Terror and evil: The autobiography of Seelall Persaud
Features / Columnists, Freddie Kissoon
Kaieteur News – Friday coming, Former Commissioner of Police, Seelall Persaud (SP) will officially launch his autobiography, “Stepping out of the herd: My life in the Guyana Police Force,” at the Conference Centre. If you are the faint-hearted kind, do not read this book.
It describes a period when the descent into evil took place in this country. It makes for chilling reading. I was not affected by the pen of SP because media people risked their lives to tell Guyanese what was happening in Buxton, 2002-2006. So we know.
If I were to write my memoir, I will fill in the gaps in the Buxton conspiracy 2002- 2006 that SP left out. SP’s autobiography shows the essential difference between a high security official and a journalist. The former are always cautious when they write their memoir because for their entire lives, they have been cautious people. Investigative journalists on the other operate more daring.
The other thing to note about SP’s book is that despite their extremely strategic placements in society, security officials do not get the same information journalists get. It has to do with human nature. Journalists are more known in the society than security officers so people come to know them and trust them.
I would say that from reading his book, there are things that SP did not know about Buxton even though he was a top ranking security officer at the time. In Werk-en-Rust, just up the road from my mother-in-law’s supermarket, there lived this youth in the same yard with former police commissioner, Henry Greene. Obviously, I got to know him well.
He joined the army of Buxton youths during the murder spree. One midday I was at the Banks DIH restaurant at Barr and Alexander Streets in Kitty. I met him and old memories of him in Werk-en-Rust were discussed. He gave me fascinating details about what was going on in Buxton. He had become disenchanted with senseless killings. I think it in this kind of area that journalists have a jump on security officers.
SP’s book is excellent on the crime mayhem in Buxton. He has certainly made depressing allegations against former Police Commissioner and APNU Minister Winston Felix. After what SP wrote, is it possible to have an investigation into Felix’s role? It doesn’t mean SP is right but there should be an investigation. I once met Mr. Felix while jogging on the seawall off Subryanville. What he told me about his deportment at the time when Guyana was facing violent actions from rampaging gunmen does not square with what is in Seelall’s book. Which one is telling the truth?
At the beginning of this article, I noted that the book is not for the faint-hearted. Here right in front of the eyes of a nation, one of Guyana’s leading police officers describes the role of the police, army and opposition party in creating an ambience of violence to destabilise the Guyana Government.
Here is a poignant extract: “A human resource with whom I developed a good relation “Kofy”, while I served at OC narcotics, was connected at high levels of the PNC. Unfortunately, on several occasions when he provided information to me about the Buxton gang in 2002, I reported to my functional superior but there were no indications that he acted on it.” From reading this, one can anticipate that after Friday’s launching, Felix will have to provide explanations.
SP’s book is definitely a contribution to Guyana’s historiography. The book is riveting in its depiction of the terror and evil that existed in Guyana and the role of state security in abetting that descent into uncivilised violence. An interesting part of the book (page 164) has not put former army officer, Wycliff McAllister in good light when SP dealt with the way notorious criminal “Blackie” London met his death.
The only unfortunate lacuna in what is otherwise a fine memoir, is the willingness of SP to be brief in his treatment of the Buxton conspiracy and to restrict himself unnecessarily when naming names. He chose to subtly refer to a former GDF officer in the deadly Rose Hall bank robbery. That was planned by Oliver Hinckson.
There is just a mere mention of Ronald Waddell’s role in Buxton. SP’s guess as to why Waddell was killed by the Phantom Squad is a bit off target. Waddell did have an argument with one of the gunmen and was shot over a disagreement but he as the planner of the future activities of the gunmen was based on racist ideology. Waddell was killed based on what he was planning to do and it was frightening. Finally, there are no names of the WPA, PNC and ACDA bigwigs, the reason being, SP must have thought of libel.
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of this newspaper.)