Senior Superintendent Clifton Hicken was called before the Commission of Inquiry today
Senior Superintendent Clifton Hicken, who was the Commander of the E&F Division at the time of the Linden shooting, was called before the Commission of Inquiry today. The E&F Division covers Linden.
Senior Superintendent Hicken, being led by Police Counsel, Peter Hu, this morning testified, that he arrived in Linden on the morning of July 18th and informed the police stations in the area that he was on the ground. He also testified, that he visited the bridge where the protestors were that morning and asked the leaders of the protest to have the people clear the bridge. Hicken said, he was in constant contact with the Police Commissioner throughout the day about what was taking place at Linden. He however denied ever being in contact with Home Affairs Minister, Clement Rohee, on that day. He testified that when he visited the Mackenzie Wismar Bridge at various times he was not armed. He told the Commission too that although he was the Divisional Commander, he was not in charge of the Tactical Services Unit that was in the town at the time. Responsibility for that unit he said rested with the commander of the Unit Assistant Superintendent Todd and the Police Commissioner himself.
After the lunch break, APNU attorney, Basil Williams, took over the questioning and grilled the senior Superintendent about various statements he allegedly made in meetings with regional officials leading up to the march.
It became particularly testy, when Williams questioned the senior Superintendent about threats he allegedly made to various regional officials about what he would do on the day of the march. Hicken denied ever making any threats against anyone.
Hicken testified also, that on the 18th July he remained at the Mackenzie Police station while the TSU ranks were sent out to clear the bridge. He denied being in the area when the protestors were shot and told the Commission that he first learnt of someone being injured at around 7:30 that night. He said, he was not aware that persons had died until the next morning. He got into a tit for tat with Williams about his role as Commander of the area, since he testified that although he had 40 ranks on the ground who were under his watch, he did not know what weapons they went out with.
Hicken also testified, that when it comes to the order to shoot, it did not come from him. He said, he was in Linden for various protests in the town but requested that the TSU be sent to Linden on the day of July 18th, to provide support to his ranks who were already there and on the ground.
Hicken was eventually removed from Linden the day after the shooting incident. He said, he did his job as prescribed. He will return to the witness box Thursday morning to be questioned by Attorney Nigel Hughes, who is representing the interest of the relatives of those who were killed.