consciousness. WPA therefore heaps scorn on those who are more concerned with the stemming the flow of protest than with stemming the flow the blood of human beings.