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Brazilian nationals complain about Police harassment – Nov 8th 2012

Some traffic policemen and ranks from the Tactical Services Unit, have apparently taken over the job of immigration officers when it comes to Brazilian nationals in Guyana and now many of those Brazilian nationals are complaining about being harassed for no apparent reason.

Capitol News understands, that even in the city, some TSU and traffic ranks, would pull over vehicles carrying Brazilians and demand to see their passports and immigration status. In some cases, they would demand money while threatening many of the Brazilians, that if they do not pay up, they could face jail time. One source said, it has become such a regular feature at many of the transportation services which frequent the Lethem area, that Brazilian passengers set aside money to pay the rogue cops.

A Senior Immigration Officer today told Capitol News, that while the immigration department falls under the Guyana Police Force, it would be odd for a policeman to be checking the immigration status of foreign nationals unless there is some evidence of wrongdoing. Them demanding money is flat out wrong the officer said and it is a matter that must be investigated.

Brazilian miners in the interior communities have been complaining about regular shake downs by members of the security forces even in cases where they are here legally and their business operations are legitimate. The Miners Association has heard several tales of policemen and in some cases soldiers making big demands from the miners and threatening their lives. Just recently two policemen were savagely murdered after they had allegedly committed a robbery on a group of Brazilian miners in an interior community.

Officials in the mining sector say the Guyana Police Force is well aware of the complaints, but has not been doing enough to tackle the problem and as such, the problem appears to be getting worse.

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