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Don’t be afraid, use the Beetham Highway

By NALINEE SEELAL Tuesday, January 28 2014

NATIONAL Security Minister Gary Griffith yesterday assured that motorists had nothing to fear in using the Beetham Highway following threats of violent protests by Beetham residents enraged after a policeman shot and wounded one of their own.

Griffith assured the police and other arms of National Security are in total control and ensuring law and order is maintained along the highway. He said lawlessness will not be tolerated and plans are in place to deal with any effort to destabilise the public peace.

Griffith then sent a clear message to Beetham residents. If anyone of them attacks law-abiding citizens, they will feel the full brunt of the law.

“I want to make it clear that the area (Beetham) is under the total control of the police and motorists have nothing to fear. I also want to commend officers for moving swiftly and professionally in dealing with the issues on Sunday involving some of the residents,” Griffith said. He maintained there is no need to set up a police post along the Beetham Highway as alternative security measures are in place. Beetham residents threatened disorder along the Highway as a form of showing their anger after a policeman shot a resident on Sunday near the landfill.

Snr Supt Carlton Alleyne, head of the Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) told Newsday his officers as well as those from the Guard and Emergency Branch (GEB) and others have been instructed to carry out round the clock patrols along the Beetham Highway and the nearby Priority Bus Route and Eastern Main Road.

In addition to ground patrols, Alleyne also said all CCTV cameras in and around the highway are fully functional and will be used to ensure law and order is maintained and criminals are brought to justice.

Despite these assurances, several motorists telephoned Newsday’s newsroom to say they remain in fear of using the Beetham Highway as they recalled instances in the recent past where debris was placed along the highway and stones and other missiles hurled at vehicles which had to slow down to navigate around these debris.

On Sunday at 9 am, three GEB officers were on patrol near the landfill when they attempted to arrest a man for using obscene language. It is alleged that a struggle took place between the officers and the man which prompted a reaction from Beetham residents on the southern side of the highway who allegedly began firing at officers.

Officers returned fire and in the shootout Randy Williams of Phase Five, Beetham Gardens was shot in the leg. Officers reported that missiles were thrown at them. Ag Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams has mandated ASP Caruth to probe the Sunday shooting incident.

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