A former policeman has admitted that he was a member of a death squad that was responsible for bringing down several heavily armed criminals who had escaped from the Georgetown Prison in February 2002.
“I was in a death squad,” said Shawn Hinds who is a former bodyguard for now sacked Town Clerk, Carol Sooba. His confession comes at time when police are intensifying their probe into the shooting death of political activist Courtney Crum-Ewing in March, 2015 while he had been urging residents of Diamond, East Bank Demerara to go out and vote for the coalition.
Hinds, who was up to recently seen frequently near the People’s Progressive Party (PPP) headquarters, told the privately-owned HGPTV Nightly News that he worked with under the late Axel Williams who was subsequently shot and killed several years ago in helping to bring crime under control. He differentiated between the death squad and a phantom squad.
“Years ago, they said I was in some killing squad. I would not sit here and deny that. If I wasn’t a part of a killing squad, this country wouldn’t have had law and or come to some… because there was Shawn Brown and Dale Moore and Chip Teeth,” he in the exclusive interview with Travis Chase.
He did not specifically say whether he had killed anyone. Hinds, along with Mark Thomas and Ashton King, had been charged with the murder of George Bacchus in February 2004, days after he had publicly confessed to being a death squad informant. He was subsequently freed by the High Court.
Phone records had shown that Williams had been in constant contact with then Home Affairs Minister Ronald Gajraj at certain times including when several suspected criminals were gunned down outside Nigel’s Supermarket on Robb and Light Streets. Gajraj was subsequently cleared by a Commission of Inquiry and went on to become Guyana’s High Commissioner to India.
Hinds claimed that he was supplied with a machine gun and instructed how to carry out his operations. “I used to go and uplift a gun from CID (Criminal Investigations Department) headquarters- a machine gun- so this thing is not no one sided affair…We were guided and we were in communication with senior people from CID headquarters,” he said.
Hinds said “all my orders came from CID headquarters” and that he has in his possession communication containing instructions and how the killing should be done. Despite his claimed involvement, Hinds said he had paid for his own lawyer and other requirements when he was once locked up.
Police have so far held one person based on hard evidence and was looking for a second person in connection with Crum-Ewing’s death, but already Hinds is denying his involvement. “I can’t take that. I can’t live with that. I could only take what is my own. Me ain’t responsibe for nothing there. Me ain’t got anything to do with that,” he said.
Hinds insisted that he was at home at the time of the shooting. He said he has surveillance video cameras at his home to show where he was when Crum-Ewing was gunned down. “Me aint feeling i Turning in. I cant take a murder charge for what me aint know… I got a mortage I got a family,” he said.
He recalled that after seeing a tinted vehicle two days ago outside his home, he later went down to Freedom House- the PPP Headquarters- where he related his experience and then observed a former government official becoming jittery. “This man jittery. If you see how this man operating jittery,” he said.
Hinds, who had been often seen at high-profile PPP and government events-at the swearing in of Donald Ramotar as President at State House and at PPP public meetings in certain potential hot-spots-suggested that media owner and the government official might have conspired to hire Crum-Ewing’s killer.
Insisting that he was innocent of that crime, Hinds said he does not know the suspect in police custody. “I don’t even know this guy they got in custody… never told him anything, never met him or do anything with him,” he said.