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Aug 1, 2001

Commandant says captain was lone B.D.F. shooter

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Two days after armed security forces confronted rock throwing protestors, there is still little consensus on the who, what and why of the events that transpired at the Tower Hill Bridge. On Tuesday we heard from Police Commissioner Hughington Williams as he both defended the conduct of his men and explained the pressures and constraints placed upon the force he commands. Today it was the turn of B.D.F. Commandant Brigadier General Cedric Borland to meet the press. In his conversation with Ann-Marie this afternoon at Price Barracks he took strong issue with conclusions drawn by our news team.

Brigadier General Cedric Borland, B.D.F. Commandant

“They went out there with shields, with batons, with tear gas, with their gas masks and with other weapons, so they were prepared in that sense. Now the orders, the instructions for them to leave on that mission, came from post headquarters, and I must say that you mention that they were without helmets. That was a commanders decision.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“Your decision as the commander?”

Brigadier General Cedric Borland

“Not a commandant decision, the commander that took the team out there.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“Who’s this person?”

Brigadier General Cedric Borland

“It was Captain Borland that was in command of the riot squad that was out there. It was a decision that was made or not made, for them to take the helmet. However, that situation is under investigation as we speak. We have ordered a court in inquiry into the deployment and the use of force at the situation there on Monday.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“Borland was not the only one who fired shots. If you were looking at our footage…have you seen that, do you know that, are you satisfied with that?”

Brigadier General Cedric Borland

“Yes. I saw the footage that was on Channel 5 yesterday and I am dissatisfied. The reason is that your are saying that a second rifle had fired. You are assuming that the members of Channel 5 are weapon experts to say that they are able to identify the firing of a rifle. Not seeing the rifle, but identifying from the clip that a second rifle was fired. Under no circumstances, under no condition did a second rifle fire. That was only one rifle that was fired and that was the rifle that Captain Borland fired. I want to add very hastily, that immediately after the incident there at the Tower Hill Bridge, Lt. Col. Stephen Heusner was up there under my instructions. He immediately took the entire group Eyles camp in Orange Walk. He retrieved all the ammunition from all the soldiers that were there. Every soldier with the exception of Captain Borland, accounted for all their rounds. Captain Borland had nine rounds that were missing and we have accounted for those nine rounds that he fired in bursts of three. Besides that all other ammunition was accounted for. Secondly, the name that was called, in regards to a second weapon being fired, that individual was with a shield and a baton. He had his weapon slung. Under no condition could he have taken off his rifle, loaded and fired, because he had his shield in front of him, his baton in the next hand and he was protecting himself and the other members of his team from the missiles that were being launched at them. So I will say, that I am dissatisfied with that reporting.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“What does Captain Borland’s suspension entails?”

Brigadier General Cedric Borland

“I took the decision to relieve Captain Borland from operational duties. That means he’s not going to be active in any operational deployments. And the reason I did that, is because there has been allegations that he fired into a group of unarmed civilians, which I will not tolerate. Until I can prove that he did not do that, he remains on suspension. Now I have a separate investigation going on in that regard. The information that I have received so far, is that Captain Borland fired on the authority of the police officer in charged, so they were authorised, he was authorised to fire warning shots. Secondly, his shots were controlled, they were aimed shots to indicate that in no way he had civilians in his sight. It was well above the heads of crowd out there and they were controlled.”

In what has to be a remarkable coincidence, News 5 intern Isani Cayetano, who reported seeing B.D.F. soldier Robert Jones fire his rifle on Monday, ran into Jones this morning on Albert Street. According to Cayetano, Jones told him that he saw the News 5 report last night and that he feared his career would be in jeopardy. At no time, said Cayetano, did Jones deny any of the allegations that he had fired his rifle.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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