APNU/AFC Parliamentarian Christopher Jones has mounted a lawsuit against the State for what he claims was unlawful arrest and seizure of his barber chairs and AC units by ranks of the Guyana Police Force.
Jones’ lead lawyer, Nigel Hughes contends that the ranks’ actions amount to a violation of his client’s constitutional rights set out in Articles 40, 142, 143 of the Constitution of Guyana.

In court documents seen by Guyana Standard, Jones, who served as Director of Sports under the previous Government, is seeking damages in excess of $100,000 each for his wrongful arrest, trespass on his property, and the seizure of 18 barber chairs and two AC units by police ranks.

He said that the items are valued at $4.8 million and he has asked the court to order that they be returned to him.

In a Statement of Claim filed at the High Court in Demerara, Jones said that on August 20, 2020, armed police ranks turned up at his 609 Conciliation Drive, Tucville, Georgetown home during a power outage and demanded entry into his home without providing a lawful reason. Not only that, but Jones also said that the ranks failed to produce a search warrant, and as such, he refused them access.

According to Jones, the following day, he applied for and was granted a conservatory order by the High Court restraining the police ranks from entering his premises. But despite this, he said that in the wee hours of August 21, 2020, police ranks jumped a fence and trespassed onto his property, which is in violation of the court order. He claimed that the police unlawfully arrested and held him in custody.

The Member of Parliament is also asking the court to award him exemplary damages. In fact, he argues that the execution of the search, entry, and arrest was violent, aggressive, arbitrary, unconstitutional, and devised to invoke, and did invoke fear into him and his family.

Having regard to the foregoing, he is asking the court to declare that his constitutional rights were breached. He is also seeking interest on all damages awarded, costs, and any such further or other orders the court sees fit in the circumstances. In the claim, the Respondents are listed as Acting Commissioner of Police Nigel Hoppie; Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum; Inspector Rodwell Sarrabo; ASP Chibanauth Singh; Corporal Singh, and the Attorney General.

Police are alleging that Jones stole $4 million in items from the State, including several barber chairs.

Guyana Standard understands that the search on his property was executed after an audit was carried out at the then Ministry of Social Protection, which showed that the said ministry approved $4.9 million under the Region 4 administration for the procurement of equipment for a barbershop under the Sustainable Livelihood and Entrepreneurial Development (SLED) programme.

The monies were all spent by December last year. However, $1M in items were not delivered, and the project was not executed. Police Headquarters, in a statement had said that the items fitting the description of the State assets were recovered from Jones’ residence. In the meantime, Jones was released on $100,000 station bail as ranks from the Major Crimes Investigation Unit continue investigations.


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