Suriname cops suspended over scuffle at Guyana embassy

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PARAMARIBO, Suriname (CMC) - Suriname law enforcement authorities have confirmed that two police officers involved in a fracas at the Guyana embassy earlier this month have been suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

Over the weekend, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Lackin apologised to his Guyanese counterpart Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett after Georgetown said it wanted an expeditious explanation from its Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community neighbour after the police attempted to arrest the chauffer of its diplomat on the compound of the Guyana Embassy.

Guyana said that the incident occurred on April 1, when an unidentified Surinamese national parked his vehicle in front of the gate of the Guyana Embassy in Paramaribo, in clear sight of a "no parking sign".

It said during the fracas the shirt of its Ambassador Keith Gorge was torn.

The Corps Police Suriname (KPS) said the police officers involved in the scuffle at the Guyana embassy had been suspended and that 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," the KPS said in a statement.

The police said that while it regretted the incident, non-diplomatic personnel of the embassy were also at fault when they assaulted 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.