POLICE claim 38-year-old Cedric “Burkey” Burke might be one of the men who they believe can help them solve crime in the East Port of Spain area.
Burke was one of 12 men detained last Thursday by the police after a raid in the Sea Lots, St Barb’s, Laventille and East Port of Spain areas. The raid was mandated by acting Commissioner of Police Stephen Williams following a high-powered meeting with the top brass of the service.
In that exercise, police also held other men who they believed were key players in the violence to hit that area in the last month.
Burke, who spent four days in police custody and was only released on Sunday, made his way to his lawyer’s office on Richmond Street, Port of Spain, to seek legal redress.
Burke, who spoke exclusively on TV6 News last night, claimed the police first detained him at Besson Street Police Station and then at Belmont Police Station last Thursday, never once telling him why he was being held and for what.
Police have always targeted Burke as a major player in the Sea Lots area, but Burke contends he is a legitimate businessman and is the owner of Good Fellas Security and Burke and Company Ltd.
His main business is securing construction and security contracts in the Port of Spain area.
“Even when I came out, clients calling me and saying they getting fed up of every time they need to get on to me I lock up so they want to know if it is a criminal or not they dealing with? So I need to clear the air and say if I am a criminal or not.”
TV6 News asked: Are you or are you not?
Burke responded: “I am a businessman and I have all the proof to prove I am a legitimate businessman. I have never been convicted in this country or any country for anything whatsoever.”
Criston Williams, Burke’s attorney, says if the police were planning to charge his client under the Anti Gang Act they never indicated that and it was a direct violation of his rights.
“It is also totally wrong and illegal for officers of the law who in their attempt or effort to promote lawfulness in this country breach or break Mr Burke’s constitutional rights and there is no rational or justification,” said Williams.
Williams explained that under section 13 of the Anti Gang Act the person who is detained needs to be informed as to why they are being held and subsequently, if a period of 48 hours is passed and the individual is still detained, he must be informed as to why he is being detained, further to the 76 hours they are allowed to hold the individual.
In this case, Williams said, nothing of this sort was done by the police.
Burke says his children were left shaken after police stormed into his home Thursday morning.
“When I come out I was listening how my little daughter could not stop tremble, we go dead, they frighten cause we having masked officers outside their place and these things, nobody coming with a warrant and identifying themselves, who they is, they just banging down your door,” said Burke.
He is calling on the acting Commissioner to investigate the actions of the police.
Burke says he wants the Commissioner to look into this matter.
Burke was arrested at the Hyatt hotel in Port of Spain and charged under the Anti Gang Act during the State of Emergency in August 2011. Authorities at the time described him as a “big fish” but he was subsequently released due to lack of evidence.