A protest outside the Guyana High Commission, 1 July 2010 called for justice after 16 year-old schoolboy Kelvin Fraser, brutally gunned down by Guyanese police on Monday 7th June 2010.
Norman Browne and Dr Michelle Asantewa led the protest which was attended by a small but vocal group of supporters disgusted by the heavy-handed measures of the Guyana Police Force (GPF). The slogans called for real justice for Kelvin and for Human Rights violations in Guyana to end now. We also stressed that accountability for the widespread killings of innocent people lies with the PPP regime. It is our view that the Head of State is ultimately responsible for such blatant crimes against humanity and should therefore be brought to trial in The Hague under International Human Rights Laws.
The shooting of Kelvin Fraser took place when police were called to the Patentia Secondary School to settle reports about a ‘scuffle’. The disturbance was allegedly one of many instances of sexual harassment of young girls by teenage boys. Of course these boys’ actions are despicable. But no one involved in this school ground ‘scuffle’ and acts of sexual harassment were brandishing guns, knives or any kind of weapon. Therefore, this shooting was unprovoked, unnecessary and can only be described as murder by which an innocent child lost his life.
It has taken over three weeks for a charge to be made against the policeman believed to be responsible. This charge came as the result of continued pressure from Guyanese at home and overseas. It is well known that the GPF do not investigate such wanton shootings by its trigger happy members.
Guyana is now effectively a police state in which the police are empowered by a shoot to kill policy. It seems clear that a shoot to kill policy exists because the police who shot him did not intend to ‘disarm’ Kelvin Fraser – the boy was unarmed. They meant to shoot him. Several pellets discharged at close range against an unarmed schoolboy is unjustifiable and therefore mindless murder.
Given this outcome the Police did not arrive at the Patentia Secondary School to protect and serve the harassed girls, but to enforce its power to shoot and kill. When such enforcements and unwarranted shoot to kill policies are enacted against innocent, unarmed citizens they are callous acts of Human Rights violation.
Human Rights Abuse
The issue of Human Rights is more urgent than ever in Guyana, if there is to be any hope of ending the mindless slaughters. Who is accountable for the countless acts of extrajudicial killings by the GPF that go uninvestigated? We believe it is the Head of our now lawless State. Charges made against police never seem to lead to convictions because corruption in Guyana seeps from the government through the legal system. This is our main concern about the charge against Quancy John, the policeman allegedly responsible for Kelvin’s killing. Such is the level of corruption – and given the government’s power over the judiciary – we are not confident about due process.
We want genuine justice for Kelvin. His death must not be in vain. Guyanese live in fear of being shot or otherwise silenced for dissent against the government. But in a democratic society every citizen has the right to challenge the actions of its democratically elected government. However, the operations of the Guyana government, GPF and the GDF (Guyana Defence Force) bear the marks of Apartheid South Africa and must be condemned.
Our protest was the basis to form an organisation or join others for a more collective call to the international community to investigate Human Rights violations in Guyana. We will press said community to acknowledge the Head of State’s involvement in these atrocities by wilfully empowering its security forces – such as the sinisterly named ‘Phantom Squad’ – to shoot to kill. We will seek support from Guyanese across the Diaspora to participate in ongoing, peaceful campaigns that highlight Guyana’s situation to respective international bodies concerned with such instances of Human Rights violations. We would like to thank those who have so far provided their support.