Police have arrested two men in connection with Sunday’s death of four persons who ingested liquefied cocaine thinking that it was SSS tonic that should have been taken by a relative to the United States (US).
Police Commissioner, Seelall Persaud confirmed the arrests and said that laboratory tests on the remainder of the substance confirmed that it was cocaine.
Those who perished are Simone Pryce,36, her reputed husband Alex Blair,42, and their nine year old deaf son, Jahkil Blair, as well as 36-year old Natasha George. Pryce and George were best friends. Still hospitalised is George’s son, 12-year old Jamal Waterman.
A number of relatives, who flocked the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), said that a man only known as Barney had taken the ‘tonic’, cassareep and plantain chips for Candace Mc Garrell, who is Pryce’s sister, to take to someone in Queens, New York.
Mc Garrell, however, declined by saying that she was going to Pennsylvania instead. Relatives later said that Mc Garrell did not feel comfortable taking anything to the US that Barney had provided because “he does anything for money”.
Guyana Police Force spokesman, Ivelaw Whittaker confirmed most of that account. “Investigations so far have revealed that the bottle of SSS Tonic with the cocaine dissolved inside, along with casareep and chicken foot, had been left at the house by a man known to them for a female guest from overseas to take back when she was returning. She, however, did not carry the items and during this morning the victims consumed some of the SSS Tonic which had been left in their possession,” said Whittaker.
Blair only recently retired from the Guyana Defence Force. Pryce was a hairdresser and George was a sanitation worker on Water Street near Bounty/ John Fernandes Limited.