Police “regrets” scuffle at Guyana embassy

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Guyana embassy
Guyana ambassador Keith George

PARAMARIBO — Management of the Corps Police Suriname KPS have reported that both Surinamese policemen that were involved in a scuffle at the Guyana embassy last week have been suspended.

The fracas on Wednesday April 1 had left Guyana’s embassy with a torn shirt, prompting Guyana authorities to demand an explanation from Suriname.

KPS said a thorough investigation of the incident will follow. “Management of KPS regrets the actions of the policemen on the premises of the Guyanese embassy and will take disciplinary action, based on the outcome of the investigation,” police said in a release.

The incident on April 1st nearly sparked a diplomatic row between Suriname and its western neighbor. The incident erupted when a motorist blocked the entrance to the embassy at Henck Arronstraat in Paramaribo. According to reports from Guyana, when the ambassador’s driver and a security guard confronted the driver, he refused to move his car and the situation quickly got out of hand. Police were called to break up the fight, but when officers decided to arrest the guard, but the ambassador disagreed.

Guyana’s Foreign Ministry said that when the officers tried to enter the embassy to make their arrest, ignoring calls by the ambassador that they needed to respect the international rules of diplomacy. In the scuffle that followed Ambassador George’s shirt was torn by the policemen.

Suriname police said in its statement though that while it regretted the incident, non-diplomatic personnel of the embassy had also been at fault when they beat up the motorist and damaged his car. It said that that is why the officers tried to enter the embassy to arrest embassy personnel, which indeed was in violation of the Vienna Convention.

“(Just) a few weeks before this incident, a memo was sent out with special instructions regarding the rules that apply to diplomats and buildings of diplomatic representations that fall under the Vienna Convention,” police said.

It stressed that disciplinary measures would follow against the officers, but that the investigation will also look into possible punishable acts committed by the non-diplomatic personnel at the Guyanese embassy and the motorist who was initially victimized by the personnel. Apparently the motorist had dropped his trousers and exposed his private parts, protesting the beating he had received from the embassy personnel.

Guyana’s Foreign Ministry had expressed deep concern over “the unprecedented actions” of the police officers. Suriname Foreign Ministry officials have since met with the Guyanese ambassador.

Source DevSur